Archives For character

Ours is a largely youth-obsessed, beauty-conscious culture. We need
look no farther than the grocery store to know this so. Cosmopolitan constantly proclaims, with a picture of a young, beautiful person on its cover, how to have the best sex ever. Us, Self, Vogue, GQ, and People follow suite: images are almost always of young, attractive,
toned, in-shape people.

As if our lives would somehow be incomplete if we did not know that
Kristen Stewart cheated on Rob Pattinson. Apparently, such knowledge
sells magazines. Or something.

People even has annual feature proclaiming the “Sexiest Man Alive.”
That it’s an annual occurrence highlights the fleeting nature of beauty, and the fickle tastes of the populace. One year, it’s Ryan Gosling; another, Brad Pitt. Or George Clooney.

All handsome men, to be sure.

You know who would never grace the cover of People as a sexy man?

Jesus.

That’s right, God the Son, Second Person of the Trinity–the One Who made the Brad Pitts, Goslings, Clooneys, et al.

You know why?

image

Because He was ugly. That’s right: Jesus was not a “looker.” In Isaiah, it says that he “had no form, or comeliness.” In other words, He was not good looking. Was not possessed of a physical charisma. Which means that it was not His looks that attracted people to Him.

It was something else.

It was His strength of character, His moral authority, and yes the wonders He performed. He backed up His teaching with signs: turned the water into wine, fed the five thousand, opened the eyes of the blind…

Set the captives free.

Yet, none of this was enough to endear Him to the leaders of His day, who–as you know–called for His crucifixion. They denigrated His apparent lack of learning, and His city of origin (“Can any good thing come from Nazareth?”). And they wanted His head–because He threatened their power base.

This ugly man from Nazareth.

He would, as His followers are, be just as misunderstood today. And the last place you would hear of him would be in the pages of some beauty-obsessed magazine. You certainly would not see His visage gracing the cover of People, GQ, Vogue, Us, et cetera.

Because grace, like Jesus, is not sexy. Rather, it is scandal that sells, or that which titillates us. Revenge, by this world’s measure, is sexy. Forgiveness, however, is not.

Jesus was not the sexiest man alive, nor did He come to titillate, but instead to give sight to the blind, raise the dead, sets hearts free, and forgive.

And that’s enough for me.

How about you? What draws you to Jesus?

I play Words With Friends. Everyday. At any given time, I’ll probably have twenty games going.

I like playing with words.

I do.

The challenge of finding the right combination of letters, swooping in, making the big score.

It appeals to me.

I play defensively, competitively. But I don’t always win. Because I often play people who are better than me.

And this has been good for my game. Very good–it’s made me a better player.

The same is true of life. If bad company, as the scriptures say, corrupts good character, is not the inverse also true?

What does affiliating with those who are successful in life do for us? Make us want to live better, right? Do better, reach higher.

At least I think so.

This year, I’ve been privileged to engage in some brief correspondences with some authors I admire. Besides getting to interact with some cool people, what is the net effect of this on me?

It makes me want to write better. It’s encouraging to know that these people–pros–struggle with some of the same insecurities. They’re people like you and me, and yet have pressed through the resistance.

Just like playing Words with better players makes me better, so does getting to know other writers make me want to step up my writing game.

But more than that, there’s a drawing near to Christ that elevates us into a higher kind of life. Getting to know him makes me want to please him. He makes me want to be a better man.

The point of this post is simply this:

Who we hang out with often determines in large part who we are–and who we want to be.

Agree, or disagree? The comment section is open, and the floor is yours.