By Jane Highley
Dear Virginia and Sonia:
I want to teach you so much about beauty. I know that you see me getting ready for work or for the occasional date-night: the lipstick, the hair, the outfit, the earrings, and the shoes. All those things mean a lot to me because I want to feel confident when I am teaching at school and feel beautiful when I am going out to eat sushi with Daddy.
But all that means very little to God. He looks at the heart. Remember what God said to Samuel? He said, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart” (I Samuel 16:7). God is exactly right about people — we all tend to care more about what’s on the outside than what’s on the inside. And this verse makes me feel totally guilty! Because I’m lazy and selfish, but I often make silly judgements about people based on how stylish or how neat they look. I don’t want to spend the time to get to know them and “look on the heart” as God does. Plus, I’m tempted to think that I’m better than others, which is very unloving and un-Jesus-like.
Girls, here’s another confession: Sometimes, I doubt God’s love, especially when I feel ugly about myself. When do I feel ugly? When I am tired; when I am “hangry;” when I haven’t had a good, long run; when I am stressed about school work. You’ve seen me like this. In fact, all of those things were true about me just last week, and I didn’t like myself at all. I don’t blame you for thinking that some evil, cranky twin has switched places with me. When I am like this, I really, REALLY don’t like myself because of how it looks on the outside.
But here’s the good news: God knows my ugliness and he knows yours, too. How is that good news, you ask? It’s good because, “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Even while I was neck-deep in my ugly, sinful life of not knowing God’s huge love for me, he loved so much that he allowed his son to die for my sins. So no matter how polished I look on Tuesday or how shabby I feel on Friday, there is nothing I can add or take away from myself to make God love me more. A sparkly necklace or a lovely pair of boots will not make me more lovable to God; he already loves me too much!
And he loves both of you too much. You can’t make him love you more because his love for you is already at 100%. And we can love him back because he has given us the capacity to love. “We love because he first loved us” (I John 4:19).