Covering topics on religion, philosophy and life, this blog attempts to make biblical truths simple for the average believer. As porridge is soft to aid digestion, so the blog contents are easily understood.
However, there is also meaty stuff for those who aspire to go deeper. The relevance of the Bible in our daily life (areas such as finances, sex, marriage, health and emotional healing) is also dealt with.
Many have low self-esteem because they think they lack good looks.
What is the biblical view of beauty in a world obsessed with something merely skin deep?
Carmen and Dr Lim Poh Ann
seems to give one the edge in so many areas of life, including better job and
marriage prospects. Is it wrong to desire to be beautiful? If so, to what
extent should we seek outward beauty?
whitening creams to botox, from slimming therapy to nip and tuck, the pursuit
of beauty has spawned a multi-billion dollar industry. Advertisements keep
reminding us of our inadequacies through the ‘before’ and ‘after’ images. Many
nowadays are even bold enough to go under the scalpel, putting high hopes on
plastic surgeons to transform the ‘ugly duckling’ into a ‘graceful swan.’
constitutes beauty varies with time, culture and place. In the East, fair skin
is sought after while in the West, tanned skin has become increasingly popular.
In the past, a large frame woman was deemed fertile and attractive but nowadays
a waif-like figure, a la supermodel Kate Moss, defines modern beauty.
perceptions of beauty have disturbed many, including 27-year-old May Lin
who had difficulty accepting herself. She admired those gorgeous models who
graced magazine covers. They seemed to have it all--svelte figures, flawless
complexion and sparkling eyes. She often wondered if Kent, her current beau
will seek for another woman. After all, she was a plain Jane whereas Kent’s
athletic physique often drew attention from other girls. She decided to “fix”
her deficiencies in the upscale Apkujong shopping district
in Seoul where almost every building has a cosmetic surgery clinic.
First, she requested for a double eyelid operation. Pleased with the result,
she went back again for a rhinoplasty (nose job).
have always believed that a kind soul who works diligently is what counts. But
judging from my present experience, I’d be a fool to continue believing so,”
says Jenny, a 30-year-old tax auditor. At her workplace, a glamorous young
newcomer was given the promotion despite her deplorable performance. Indeed,
people do place a premium on outward appearance.
apostle Peter reminds us that inner beauty is to be valued over and above
outward beauty: “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as
braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it
should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet
spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight” (1Peter 3:3-4).
does this mean in practice? Does it mean we should be unkempt or frumpy? Does
it mean we do away with personal grooming and makeup? Is it wrong to go for
dermabrasion or plastic surgery? There are no pat answers for these questions
but only principles to guide us.
what are some of these principles?
we need to cultivate a sense of
gratitude. We may not have the dashing looks of Brad Pitt or natural beauty
of Catherine Zeta Jones but we can still be grateful that we are “fearfully and
wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14).
we need to understandthat ageing is inevitable. Whatever we
do, we cannot stop the relentless march of time with its attendant toll on the
human body and face. The wrinkling, the sagging and graying will definitely
come with advancing years. We can only delay its progression through personal
care and cosmetic enhancement.
we should not be hung up on external beauty but focus on developing our inner selves. By drawing near to God in
quiet devotional study and prayer, we are cultivating a sweet spirit which only
God can bring about. If we spend time with someone sufficiently long enough,
his good qualities will inevitably rub off on us. This is true both in the
natural and spiritual realms. “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in
a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from
glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord” ( 2 Corinthians 3:18).
the prophet Samuel was looking for a king for Israel, God told him not to focus
on appearances--height and handsome looks doth not make a man. Man looks at
externals but God looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7).
are often attracted to someone based on their looks only to be disappointed
when the tall, muscular hunk curses and swears or the charming girl refuses to
give up her seat to a 8-month pregnant lady in the bus. Indeed, what is charm
and beauty without character?
was the antithesis of beauty. “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to
him…he was despised…we esteemed him not.” (Isaiah 53:2, 3). Yet Jesus is
precious to believers. We are attracted to Jesus’ beautiful character—how he
took the punishment for our sins on the cross, thus restoring our fellowship
with God. Do we still measure a person’s worth based on externals alone?
beauty has its place and purpose. We cannot imagine a bride who is not donned
in the most beautiful white gown on her big day. She’ll definitely cover up any
blemish so that it will not mar her radiance. When Esther was brought before
King Xerxes after a long period of beauty treatment, she must have been so
beautiful that she just stood out from the rest of the ladies (Esther
2:15-16). Esther, who was made a queen,
later saved the Jewish nation from genocide because she won the King’s favour. Who
says God cannot use beauty?
optimum balance is needed. We need to be neat, well-groomed and decently
attired. (And do not forget to mask body odours). Cosmetic enhancement has its
place though we should weigh the benefits of invasive cosmetic procedure
against the possible attendant risks.
made Man with eyes to appreciate beauty in creation, art, dance and countless
many other things. And, of course, the beauty of the acme of His creation as
well--Man. To deny this innate capacity to appreciate beauty will be sub-human.
Let us assign beauty to its rightful place;
not to be hung up on outward beauty which fades by the day. Instead, let’s
cultivate inner beauty.
Checklist: Are you obsessed with
Do you spend a large proportion of your waking hours thinking about or
attending to your own external beauty?
Do you spend large sums of money to look beautiful and attractive?
Do you compare yourself unfavourably with others whom you think are more
beautiful than you?
Do you judge--accept or reject--a person based primarily on looks?
Do you often lament that you are lacking in something which will make you more
Do you make it a point to expose yourself constantly to books, magazines,
internet sites and friends so as to make yourself more beautiful?
7. Are you willing to part with huge sums of money and take undue
risks to make yourself more beautiful and desirable?