Monday, August 15, 2011

Do you really want to be beautiful, sister?


I got to wondering the other day about all the women in the Bible who are noted for their beauty. (This thought was triggered by a statement Tim made while preaching about Ruth, that the text never tells us anything about her looks and that she might have been quite frumpy.)

My wondering was along the lines of this: is it really a good thing to be a “looker?”  A quick think through my Bible revealed that other than the daughters of Job, and the bride of Song of Solomon, good looks can get you into more trouble than triumph.

Consider these beautiful women. In each case, their beauty is in some way linked to the unfortunate things that happened to them.

Sarah – sent off by her husband to a foreigner’s harem (twice!)
Rebekah – sent off to another harem then lived in a dysfunctional family
Rachel – spent many years barren
Philisitine woman of Timnah married to Samson – 30 men were killed in her town and fields burned outside of it and then she was murdered by her own people
Abigail – her husband dropped dead
Bathsheba – she was lured into adultery, became pregnant, got her husband murdered and lost her illegitmate child
Tamar the daughter of David – raped by her half-brother
Abishag the Shunamite – was chosen to lie in bed with an old and dying King David to keep him warm
Esther – trotted off to a harem and then made queen to something of a crazed despot

All that to say, the Bible does not suggest that beautiful women get an easier life. If being esteemed as gorgeous or desirable or pretty is what you are seeking, you may want to give that goal a second look!

Caveats:
1. Obviously, being ugly or unkempt is not a virtue.
2. Including Abigail in my list is likely the most tenuous.
3. I am not trying to say that being pretty is a sin. I just found it interesting to think through that list of names and see that being attractive in the eyes of the world may lead to more problems than it solves.
4. None of us are truly beautiful when it comes right down to it. Sin is ugly and before the only eyes that matter we are dead and lost. Jesus died for sinners though, and that makes all of us who have repented and believed on Him attractive (male and female) to the Lord. And that is what really matters.

6 comments:

  1. I've certainly found that an hour-glass figure and exceptionally large breasts has become a bane rather than blessing. When I was a teenager I was proud of them but this summer it seems that barely any men, Christian or not, look me in the eyes. I've come to learn that it's a large and faithful heart not double D's that the Lord looks seeks for. Please men, watch your oogling and gawking.

    Kim

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  2. ...well hey watch your tube tops and bralessness...girls nowadays are over the top showing everything!

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  3. Excuse me Mr. Anonymous. I do not wear "boob tubes" and if I choose to go topless that's my prerogative. Why should women have to wear bras according to Scripture. Men don't so why should we have to during the hot summer? Let's start with the problem of male lust.

    Kim

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  4. Come on people! Do we have to get so ruthlessly open about mammary glands? Bralessness isn't a problem for me because natural female beauty is a tribute to God's grace.

    Jordan

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  5. Jordan there's nothing wrong with boobs because they're found in the Song of Solomon which was obviously written by God for public consumption.

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  6. Um, getting back to the point of the post...

    1. While it's true good looks can lead to problems for women, good looks can also lead to problems for men. What I mean is we could probably make a similar list for men in the Bible.

    2. However, it's not necessarily the fault of the men or women who are good looking that their good looks "may lead to more problems than it solves." While it's true someone who is good looking can abuse his or her good looks, use it to manipulate others, cause others to sin or what not (e.g. "if I choose to go topless that's my prerogative"), it's also possible for someone who is good looking to behave with biblical integrity. Where the latter is the case, then other people could be taking advantage of them for their good looks, desire them solely for their good looks, etc. I do think the latter is more the case with most of the women of the Bible mentioned in this post. Women like Sarah, Rebekah, and the others don't seem like they deserve what happened to them for their good looks. Rather others took advantage of them because of their good looks. That's not the fault or sin of the women, but the fault or sin of others.

    3. It's not only beauty or good looks which can lead to problems for people. Other things like strength or brawn, intelligence, wealth, etc. can also lead to problems. All these are good gifts from God in and of themselves. They should be used for God and his kingdom and the good of others. If we're wealthy, we should use our wealth for God and others (e.g. help fellow Christians who can't make ends meet). If we're intelligent, then we should use our intelligence for God and others (e.g. interact with atheistic or other "intellectual" challenges to the Christian faith). If we're eloquent, then we should use our eloquence for God and others (e.g. preach the gospel to others). If we're strong, then we should use our strength for God and others (e.g. help serve in physical ways like building churches). If we're charismatic and charming, then we should use our charisma and charm for good (e.g. encouraging and edifying others). If we're good looking, then we should use our good looks for good (e.g. in our media saturated culture good looks could be used to publicly present the gospel in a winsome way perhaps like, I dunno, Kirk Cameron does). And so on and so forth.

    4. Some people are blessed with more than one or even all of the above (e.g. good looks, wealth, charisma or charm, intelligence, strength). Because of our sinful nature, these people could be more tempted to sin than others who have less in the way of these sorts of gifts from God. Perhaps this is part of what James is getting at in his epistle (2:5), "Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him?" And perhaps this is what the point of this post is ultimately about.

    5. As for beautiful or charming women, well, we all know what Proverbs 31:30 teaches.

    patrick

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