Thursday, July 16, 2009

We Can Be Heroes: The Not-So-Pretty Woman

Comedian Joan Rivers, 72, has had a number of cosmetic surgeries over the years. Since 1965 she's had bags removed from under her eyes, two complete face-lifts, cheek implants, fat injections, brow smoothing, teeth capping, neck tightening, a tummy tuck, and a nose-thinning. Regarding her obsession with her appearance, she said, "When you look better, you are treated differently. …People want to be around attractive people."

Rivers' vanity isn't without self-reflection. She's made an entire comic career out of making fun of her obsession with appearance; in a recent commercial for GEICO, she cracks, "My face has seen more knives than a Benihana." Later in the same spot, she frantically asks her onscreen partner, "Am I smiling, Steve? I can't feel my face."

Physical beauty is nice, but fleeting. Denton Bible Church pastor Tommy Nelson, in his famous series of messages on the Song of Solomon, used to ask engaged couples to take a look at one another. Then he would say, "Enjoy that. That's as good as he or she is ever going to look. It all goes down hill from here." His point, of course, was that if we marry for physical beauty alone, we're building on a house of sand.

I'm not preaching about marriage or self-esteem in this current series, "We Can Be Heroes." But I am talking about how we need to look more deeply at ourselves and our neighbors. We tend to judge people strictly on superficial issues, but God deliberately chooses people who are unimpressive on the surface to do His most outstanding work. Last week we saw how He lasered in on Leah, the forgotten spouse in a dysfunctional family, for His special attention. This week, we'll take a look at an even more unlikely hero: A pagan prostitute from a doomed city, who we know as Rahab. I hope I see you there. And hopefully, we'll all begin to see people a little differently.

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