If looks could kill

All of us have remarked at least many times: “He is ugly. She is ugly.” Worse still, if we are the ugly ones and we see the discrimination (for lack of better words) before us.  “After all, it’s just my face. My heart is genuine,” you might console yourself within.
But you have spent nights thinking about this. You have uncontrollably wept as your heart reached overwhelming points. There is no one you can talk to. On the outside you might smile at people but you are breaking down on the inside. Maybe you have squint eyes. Maybe you have become bald prematurely. Maybe you have crippled legs. Maybe your lips are flabby. Maybe you like tan rather than being pale or fair. Maybe you are too fat. Maybe you are very skinny. Maybe your nose is too big. Maybe you are not as intelligent as others are. Maybe you have birthmarks.
On top of your uncontrollable emotions, you might be in pain as well. It is hard to come to terms with yourself when everything around you seems to be crumbling off. People don’t want to talk to you. You are the last person they want to relate to. No matter what clothes you put on, something always seems amiss.
In God’s standards, beauty is more than skin deep. God looks beyond the face value. If you are feeling unworthy it may be because there are certain things about you which you cannot understand and others always get the wrong picture about you. The bottom line is that we will not get all the answers in this lifetime. God’s concept of beauty is based on love not aesthetics. God is love. However, trying to express love by our own will or power is not God’s love. God’s love chastens and disciplines us (Hebrews 12:1-11). Love devoid of chastening and disciplining is not love according to God’s standards. Our relationship with God is tested by God’s love. And God sets our test amongst the people around us no matter how beautiful or ugly we may be. The yardstick is the same. We love people because of who we are in God’s sight. It will be a lifelong challenge. Changes do not come in big offers. They come in bits. Only constant yielding to the Lord can yield changes in our lives. There is no 5-step formula to this contrary to the quick fix Gospel that we hear today.
Mathew 5:20: “For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” God is calling us to a higher standard of walk.  The Pharisees were like the ministers of the Gospel today. Top notch.  Very cautious righteous people.  And legalistic, of course. Are you a minister of the Gospel in any way? All of us are in a way. Are you legalistic? Jesus laid down a new challenge – to surpass the Pharisees. Something like: “Surpass your pastor’s spiritual level. Your pastor is small talk. Don’t waste time.” Big take, isn’t it? Jesus always heightens the requirements of our walk with Him irrespective of our spiritual standard. Prophet Hosea married a prostitute. Mumbo jumbo. That is what Hosea probably thought for a moment when God told him to marry a prostitute. However, Hosea knew obedience was the one thing he had been and would be standing by. Standing in the gap as a testimony of God’s bigger plan is difficult because it is not comfortable at all, humanly speaking. Hosea understood God more by marrying the prostitute. That is as low as it can get as far as we can think of but it is still not low enough for God.
One-Child Policy. China. A writing on the wall of a hut: “We would rather shed rivers of blood than have one extra child.”  Another banner across a street: “Induce or abort, but do not bear!” Another picture has a mother on the bed looking down at her dead seven-month old baby. The mother did not have a birth permit. So, her pregnancy was illegal. The family planning police arrested her and administered forced abortion. Later, one of the medical personnel brought the body saying: “You need to pay for this so that we can dispose off the body.” The mother said she did not have money. So, the body was left there on the bed. In China both pro-lifers and pro-choicers will have difficulty in expressing their respective views.  And Paul wrote to the Romans: “Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law” (Romans 13:8).How do we picture God in contexts such as China, for example?  Yet we also hear first-hand accounts of the tremendous growth of the ‘house churches’ in China. According to Mathews George Chunakara, World Council of Churches’ Director of International Affairs and Public Witness, there is a “unique and explosive growth” of church in China.  
2 Corinthians 3:6: “He also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” We can either be busy dying or busy living by allowing or denying the Spirit’s leading. This is very different from the majority of reality shows on TV going out of control. Somehow we are concerned about these shows going out of control but not concerned about we going out of control. God holds up our sins lovingly but firmly. If we think we have done a great favour to God by believing in Him we have made a wrong in theology. God permits brokenness until we become broken. Are we that broken? In the light of God we seem to realise that nothing else matters except to recite Psalms in tears for better or for worse or in sickness and in health. If looks could kill, Jesus would not have died for us.