Beauty or Beast? By Lisa Burkhardt Worley

My church just put on a production of the fairy tale, Beauty and the Beast, and it was fabulous. The performers were so good I checked to see if any of them were performing nationally. No, they were church members who, for the most part, did some acting on the side. I was impressed.

Even though I’d seen the movie and read the story, I still cried when Belle fell in love with the Beast. Why was I emotional? I knew the ending. As I reflected on this, it’s because I believe there is a deeper spiritual truth within Beauty and the Beast. The undercurrent is that beauty is not on the surface, but it flows from the heart. After a rough start, Belle eventually moved past the unattractive exterior to see the heart of the Beast—and that melted her heart.

It is human nature to judge beauty by physical appearance. I have been in a number of group settings where a friend or acquaintance will say to the person standing next to me, “Hello beautiful” or “You are so pretty,” then look at me with a blank stare. Years ago at lunch, a friend told a mutual friend sitting at the table: “You are beautiful,” and then said, “and  Lisa has beautiful feet.” I felt like a beast.

We all want to be viewed as beautiful, don’t we? Here’s the good news. God doesn’t look at what we see in the mirror. He cares more about our hearts, and when they are devoted to Him—pure, and loving—there’s nothing more beautiful in His eyes. I still remember my 8th grade teacher, however, I don’t remember her face. All I recall is that she was kind, patient and encouraging to us, and because of that I thought she was beautiful.

1 Peter 3:3-4 says, “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” When Samuel was preparing to anoint a king of Israel to replace the outgoing Saul, God told Samuel to not judge a book by its cover. The Lord said to Samuel: “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).

Isn’t this great news? Even though our outward appearance is aging, our hearts are ageless and can reflect inner beauty to everyone we encounter.

Here’s a challenge. In the week to come try not to judge people by their appearance. Ask God to help you see their hearts, and then when he shows you the beauty within, say to them, “You are so beautiful!” because you truly believe they are.

Categories: Blog

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