Summary: We must realize the truth that 1. We all begin as ugly people. 2. We have the beauty of God stamped on our souls. 3. God offers to make us new people.
Her nose was pretty big, but I didn’t think it looked all that bad. However, Lori claimed she was so ugly that people called her names and teased her children at school about her looks. To me she was average and even pleasant in appearance, but she decided to have her nose diminished, her chin built out, her teeth fixed, her cheeks filled out — as well as other enhancements on ABC’s show called Extreme Makeover. In the interview she seemed as though she was a likeable person with a sense of humor. She had a husband who loved her and children with whom she seemed to be close, yet her perception of her appearance was like a black cloud over her life. She wore sunglasses and ball caps to hide behind, but she won’t be doing that any longer. Here is what Lori looks like now. She is obviously more physically attractive, but I wonder if her life is really measurably happier. More than that, I wonder if she is a better person because of it. Wouldn’t it be interesting to go to her town a year from now to see if her life has changed, and if the change was a change for the better? Will her new appearance make her more concerned about the homeless and hungry in her area? If we talked to her husband a year from now would he say that there marriage was stronger? If we talked to her children would they say she was kinder and more thoughtful? Would her friends say she had become a better friend and more caring neighbor? She looks better, but will she be better? I trust she will.
Most of us think about what it would be like to have an extreme makeover. I wouldn’t mind a little liposuction myself. I could use a hair implant or two. It looks like little hair lumbermen have been foresting on my head and there are fewer hairs every month. I can now see through the trees and there has some serious de-forestation in some areas. I am at the age where I can grow hair on my ears easier than I can on my head. I look through the L. L. Bean catalog and I see these great clothes advertised and I say to myself, “The only problem is that those clothes won’t look as good on me as they do that perfect male model.” With his handsome face and chiseled torso you could throw rags on him and he would still look better than me with the best clothes in the catalog. But do you really think Tom Cruise is happier than me? He has a lot more money and is a lot better looking, but I don’t know that he enjoys life any more than me, if as much. Is Britney Spears any happier than you? She certainly has the perfect looks, the talent and the money, but I have a feeling if you actually lived in her world you would not trade places with her.
This is a culture where youth is worshiped and physical appearance is everything. So shows like Extreme Makeover have a huge draw as people think about what they would like to change about themselves. But what if our values were kingdom values? What would we think about changing then? There is nothing wrong with enhancing our appearance. None of us would have combed our hair today or brushed our teeth if we did not care about our appearance. There is nothing wrong with putting on makeup. Caring about our physical appearance is good, except when that concern becomes extreme, and we forget about the things we should be concerned about.
I think we all need an extreme makeover, but not the kind you will see on television. It is not a makeover of your body, but of your spirit. In biblical terms, we need a transformation. Here is how the book of Romans puts it: “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2). That is the kind of extreme makeover we need.
Did you see the move Shallow Hal? It is a movie about an unattractive, really shallow middle-aged man named Hal Larsen who judges women on how “hot” they are. But then one day, Hal gets stuck on a stalled elevator with a motivational guru who helps him overcome his shallowness by hypnotizing him so that he sees only the inner beauty of people. Leaving the elevator, Hal sees large, unattractive women as supermodels. When a 330 pound blonde named Rosemary shows up, to Hal she looks like. . . well like Gwyneth Paltrow. He is overcome by her kindness and humor, and she becomes the most beautiful girl in the world to him.