Unleavened Brett

Brett’s Friday Blog Post

UB May 17

Are you good-looking?

We naturally admire & desire to be beautiful people. But wouldn’t you agree we place way too much emphasis on how a person looks externally? There’s tremendous pressure, especially on young people, to attain supermodel looks. Cosmetics is a massive industry. Cosmetic surgery is becoming more common even at young ages. But if that’s not an option, at least we have plenty of filters for taking selfies.

We’ve all met people good-looking on the outside, but ugly on the inside. Are people with lovely faces & shapely figures better off than you? Are they happier? Are they at peace? Are their consciences clear & their souls at rest? Go through the list of Hollywood’s most beautiful people, & you’ll see lives littered with ugliness–brokenness, divorces, addiction, & depravity.

When you think about people you like & look up to, is it their looks you admire? I’ll bet it’s because they’re loving, loyal, kind, encouraging, generous, & resilient. There’s nothing wrong with caring about your appearance–that’s why we shower, shave, & arrange our hair. But what does God say about outward appearance? “Do not let your adorning be external–the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear–but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious” (1 Pet. 3:3-4).

The word “adorning” there comes from the Greek word, “kosmos”, meaning literally “of this world,” orderly, & arranged. It’s where we get the word “cosmetics.” I don’t think there’s anything wrong with putting on a little makeup–for women, that is (I’m not going to venture in right now to “guy-liner” & painted nails for dudes). There’s nothing wrong with a little jewelry. And you can certainly exercise to keep your body healthy &, yes, attractive. But all this should reflect the inner beauty of the heart, not mask inner ugliness. Don’t focus on fixing up your face & figure more than developing the kind of person you are.

God’s not concerned with the outward appearance. Shallow people judge by exterior looks. When God explained his choice of young David to be king over his older brother, He said: “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). David had a beautiful heart for God! Yet it’s noted also that David was a handsome guy. So were Joseph & Daniel. Rebecca, Rachel & Esther were all noted for their beauty. Sarah was still a looker even in her 90’s. So it’s OK to be beautiful, but it’s way more important to be good than to look good.

You’ve surely seen paintings of Jesus that make him look attractive. Or you’ve watched shows like “The Chosen,” or movies like “The Passion of the Christ” which make Him a cutie or a hottie (I hated even writing that). In the musical “Jesus Christ Superstar,” the character of Mary Magdalene is seemingly attracted to Jesus, & sings, “I don’t know how to love him. Should I speak of love? Let my feelings out?” Yikes. Hollywood typically doesn’t cast a homely Jesus because, honestly, there wouldn’t be as many viewers. But Isaiah prophesied about the Messiah: “There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him.” Isaiah 53:2 (NLT)

That makes sense–it’s probably good that he wasn’t very handsome so there would be no mixed emotions in following Him. But Isaiah’s prophecy goes further: “Just as there were many who were appalled at him–his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness….” Isaiah 52:14. Jesus was willingly uglied up for us–disfigured & brutally scarred by traumatic beatings & whippings–so that we could be made beautiful.

One of the symbols of Christianity has become a butterfly because “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation” (2 Cor. 5:17). The imagery reflects a caterpillar’s metamorphosis into beauty. Through Christ, we experience an extreme makeover. The ugliness & filthiness of our sin is washed away, & we’re clothed with a beautiful robe of righteousness. This doesn’t come from our own efforts of self-improvement. God has to be the surgeon who cuts all the ugly away.

Regardless of our physical flaws & shortcomings, He loves us deeply because He made us & redeemed us. We shouldn’t have to seek validation in the eyes of others.