Sunday, July 02, 2006

The Eye of the Beholder

I have been a member of an internet forum. Some of the people that I have gotten to know online have posted their pictures on the forum. It has been very surprising to see what they look like in real life. Most have been very different from what I imagined they would look like. I posted my picture as well, and I think many were also surprised by what I look like in real life.

This whole experience stirred up many thoughts about the non-importance of our physical appearance. When you think about it, there is only so much that we can do to change our physical appearance. Even plastic surgery can only do so much. Face it, we are stuck with the genes that we inherited.

There are some things we can do to improve our appearance. Women can use makeup. Both men and women can try different hair styles, or exercise to have optimum fitness and weight loss. Living a good life also has a big effect on our physical appearance. Things such as drugs, smoking, or alcohol can age us and rob us of important nutrients. Avoiding these things can help our appearance. Buying clothing that fits properly, or are a color that compliments our skin tone can also affect how we look.

When all is said and done however, we are pretty much stuck with the body God gave us. This shell that we live in is just a covering. It isn't who we are.

I have noticed that when people get used to seeing a person, they tend to overlook any physical imperfections that person has. I have a son who has unusual eyebrows. They come up to a point in the middle. When people first meet him, they stare and ask if his eyebrows do that naturally. Even kids at school, when they first meet him ask about his eyebrows. But after they get to know him, his eyebrows begin to look normal and they don't comment on them anymore. I have noticed that I have many friends that are overweight. But when I think about them, I don't think about their weight, I think about who they are. These imperfections that we hate in ourselves are often overlooked by those who know us.

I have a friend who had several beautiful daughters. One day she said to me, "My daughters think they are so beautiful. They have this beautiful blonde hair and cute little figures. They think they are so great. But I gave them that! Those genes came from me!" It is interesting that people value outer beauty so much even though that is the one thing a person can't take much credit for.

I am reminded of a scripture in the Old Testament in the book of Samuel. To paraphrase, it says, "...For man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.". As I have gotten to know my friends on the forum, I feel like I have had a glimpse in to their hearts. After seeing their pictures, I still think of them for who they are; what they look like doesn't really matter.

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