2005-08-02 - Forgive My Appearance
Originally Published 12-15-2000
Jeremiah 12:3 But Thou knowest me, O Lord; Thou seest me, and Thou dost examine my heart's attitude toward Thee.
In Columbia, a hairdresser believes he has the baldness problem licked. The barber from Pereira, which is approximately 100 mile east of the Bogata capital, uses a special tonic and has an actual cow massage his clients' scalps with its tongue, to encourage hair growth. One of the customers said the treatment has actually made him feel more masculine and more attractive to women.
Our culture is obsessed with appearances. From billboards to magazines, and in almost every corner of the advertising market, how you look is often portrayed as the measure by which you are judged. But as Christians, we do not judge things by their outward appearance. We read in Scripture that there is another priority for the Christian in 1 Corinthians 2:9: "Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him."
Our focus is to be as God's focus. We place the priority on that which is spiritual and inward, over those things that are carnal and earthly. We are not to have any prejudice against anyone based on outward appearance. This is, however, next to impossible for most of us. The sad fact is that Christians, like the rest of the world, say things like, "Did you see what she was wearing?" or, "That car that family x drives is such a rust bucket," or any number of put-downs.
We do these things as a comparison, usually, between us and the other person. We say these things to make ourselves appear better than another. But this is not the proper attitude for the Christian. "Therefore encourage one another, and build up one another, just as you are also doing." (1 Thessalonians 5:11) "Bear one another's burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ." (Galatians 6:2) "And so, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another and forgiving each other...." (Colossians 3:12, 13)
This is to be the attitude of Christians one to another. Some people are easier to love and be kind to than others, but we are to love as Christ loves. Christ loved us when we were unlovely, and we in turn are to love as we have been loved. In fact, it is Christ alone who makes us lovely by giving us His righteousness. (Romans 5:12-21)
Learning to love others as Christ loves us is one of the aspects of the Christian life that we will be working on as long as we breathe. It is especially hard to love someone who has wronged us or treated us poorly. But again, we follow the example of Christ. It was our sin that drove Christ to the cross. 1 Corinthians 15:3 tells us, "For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures." Our sin wronged Christ and He in turn paid the debt for our sin and loves us anyway. We also, even when we are wronged, must love in return. This can be a great challenge, but it is the example Christ has left for us to follow.
"Think oft of heaven, and what a thing a saint will be in glory, when he shall shine as the stars, and be equal to the angels, and then you will quickly see cause to love them." Richard Baxter
Soli Deo Gloria,