What If You Weren’t Beautiful?

A Reflection on Holiness…

I once met a lady (Let’s call her Naomi) who had been burned severely over the top half of her body. She had leaned in to light a stubborn gas stove and it ignited with her bent over inside. The flesh of her scalp, face, arms, hands and upper torso was literally melted off in a second. In a flash of heat, she was no longer beautiful, at least not in any way that society defines beauty.

You might be thinking that you know people who are not beautiful, but I disagree. Perhaps not every feature is aesthetically pleasing, but most of us have what we consider to be our best feature that we rely on to charm our way into other people’s affections. Maybe it’s dark, soulful eyes with sculpted brows, or full pouty lips. Maybe it’s chiseled muscular runner’s legs, or velvety skin the color of warm honey. Maybe it’s a thick, flowing mane of hair, or dimples that beg for attention.

These features become tools of the trade, if you will, to express ourselves, to glean attention, and I dare say to manipulate others into doing, thinking or feeling the way we want them to. Depending on whether we are an extrovert or an introvert, our features enable us to shine in the spotlight or blend into the crowd.

For most of us, our features dictate how we feel about ourselves and how we project ourselves to others. Someone with pearly white teeth is likely to smile more, thereby projecting confidence, while someone having a bad hair day might not make eye contact, and thereby seem withdrawn or standoffish.

Beyond our physical attributes, we use all manner of extras to embellish ourselves. After all, presentation is everything, right? We often feel like we can’t face the world without our makeup mask, a trendy cut, colored and permed hairdo, the latest clothing fashions and lots of bling to top it all off. These exaggerations leave very little room for the Holy Ghost to shine through.

Naomi visited our church with a mutual friend, who had prepared me ahead of time that she would be covered in bandages. I knew she would feel out of place, and expected her to be the epitome of social awkwardness. Was I ever surprised?! On the contrary, she was the embodiment of grace and contentment. It turns out, I was the one who felt uncomfortable, while she projected perfect peace.

She calmly held my eyes as I tried not to show my distress at her physical condition. She spoke genuine and kind words as I reined in my emotions. Naomi knew that she was a curiosity, but she wasn’t embarrassed or offended by it.

Through the openings in the bandages I could tell that she had no defined lips to apply lipstick to. No eyelashes to coat with mascara. No ear lobes to hang jewels from. All of the trappings that we rely on to face the world with confidence had been burned away from Naomi. Still, she was calm and reassuring, not seeking attention, neither shrinking from it.

Oh, I’m very sure she didn’t arrive at this place right away or even voluntarily. My mind flinches to think of the physical and emotional pain she had endured. By the time I met Naomi, she had gone through months of treatments and therapy. It’s not uncommon for someone who has gone through severe trauma to end up bitter toward God and to turn to every form of pseudo peace and synthetic beauty. Not Naomi; she was barely there.

So many people, both churched and unchurched, think of holiness as a list of rules and regulations. Many have called it legalism, and so it is if you are only trying to appear holy. However, if you are seeking for true holiness, you will eventually come to the realization, as Naomi did, that the only adornment the soul needs is the light of God’s pure Spirit.

“Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.”

(1Peter 3:3-4)

THINKING POINTS:

-Name an embellishment that you rely on to feel confident.

-How do you feel when you think about being in public without it?

-Do you act differently with it than without it?

X, Y, ZZZzzz

So, the whole transgender movement has me shaking my head. Not only at a President who has dictated his own agenda outside of any legislative process, not only at humans who insist that mine and my children’s rights are taken away so that they can pretend to be something other than God made them, not only at a country that has forgotten it was formed as one nation under God and His laws, but at a Church who is snoozing softly as the very foundation of our great America is being jack hammered away beneath us.

People get confused all the time. Some confusion is from lack of concentration, some from lack of teaching. Some confusion is from too hectic of a lifestyle. Some is because of an underlying medical issue, or some simply from the aging process. This gender confusion issue, however, is an all out deception from satan, himself.

Sometimes, the Church can even get confused, especially by issues that are marketed under the label of Human Rights. In times when we need clarity, we should always go back to the Word of God.

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply…” (Genesis 1:27-28a)

“The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God.” (Deuteronomy 22:5)

These scriptures clearly reveal that from the beginning, God created man and woman with their own gender specific roles and a clear distinction between the two.

I know there are many people whose core belief system is not founded upon the Bible, but on science. True science, however, will prove, not contradict the scriptures. If the transgender issue is looked at from a scientific point of view, it should all become clear, as well.

If you take a DNA sample from any person, living or deceased, it will clearly reveal whether that person is male or female. According to recent scientific research, the human body has approximately thirty-seven trillion cells (give or take a trillion). The majority of those thirty-seven trillion cells each has a nucleus which carries your genetic code. Within each of those microscopic nuclei there are 23 pairs of chromosomes. These 46 chromosomes are your genetic identity. They are who you are. One pair of these chromosomes are sex chromosomes. If you are a female, you have 2 X sex chromosomes (XX). If you are a male, you have 1 X and 1 Y sex chromosome (XY).

I’m sure that someone might point to random genetic flukes, abnormalities, anomalies, variations or mutations that I don’t have the medical knowledge to even converse about, and claim these as validity for transgender tendencies. To that I would simply say, because sin first entered into the world, death now works in our bodies. But it wasn’t so from the beginning, and since Jesus Christ offered Himself as our sacrifice for sin, it doesn’t have to be that way in any of our lives now.

Others might conclude that people should identify with whichever gender feels right to them. To that I would say, feelings are tricky things. They are manufactured in our hearts that do not always know, believe or live Truth.

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.” (Jeremiah 17:9-10)

I am not any kind of medical professional, but I have been reminded by a few internet searches on “DNA” that our bodies were created by God Almighty by specific design. He wasn’t confused when He coded our genetic identity within each of us trillions of times over. Furthermore, no amount of alternative clothing choices, restroom preferences, hormone treatments or surgical alterations will change the truth of who you are.

There is no reason for the Church to keep hitting the snooze button on this one. Be who you truly are, and encourage others to do the same.

“Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee…” (Jeremiah 1:5a)