“What a strange illusion it is to suppose that beauty is goodness.”~Leo Tolstoy
As humans, we judge people by their appearance first and their behavior and virtue second. It’s easy for us to want to size up a person based on their looks. Our culture (at least in the U.S…let me know about other countries) has engrained into us that attractiveness is very important in becoming successful in love and life. If a person is beautiful or handsome, we might assume that they are a good person. This isn’t logical, because the face and body are merely a mask and vehicle that we inhabit and has nothing to do with the condition of our heart and soul.
Why do we do this in the first place? As children, we are introduced to fairy tales and Disney movies. The heroes and heroines are always good-looking. Perhaps it is in childhood that we attribute beauty as a simultaneous feature with righteousness. Rarely are we given a glimpse that an average-looking person can be the one to save the day or even just to be the one to perform small acts of kindness.
We are reminded of what’s really important in 1 Samuel 16:7b: “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” When we look at someone, we focus on facial features, the body, and the clothes, when we should be thinking about getting to know the person on the inside. Dismissing a person based on their unpleasant appearance is one of the worst things we could do. How can we judge someone when we don’t even know their heart yet? Also, all that time and money spent on looking better: makeup, clothes, toiletries, haircuts, etc. should be less important than the time we spend on our inner self. What God sees inside of us is infinitely more meaningful.
All of us have to retrain our brain to isolate a person’s level of attractiveness from their level of virtue. We shouldn’t choose to befriend someone based on their appearance but rather based on their heart. It’s easy for us to want to surround ourselves with good-looking people, but surrounding ourselves with uplifting, righteous people is more prudent. We want to be encouraged and challenged by the people around us not belittled or led down a path of immorality.
The next time you look at another person, challenge yourself to look through God’s eyes. Get to know their story before making snap judgments about their appearance. I think if everyone began to change how they view each other, the world would be a more loving, welcoming place.