Beauty Inside

November 5th, 2013

The fall television premieres have begun. Amid the debuts of some highly anticipated sitcoms and dramas, and with the return of many old favorites, comes a new season of NBC’s popular singing competition The Voice. On The Voice, which began its fifth season on September 23, contestants sing to the backs of four celebrity judges, all of whom are acclaimed and talented vocalists in their own right, with the hope of winning their ears and votes. In this competition it’s all about the voice—and nothing else.

Performers on The Voice come from every walk of life. Because the judges cannot see them, these contestants are assessed solely on the quality of their singing voice, not on whether they “look” like a star. Because of this twist in format, vocalists who might not otherwise be taken seriously receive an opportunity to showcase their talents.

Judge Not

Making judgments based on appearance doesn’t happen only in the music industry or on reality television shows. In day-to-day life, humans have a tendency to make swift judgments about one another based on looks, what someone is wearing, or whether he or she looks like us. Wouldn’t it be something if when meeting someone for the first time we had to keep our eyes closed during the entirety of that initial conversation? How much richer would our lives be if we judged people entirely on their quality of character without being influenced by appearances?

Teenagers understand as well as anyone the human penchant for judging one another and focusing on the superficial. They often begin each day by asking themselves questions such as, “Does this outfit look OK?” “How’s my hair?” “Will people notice me?” and “Will they notice me for the right reasons?” These sorts of questions usually don’t go away as we age, either. Just think about how much time, hair product, and/or perfume or cologne it takes before you feel prepared to leave the house each day. And most of us are guilty also of passing judgment on others, even if we keep these judgments to ourselves: Someone is clearly wearing second-hand clothes, and we make assumptions about her or his income. Someone is wearing expensive, high-end clothes, and we make assumptions about snobbery. But here’s the thing: As followers of Jesus Christ, we are called to refrain from making judgments and are warned that as we judge others so we will be judged. Yikes! So how can we stop judging by appearances and learn to see the beauty inside others?

Wonderfully Made

God tells us that we are made in God’s image. The Bible says that we are God’s masterpieces. Scripture also says that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. We are children of God and we are beloved. Our beauty does not come from trendy clothes, expensive makeup, or popularity among others. Beauty comes from belonging to the God of the universe. When we realize this and comprehend the awesomeness of this truth, we begin to see the beauty in others. Like the celebrity judges on The Voice, we become blind to superficial things and are able to focus on what truly matters.

Our challenge is to claim our identity as beautiful children of God and then learn to see others the way God sees them—as fellow beautiful children and as reflections of God’s image. We should see others this way regardless of their body type, their clothing, or their hair style. Maybe if enough of us live by this truth, we can start a beauty revolution and people everywhere will know they are truly beautiful.

This article is also published as part of LinC, a weekly digital resource for youth small groups and Sunday school classes. The complete study guide can be purchased and downloaded here.

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