Beauty and Ugliness

MSNBC had a fascinating piece on it today by author Toni Raiten-D’Antonio who has written a book called, “Ugly as Sin.” In it she chronicles the number of people who constantly think of themselves as ugly and the quest, like searching for the end of the rainbow, to find something that will make them beautiful. She admits that she herself struggled with this but in the end decided that what is beautiful comes from the inside and has nothing to do with how good looks are defined in society. I suppose none of this is ground breaking. You could have probably guessed where she would end the book that way because we have heard it all our lives. Our parents and friend likely said it to us. And we repeat it to our children and friends.

The question is why we say it but don’t live it. We will say the words and still run off to buy something new to “make us look good.” Our actions don’t match our words.

Do you know we even do this with Jesus? Scripture says (if the Hebrew prophets were correct) that the Messiah was not distinguished looking. No one took account of the way he looked. And yet, every time we draw a painting of Jesus or portray him in movies, the model or actor portraying him would be described as very handsome by our society (and not very Jewish but that is a topic for another blog entry). We like Jesus’ words but we want to ‘dress him up’ a little. We don’t want the other disciples to be better looking, more less Herod, Caiaphas, or Judas (often the ugliest person in Biblical art).

The bottom line is we have to go against human tendency to see real beauty. Someone’s physical attractiveness (or lack thereof) has nothing to do with how beautiful they really are.

Perhaps one day we will not just say and write these thoughts but live them. And we can start by accepting that we are beautiful creations of God and are not ugly.

Until next time,
Tom

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