Is Beauty Skin Deep?

An old adage declares that “beauty is as beauty does.” My mother used to say “beauty is skin deep, but ugliness is to the bone.” These sayings are meant to teach us that it is more important to focus on inward beauty than outward beauty. Society obviously didn’t learn that message because our modern world is enamored with glitz and glamour.

People Magazine runs an issue of the 100 Most Beautiful People every year – and they are not focusing on inner beauty, that’s for sure. They used to have only “50 Most Beautiful People” but now it’s 100. I guess those extreme makeovers and nip/tucks are making more and more people beautiful in the eyes of the public.

We have beauty pageants, glamour magazines, and beauty salons. One of my favorite movie lines comes from Steel Magnolias. Truvy, the owner of a garage converted beauty parlor, jokingly says she’s built her business on one philosophy: “There is no such thing as natural beauty.” I guess that’s why one visit to a beauty parlor is not sufficient. We have to keep going back.

The foundation for this way of thinking probably starts when we first read fairy tales. We have Cinderella who isn’t even noticed until she gets her extreme makeover. The Ugly Duckling is looked down upon until becoming a swan. Sleeping Beauty and Snow White are filled with beauty references. “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?” Certainly not me! Personally I was thankful for the movie Shriek. It gave me some sort of hope. Finally the overweight, dumpy girl was the princess.

As we get older and get set up on blind dates we never ask if the person is well groomed, nice, interesting, intelligent, or has a sense of humor, which are all qualities people say they are looking for in a mate. We want to know what the person looks like. Men forget that the makeup will eventually have to come off and women are more interested in abs than abilities.

Now don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with being pretty, wearing designer jeans, and getting your nails done. I personally would rather have a professional haircut instead of whacking it off myself. However, we can learn a lot about looking at others from God’s perspective. 1 Peter 3:3-4 tells us God is more concerned about what’s inside a person than what is on the outside. Inner beauty will not fade. Inner beauty will never age or go out of style. Inner beauty is timeless.

Proverbs 31:30 tells us charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting. Halle Berry, considered one of the most beautiful women in the world, said, “Beauty? Let me tell you something, being thought of as ‘a beautiful woman’ has spared me nothing in life, no heartache, no trouble. Love has been difficult. Beauty is essentially meaningless, and it is always transitory.”

God and man do not view beauty or people the same way. God sees beyond the surface. Such was the case when Jesus walked this earth with his disciples. The disciples looked and saw a beggar, a tax collector, a blind man, a leper, a Gentile, or a woman. Jesus looked and saw people of value – beautiful children of God. At a time when lepers were not to be touched, Jesus touched them. At a time when tax collectors were shunned, Jesus ate with them. At a time when women were to be seen and not heard, Jesus spoke to them. Jesus looked beyond the surface – and so should we.

When the famous actress Audrey Hepburn was asked for beauty tips here are some she gave…

  • For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.
  • For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.
  • For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.
  • For beautiful hair, let a child run his or her fingers through it once a day.
  • For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone.
  • The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries or the way she combs her hair.
  • The beauty of a woman must be seen from in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides.
  • The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mode but the true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives the passion that she shows. The beauty of a woman grows with the passing years.

All in all, I think that’s great advice for anyone who truly wants to be beautiful. God would be pleased with this kind of beauty because it is not skin deep.

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