I recently returned from a week-long mission trip in New York City. On our first day at the church we were partnering with, a minister named Ezze, shared with us her heart for the week. She stated, “I pray that God will give you eyes to see beauty in the Bronx.” That thought stuck in my head and became my prayer for myself and for my students for the remainder of the week. It’s a wonderful thought that is powerfully true.
Beauty is not only in the eye of the beholder, it’s the responsibility of the beholder. Fortunately, it’s a responsibility that God desires to help us with. What our world desperately needs are people who are committed to finding beauty in the most unusual and dark places. Most of us turn up our nose at the injustice and corruption in our world. We seek to insulate ourselves from it, and to protect ourselves from the pain it causes. The proper response as followers of Jesus, however, would be to engage the broken places instead of avoiding them, even though it can be costly. Rather than criticizing the mistakes and sins we see in people around us, we would be much more effective if we chose to call out the beauty that is hidden underneath. If the Bible is to be believed, then everyone was created in the image of God. It’s our job to look past the violence and hatred and find the beauty in the people that God loves so much (that’s everyone).
Christians at our best are seekers of beauty, we are to be people who love God so much, that we recognize his fingerprints even in the most heart-breaking places. Perhaps the most difficult challenge of all is to find beauty in ourselves. After all, we know all of the horrible things we have done, and even more troubling, all of the really messed-up things we think on any given day. We have been conditioned to look for and find the bad inside ourselves. Any hopes to grow in those things (and we all need to grow) can only happen after we have found the beauty that God has placed in each of us. In other words, to have the courage to turn from the damage that we daily do, we must hear God’s voice reminding us of His great love for us, and of our great purpose in the world (to love others well).
So I offer the prayer I have been praying for myself to you today as well, that God would give you eyes to see the beauty inside of you, and the courage and vision to find that beauty in the world around you as well.
Photo Courtesy of Death To Stock Photo