Summary: We’ve been in a series in James called Christianity Uncensored. We’ve been saying that we live in an edited world that’s cleaned up and made to look pretty. Let’s just peel the facade away. Let’s look at what it means to be an authentic follower of Jesu
Series: Christianity Uncensored
Message #3: Love Uncensored
By: Jud Wilhite
I don’t know about you but every time I go to the grocery store I’m set off a little bit as I stand in the line and look at the magazine racks. Everyone I look at is beautiful. Have you ever felt that way? You look at these photos of people and think, “That’s just not right.” They are all beautiful and they all want to tell you how to lose ten pounds. Every magazine you look at it’s the same thing. This has been going on for years now. It never changes. I guess we keep buying it thinking it’s going to work for me.
We look at these photos and what we often don’t realize is that these photos have been edited. They’ve been airbrushed. They have been cleaned up and reworked in a significant way so that people look the way they do on the magazine. Now just to give you an example, we’re going to put a photo up here of a particular woman. You can see her. She looks peaceful and well rested. Her skin is absolutely flawless. You won’t find a flaw hardly anywhere on this picture. Now, this is after it’s been touched up. Let’s look at what the actual picture looked like before it was touched up. Look at that, she looks like the rest of us now, doesn’t she? Look at the bags under her eyes. She needs some rest. Quite a difference, isn’t it? That’s the art of digital touching up.
Now let’s take another image here. This is a blonde you might see on the magazine rack. She’s smiling and happy. If you buy her product you will feel and look like that. But let’s go to the before image. Check that out, her head grew! You can actually change the shape of a person’s head by digital imagery. Now, I thought we had to be fair so let’s pull a guy up. It’s a cool, handsome, sleek looking guy. This is the after shot. Look at his gut. Now look at the before shot. Ha, ha…look at that! I want that camera! That’s what I’m talking about. You can do all kinds of things with digital touching up and imagery.
For instance, Michelle Pfeiffer, years ago, was on the cover of Esquire magazine. It said on the magazine, “What Michelle Pfeiffer needs is absolutely nothing.” There is a picture of her looking beautiful and perfect. It took ad busters to actually reveal that Diane Scott and Associates charged Esquire magazine fifteen hundred and twenty-five dollars to touch up this image that was on the cover photo. Here are a few things from the actual bill: Cleaned up the complexion, softened her eye lines, softened her smile line. They added color to lips. Trimmed the chin. They removed the neckline. They softened the line under her ear lobe. They removed stray hair. They adjusted the color. They added hair on the top of her head. I’m all for adding hair on the top of the head. It was this type of photo that caused Cindy Crawford to say, “I wish I looked like Cindy Crawford.” Think about that for a minute. She can’t of course, because this is achieved from lighting and digital work and all kinds of airbrushing that they used to make those photographs look the way that they do.
We’ve been in a series in James called Christianity Uncensored. We’ve been saying that we live in an edited world that’s cleaned up and made to look pretty. Let’s just peel the facade away. Let’s look at what it means to be an authentic follower of Jesus Christ. What does the Bible really say about it? James is the guy to deliver that message. James is the actual physical brother of Jesus. He’s a no-nonsense kind of guy. He’d just give it to you straight. He was a “no-bull” guy. When you enter into the book of James you are truly entering into the no-spin zone. He’s going to lay it out there. He’s going to talk to us today about the fact that appearances can be deceptive. Just like in those magazine photos that we saw, appearances can be deceiving. There is more to a person than meets the eye.
James picks it up in chapter two, beginning in verse one. He says this: “My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show favoritism to one another.” Now the word favoritism is interesting. It comes from a Hebrew term that literally means to receive the face. A person walks up to you and you receive their face as is. We often will make discriminatory judgments based on receiving them at their face. James is saying, “Don’t simply receive their face.” Don’t take a person based on what they look like. Don’t make judgments and show favoritism to them based on what kind of clothes they are wearing or how expensive those clothes are or how not expensive they are. To put it positively, here is what James is telling us; treat people fairly. In the church there is no place for discrimination. Then he gives us this great illustration and example in James chapter two, verse two, “Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in.” We have two people that come in. He’s talking about a church setting. Suppose one guy comes in and he has it going on. He’s got the clothes and he’s decked out. He has the entourage. He’s come in and he’s the man. Then behind him comes in this guy who is in shabby clothes. He doesn’t smell too good. He’s obviously not at the very best he’s been in life. He’s barely getting by. You have these two guys. What do you do? Here is what James says, “If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, ‘Here’s a good seat for you,’ but say to the poor man, ‘You stand there’ or ‘Sit on the floor by my feet,’ have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?” Ouch! In the church we have to treat people fairly, irrespective of how they look on the outside. Don’t simply receive the face.