The most beautiful thing in the world is a life well-lived. Standards and ideals of physical beauty change with the seasons of a culture but goodness and unselfishness are eternally valued. We are told by hawks that gracious accommodations made to our enemies are signs of weakness to be misunderstood by our foes and thus embolden them to aggression. But was it not Jesus who told us to turn the other cheek? Was it not Jesus who never struck back when He could have called legions of angels to avenge Him? Matthew 26:53. It was the Prince of Peace who divided history. True strength of character is manifested in compassion and understanding. True wisdom is quick to apologize and to learn from words spoken in haste.
The Sermon on the Mount is the manifesto for a life well-lived. Paul follows with Ephesians 4, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” This is not psychological pabulum. This is the secret of happiness. To be quick to forgive is the power to heal one’s wounds. Should someone take advantage of us shame on them, not shame on us for being kind. Desires for revenge and plans for retaliation are toxins that eat away our vitality more ferociously than any cancer.
I have yet to meet someone who wants to be ugly. Yet so often we choose to be ugly by our allowing others to determine our behavior. Some of the most physically unattractive persons I know are the most beautiful people in the universe. They are not merely decorated but instead are fountains of eternal beauty.
Written by Roger Bothwell on August 4, 2016