Inner Beauty

Your adornment must not be merely external--braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. (I Peter 3: 3,4)

I like to look at the faces of older women, women who have lived many years in love with the Lord Jesus. There is an inner beauty which develops over years in these women which shines on their faces. This loveliness isn’t the result of good cheekbones or the absence of wrinkles. I’m not sure all that creates this beauty. At times I’ve commented to my husband that I can tell an older woman who is well loved by her husband just by looking at her. But I think it is more than just the love of her husband she reflects – it comes from loving and being loved by the Lover of our Souls.

I’m sure you know women whose lives are characterized by bitterness, though. This, too, shows on the face of older women. Maybe it is bitterness over deep afflictions, or maybe it is from crushing disappointments. Perhaps it is bitterness from unforgiven wrongs someone did to her. I grew up with someone who knows how to tenaciously hang on to hurts from the long distant past. When you allow this, bitterness festers, causing you more pain than ever, and alienates you from more and more people.

Of course the solution to bitterness is true forgiveness. And the whole reason we can and should forgive one another is because we have been forgiven so much! I love this passage from Ephesians which lays the groundwork for how we must live in relationship to one another, especially those in the body of Christ:

Eph. 4: 31, 32 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

As long as we are in relationships – with our husbands, children, brothers and sisters, parents, friends – we will hurt one another, both intentionally and unintentionally. But we must not allow bitterness, et al, to grow up. Rather put them away, and forgive.

It is sobering to me to realize that my thoughts and attitudes of today affect me not just momentarily but they impact what I will be like in future years as well. Some day I hope, if the Lord gives me enough years, though wrinkled and surrounded by a frame of gray (I’m making good progress on both those already), my face will reflect an inner beauty that comes from a gentle and quiet spirit.


Kara said…
thanks Mom
Rebecca Nugent said…
Thank you, Anne.
mrsd said…
Esther had that inner beauty too. Good thoughts!

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