I got into this odd conversation with a guy yesterday on appearance. Not the kind you show up to but how we judge people by the way we look. This all started after I told him the story of the man I met who had elephantiasis. This man named Jimmy had a very distorted face and taught me one of the most amazing lessons of my life so far. I asked him what he saw when he looked in the mirror. Jimmy responded that his grandmother told him he was created in the image of God therefore God must look like him. I had never thought of this before. What if God doesn’t look like Brad Pitt or even you or me. What if God is not attractive? What if God what some might call ugly? Maybe the reason no one can look him in the face (according to the Bible) is because He is so ugly we couldn’t take it. Maybe what we consider ugly is actually beautiful to God.
This man we’ll call “Stu” said to me, Rick, we are conditioned to see dead and dying material as lovely. I said “What”? You know, someone’s skin is what we really look at when we see a person and it is a dead and dying organ. The living material is muscle tissue, blood and yes guts. Imagine if God hadn’t put dead stuff on the outside we’d be looking at each other’s guts?
So, is beauty really skin deep or is that simply death we are looking at and the real beauty is underneath where gazillions of cells are keeping us alive?
I know it’s a little weird but I think it’s a good thing to ponder. I got up this morning looked in the mirror and thought that truly is death warmed over. I felt better about myself. I don’t look so bad for a bunch of dead skin draped over a hunk of tissue and besides, the real beauty in each of us doesn’t just show up on the outside. We must get to know one another and get under each other’s skin to see what we’re really made of.