It’s the heart that counts

What's really inside?
What’s really inside?

I went to the shops a few weeks ago looking for breakfast cereal. I naturally gravitated to the products we normally bought, including a box of corn flakes. The box was well coloured advertising its health benefits and a competition for some free promotional products. However having been to a nutrition seminar at work not that long ago I took particular note of the ingredients and compared this with another brand alongside – this was a plain white box with a fairly minimalistic picture on the front, the sort of thing one tends not to look twice at, but when I read the ingredients I found this rather dull looking products contained less sugar, less fat and more fibre than the fancy looking one. Finally they were cheaper and tasted just fine!

When you go shopping, your attention may be arrested by fancy packaging or “2 for 1” offers and the like; but ultimately you’re interested in the product itself and how it works, not how fancy the box is. This is a lot like people. Someone’s physical appearance is just the packaging, but the product inside is their character. You don’t become friends or more with someone simply for how they look, just as you can’t live with a disagreeable and prickly person just because they’ve got a pretty face. In the same way, outward appearance counts for precious little in a committed, long-term relationship.

This was brought to mind when I read some comments Bindi Irwin made recently. People comfortable with themselves don’t feel the need to attract artificial attention by the way they dress (or don’t dress!). In the eyes of some, fancy packaging through immodesty or excessive attention on the outward appearance minimises the beauty of your character, to the point some may interpret this to mean there really isn’t much inner beauty at all! In the case of immodest clothing, this can cause you to become perceived by some more as an object than a person, which helps neither you nor them. Down the track, people who have felt the need to attract artificial attention often end up wishing they’d held their honour a little higher.

The Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, has also drawn the attention of the media because of how modestly she chooses to dress, something noted as a breath of fresh air. Modest attire allows the beauty of our character to show.

The Apostle Peter says the following: “Let yours not be that outward adorning… but the hidden person of the heart” 1Peter 3v3-4. Male or female, I think there’s a lesson there for all of us – focus on developing a beautiful character, something which transcends and outlasts any physical beauty.

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