A beautiful heart
You know that young woman who has a gorgeous face, a great smile, and a sparkling, winsome personality? Her complexion is flawless, her teeth are bright white, her figure is svelte. Heads turn when she walks in a room and eyes frequently glance her way until she leaves.
Don’t you just hate her?
Nah, you probably don’t hate her, ‘cause she can hardly help being beautiful. But she makes you feel inferior, and that’s a very unpleasant, burdensome, depressing feeling you are sometimes tempted to guilt her with. You know her looks have afforded her attention, admiration, and many advantages that you desire but rarely get. And that’s just unfair.
If you’re a bit clueless about all this, you’re either a man or one of those perfect women.
Have you ever pondered the nature of beauty? Not the beauty of nature, though that’s part of it. What is it about the particular lines and shapes of an attractive man or woman’s face that holds our gaze? Why are we drawn to a lush, vibrant garden or majestic mountain peaks, or a beautiful, blazing sunset? How does an expensively appointed palatial estate with perfectly manicured grounds cause us (or some of us anyway) to yearn and covet?
Beauty gives us pleasure. And I can’t explain how or why except to say that I believe God designed us that way. And he created beauty.
So a beautiful woman is more desirable to men because having her around would enhance their lives. At least, while they’re simply looking at her. But what if she’s selfish, vain, and cold-hearted? Or greedy, scheming, and cruel? Or dumb as a tack? Would the pleasure derived from her beauty compensate for the pain of suffering her vices and shortcomings?
Now consider this. What else enhances our life and brings pleasure? Good food? A good sense of humor? A kind and loving heart? How about a partner who loves so sacrificially they make you feel like a king or queen?
Beauty is a gift that God has bestowed on some of us. But to others he has given a compassionate heart or a keen wit. To some he has given a passion for cooking great food, or creating beauty themselves. Some are given a curious mind and a love for adventure. We all have gifts and talents that can dramatically enhance the lives of others, as well as our own.
The problem is, physical beauty is the one that’s most obvious. There’s no time or investment needed to discover it. But I would argue that it may be the one that’s least satisfying in the end. It’s quite superficial…”only skin deep.” And age compromises it. A good cook will likely always be a good cook, at least as long as she (or he) is able to stand at a stove. And a tender, compassionate, generous heart will last for eternity.
Maybe life would be more fair if we were all blind, I briefly thought. But, no. God created beauty for us to enjoy. And we should give those who are physically beautiful the affirmation and appreciation their beauty warrants. Perhaps if we had medals or badges for the rest of us: “Devoted Wife and Mother” “Warm Embrace and Sympathetic Ear” “Loves Watching Football”.
Or perhaps we could take a cue from our Creator: “For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” 1
11 Samuel 16:7