Thursday, May 07, 2009

How come Saudi Arabia understands what we don't?,2933,519193,00.html

Okay, so this story is about a Muslim beauty pageant and adherence to Islamic morals. Okay, so I'm not just a Christian, but a Christian pastor. Okay, so obviously I'm not suggesting that Islamic morals are the definition of beauty. So just let all that drop for a moment and think about this, okay? This isn't about one religion over another, it's about an underlying truth: beauty has far more to do with what's inside than what's on the outside.

This pageant in Saudi Arabia undertands that truth. Not only understands, but celebrates it! Now contrast that with American beauty pageants. Evening gowns. Swimsuit competitions. Perfect teeth, perfect hair, bodies that are judged on whether or not they have perfect proportions . . . and just a nod--just the slightest nod--to whether or not the woman in the swimsuit has a brain or not.

In America, we celebrate outward beauty . . . but doesn't that beauty fade after a while? I mean, sure we find more and more ways all the time to stave off the inevitable, to hang on to the image of youth and beauty. And sure, as a result, we've got far more aging Hollywood stars than we've ever had before--both men and women--that are just plain knockout attractive even into their 40's, 50's, and 60's. But outward beauty alone is really not worth celebrating. A beautiful woman can still be a shrew. A ruggedly handsome man can still be angry and abusive. Despite their outward beauty, their treatment of others belies an inner ugliness that no amount of plastic surgery could ever fix.

Let me tell you something: My wife is crazy gorgeous and (if you don't mind me saying, and frankly even if you do) hotter than ever. You want to know why? Because she's beautiful on the inside, and that inner radiance shines forth. I've never met a woman who's been as dedicated and loving to her family as my wife Stephanie. I've never met a woman who's always so ready to give of herself and build into the lives of her kids. To build into the life of her husband. She's so beautiful inwardly that yeah, like that silly pageant, you could stick her into a full-body burkha and even then her beauty would still be unmistakeable.

I wish more Americans understood the value of inner beauty. I wish more men would judge women by more than their cup size or about the junk she got in her trunk. I wish more Christian women cared less about how they looked in a bikini and more about the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit.

So yeah, right now? I wish we could learn a little something from the Saudi Arabians. Something that God's been telling us all along, but we've been a bit too preoccupied with our outward appearance to actually listen.

Proverbs 31:30-31 30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. 31 Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

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