We’ve taken a long look at beauty this month. And it hasn’t involved a mirror! In today’s culture, it’s so easy to get focused on what’s on the outside, instead of spending time cultivating what will last – what’s on the inside.
Today it’s my privilege to host writer and blogger, Maddie MacMath on the subject of true beauty. (Maddie and I, along with a fantastic group of other ladies, write regularly for Internet Café Devotions. We’d love to have you visit us!)
The Beauty of Bruises
Guest Post by Maddie MacMath
Do you bruise easily? I do. Physically, my body responds to bumping my hip on an end table or letting a door slam on my calf with a vibrant black and blue mark. You should’ve seen me after I tried skiing for the first time this year. I couldn’t wear a skirt to a job interview because the marks were so bad – even with tights.
I may complain about my sore bruises or sigh about how rough they look, yet oddly enough I find something beautiful about bruises. I feel the same way about each of my scars, stretch marks, cuts, and burns. Unwelcome as they may be, each one boasts of a moment, a memory, a time when I was alive and living life to the full. They are like my own private memoir – reminding me of who I am, what I’ve done, and where I’ve seen the Lord at work.
A Bigger Lesson
Obviously marks and cuts affect our physical appearance, but there’s a reality of bruising that permeates much deeper than our skin . . .
We know we are called to love one another – verses like 1 John 4:20 are pretty clear about that:
If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen1 John 4:20
Not only are we called to care for the widow, the orphan, and the stranger (Deuteronomy 10:18-19), but we are asked to go above and beyond when it comes to doing life with the people the Lord puts around us:
And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away. Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.
Called to Love
Engaging in relationships, genuinely listening to the journey of another, caring for one another cultivates an inner beauty that reflects the image of Christ.
Caring for one another cultivates an inner beauty that reflects the image of Christ.
Jesus entered into people’s lives with depth, authenticity, and sincerity. The cuts and bruises Jesus accumulated because of these relationships weren’t merely the physical ones that were part of being crucified on the cross. There were wounds inflicted by those who were Jesus’ friends that penetrated His heart.
The inner beauty gained from doing life with one another is often a result of bruises, cuts, and scars from being betrayed and mistreated, yet continuing to love anyway. Because we’re not perfect, our brokenness plays a part in how we care for one another. Sometimes engaging in relationships can feel like getting close to a fire – the closer you get the warmer and more beautiful the embers become, yet the likelihood of getting burned also increases. The deeper we allow ourselves to live out the call of loving one another, the more exposed our soul becomes and the more bruises it accumulates as a result.
Worth the Risk
Just like our physical body bears the evidence of, scrapes, bruises, and scars – because it tells the story of a life that has been utterly lived – so too our soul carries its fair share of hurts: the very things that make it beautiful.
Don’t be afraid to find the inner beauty that comes with giving yourself 100% to loving, caring for, and walking alongside those in your life. There might be additional burns and cuts as a result, but know that it is part of the process of becoming more like Christ.
A bruised soul is sometimes the most beautiful one of all.
Are you afraid of the bruises you might get if you invest deeply in others? Remember Christ’s example and trust Him with the outcome. What step will you take today to love and care for the people God has put in your path?
Can I pray for you?
Heavenly Father, thank You for showing me what true beauty looks like. It’s not about what I see on the outside as much as it is about what’s on the inside. Sometimes I’m afraid to invest in others because I know I could get hurt. Help me trust my relationships to You and develop a beautiful, Christ-like soul. In Jesus’ name, Amen.Leave a comment on my wall if this post helped you
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More About Maddie
Maddie is a 21-year-old lover of Jesus, journaling, nicknames, coffee, chocolate, stories, roses, and big ‘ole hugs. As she journeys towards less Maddie and more Jesus, her life is really an ongoing mess covered by infinitely more grace. She writes more about the wisdom and beauty of the ordinary over at Sweet Tea and Me