Sometimes I don’t think I truly grasp or actually think about the fallen state of the world in which I live.
Even an unbeliever would say, looking at the world around him/her, that there is something terribly wrong. That this is not how it’s supposed to be.
For a needed convo credit at my college, I sat in the planetarium at my college and watched Blood Diamond. I’d seen it before years earlier when it came to the theatres. But, this time was different. All I could think about as I watched the horrors play out before my eyes was a terrible longing for the world to come. I wept not only for the pain portrayed in the film, but for this fallen world where the curse of sin and death has broken and torn to shreds the world in which we live.
I wept for what sinful human beings are capable of doing to one another. What I am capable of doing to you. That I am perfectly capable of murder, theft, adultery, slander, malice, addictions to sex, alcohol, drugs, porn, …that I could hurt you with my words or with my fists…
that the something that is terribly wrong with the world is me.
That it is only by the merciful and completely undeserved grace of God through the death, burial, and resurrection of His son, Jesus Christ, that there is any good in me which is solely through the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit in and through me. That right there is pure grace. I am evil. I am that fallen man handing a gun to a child soldier in Africa and telling him to shoot and kill for that will make him a man. I am that woman soliciting her body for money to pay for a quick fix or put food on the table for her fatherless children. I am that man cheating on his wife. I am that woman who stuck her baby in a microwave because she didn’t want him.
Without the saving work of Jesus, I am that person. That person I’m so often quick to judge.
“How could they do that?!”
Why? Because something has gone terribly terribly wrong. Through the Fall, sin entered into the world. Sin is what has gone terribly wrong. This is not how it was intended to be. We have fallen short of the glory of God. We are the problem. Christ is the only solution.
In a friend of mine’s blog, she wrote about beauty and our image-obsessed culture in a way I’d never thought about it before. I was reminded of it tonight, and just wanted to share thoughts with you.
In light of the fallen world we live in, our perception of beauty is fallen as well. Our perception of beauty is flawed and evil and sinful and wrong…because that is exactly what we are.
Somewhere along the line, I looked in the mirror and I told myself I was ugly. My face was beyond flawed and imperfect, my body was not the size it should be, and I was ugly. Ugly.
God revealed to me earlier this year a whole lot about that issue (see the blog “You’re So Vain You Probably Think This Life is About You Part II)
God made you.
I don’t think that really sinks in the way it should. God knit me together in my mother’s womb. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. His works are MARVELOUS. God, the creator of the UNIVERSE, created me. He created you. He intricately designed your every detail for His glory.
It is impossible for you to be ugly. This “ugly” is a fallen concept. It’s a way we “rate” ourselves and each other. It’s how we judge others and put certain people on pedestals and others we despise. It’s why we spend billions of dollars on skincare and cosmetics. It’s why we spend billions of dollars on nips and tucks.
It’s this constant fight for beauty.
We were made for glory, we’ve fallen from glory, and we try to regain that glory in many ways, one being through beauty. But, not the beauty that is so highly treasured in the Bible…
Do not let your adorning be external–the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear–but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. –1 Peter 3:3-4
We chase after physical beauty…but, it’s fallen worldly physical beauty. We were not created ugly. We were never and are never ugly! From the moment you are conceived until the moment you die, you are beautiful because you are God’s creation.
Not to say that there’s anything wrong with braiding your hair or wearing jewelry or wearing makeup…that’s not what the above verse says, or else it would imply that women shouldn’t wear clothes…and I highly doubt Peter was telling the women so stop wearing clothing, ha…or “let themselves go”.
I am convicted in using the word ugly. I am convicted of using the word homely–both to describe myself and to describe others. Don’t you see? There’s no such thing. It doesn’t exist. It’s a fallen concept.
I remember one delusional late load-out night at Daytona Beach this past summer. Some of the girls were huddling around talking about boys (shocking), and one girl asked our Compassion LDP from Kenya if she’d found any American guys attractive. I distinctly remember her responding that she thought every man she encountered over the summer, from the poor or homeless on mission sites, to the hottest youth minister…was beautiful.
I think I rolled my eyes. It could have been that it was four in the morning, I was exhausted, and “Super Chrish” comments were eye roll worthy at that point. However, even though I thought she was lying and there was no way one could find everyone beautiful when they obviously were not…I realize now she was right. Every man I’ve ever met has been beautiful, it is my sinful flawed perception of beauty that tells me otherwise.
It is that same fallen perception that stares at the reflection in the mirror and makes me despair. It is that same fallen perception of beauty that causes me to compare my looks to every girl I pass…feeling better or worse about myself. It’s the same fallen perception of beauty that makes me feel inadequate and unworthy and disgusting. It is the same fallen perception of beauty that makes men and women alike spend countless dollars on lotions and potions and gym memberships and diet plans to “fix” themselves…when there is nothing to fix.
It is evil. It is wrong.
Sin has marred our perception of beauty amongst countless other things.
Sin has caused our mirrors to become distorted.
I long for the day when I no longer live in a fallen world.
Ugly is a fallen state of mind.
Jesus, may I seek you daily, hourly, moment by moment…crave you and not me. Worship YOU and not me. Desire to serve you and not me. Help me get to the point where I no longer matter…at the end of myself is where I long to be so I may be free to truly love you and love your people like you deserve to be loved and how you love your people. Lord God, make me more like you. Trade in my fallen ideas and perceptions for your holy and perfect ones.