I have to admit, some reality TV fascinates me…or at least captures my attention for a while. Last night my youngest daughter and I watched part the show “True Beauty” in which several models are in competition to see who is the most beautiful, who can become the “face of Vegas.” What they don’t know is that judges are watching what happens behind the scenes and deciding the winner based on inner beauty: their character and not their looks. That gives me hope for our culture, that inner beauty is still valued by some.
Last night we watched as the contestants, captured by hidden camera, each had a turn sitting in a room alone working on a project, when an actress posing as a staff person came in looking in the trash can for her engagement ring she had just lost. The judges wanted to see which of the contestants would have compassion and help her. It was about half and half. Some got right up and helped her pick through the garbage, some said “good luck,” and some just got up and left the room.
I remarked to my daughter, “Wow. How would we like to live before a hidden camera knowing the things we do and say in private are known? Would we be proud or embarrassed? Of course, God is everywhere so in a way we are living that way.”
I’ve heard it said that the way you behave when you’re all by yourself says it all. It’s one thing to do good in front of other people; but to be honest, to be kind and compassionate, to do the right thing when not one person is watching shows real character. Stress is especially revealing. When under pressure we just about can’t help letting our real self be seen. When you put a tea bag in boiling hot water, you can believe it’s coffee or say it’s lemonade but if tea is inside, tea is what you’re going to get.
We can’t live out what we don’t have within, and good looks certainly don’t qualify as real beauty. (This is a good thing for most of us!) None of us are good on our own, not one. But if Jesus is Lord over our hearts and we live surrendered to Him, then His character will be seen when we’re with others, when we’re alone, when we’re in distress, whenever.
The prophet Isaiah foretold that the Messiah wouldn’t really be good-looking, “The Servant grew up in the Lord’s presence like a tender green shoot, like a root in dry ground. There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him.” (Isaiah 53:2 NLT) However, people flocked to Jesus when he walked among them! It must have been his heart that drew them, his true words spoken with conviction, his compassion towards all types of people, his love. He was beautiful. He is beautiful!
Father God, I’m so glad you look at me through the blood of your son. You make something beautiful out of the mess that is me. Help me spend my time and energy on becoming more like Jesus. That’s the only way to true beauty.