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What Is Beauty?

Linda Roorda


Beauty – we all admire the aesthetic and beautiful in both people and nature, though beauty is in the eye of the beholder they say.  Often, as our young girls strive to look beautiful, they imitate the actresses and models they admire on the “silver screen” or magazine covers.  But youthfulness fails to realize the images are a façade, made more beautiful and glamorous by makeup and the air brush.  It’s not a true beauty.  And a pretty face may not always have a heart of love and compassion.  For “…man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (I Samuel 16:7b)  So then, what is beauty?  And how do we define it? 

There’s an old-fashioned philosophy which I believe still holds true today.  “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as [elaborate hairstyles] and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes.  Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”  (I Peter 3:3-4 NIV) 

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With those wise words from Scripture in mind, when we give of ourselves to benefit others, a depth of beauty is seen through the glow of an unselfish act – the embodiment of genuine love for others.  “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” (Proverbs 31:30) Living our life to please God reflects the unique inner beauty He has blessed each of us with.  “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mothers’ womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful. I know that full well.” (Psalm 139:13-14)

We show the beauty of true character by reaching out to help those in need, especially those who cannot pay us back for such a generous gift.  Beauty is in a heart of humility, serving others with grace and gentle kindness.  Beauty shines brightly when we don’t call attention to ourselves… as we quietly go about living a life of peace by showing honor and respect to all we meet on our path of life.  For you will know when someone has been deeply touched by the beauty of your heart…

Yet, the question must be asked… what is the opposite of love’s beauty?  The generous airs or charms put on to cover that which is defiled… a self-proclaimed boasting in how humble one is… the disguising of a selfish attitude of pride filled with self-centeredness and greed… an indifference, or absence of emotion, caring, compassion, and love.

Which brings us back to our initial question, what is beauty? Smiles to brighten someone’s day… a helping hand serving those in need... sharing truth with true humility… earning trust with acceptance and respect of others… generous acts of kindness strewn among friends and strangers… and an unfading gentle spirit of love and peace found within the selfless heart.  Among these and more we find true beauty… 

For “[beauty] should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” (I Peter 3:4)

What is Beauty?

Linda A. Roorda 

What is beauty if the heart is shallow

What is glamor when rudeness takes charge

And what is charm with selfish desire…

For what is love but the giving of self?


What then are words when the mind deceives

What is character with rebellious soul

Or enticing lures to captivate hearts…

For what is virtue but integrity’s truth?


What is kindness if the tongue reviles

And what is honor without reputation

Or the humble soul if boastful and proud…

For what is grace but gentle elegance?


What is adornment when respect has fled

What are principles if deceit is the core

What is esteem when self is worth more…

For what is honor but morality’s judge?


What then is beauty but innocence pure

The charm and grace of respectful repute

Humility’s stance with integrity’s honor…

For what is beauty but the gift of self?


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