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Sunday, January 28, 2007

Beauty is Soul Deep

Abraham Lincoln loved to tell stories on himself. One of his favorites concerned itself with physical appearance.

In the days when Lincoln used to be on the circuit (traveling on horseback from one county court to another), he was once approached by a stranger who said, "Excuse me, sir, but I have an article which belongs to you."

"How is that?" Lincoln asked in astonishment.

The stranger took a jack-knife from his pocket. "This knife," he said "was placed in my hand some years ago, with the injunction that I was to keep it until I found a man homelier-looking than I am myself. I have carried that knife for many years. Now I pass it on to you."

Lincoln added wryly, "I've carried that knife ever since."

One of Lincoln's greatest assets was his ability to laugh at himself. And he frequently laughed at his physical appearance. But history does not remember him as an "ugly" individual -- in fact, often just the opposite. His outer appearance was clothed in magnificently beautiful garments: character, honesty, humor and courage. But there are other clothes he wore equally well -- such as humility and forgiveness.

We say that beauty is skin deep. But it isn't really. It has very little to do with the skin. True beauty is soul deep. It is a fabric that is woven in the soul and worn in plain view.

The Bible speaks of something similar. It teaches us to clothe ourselves with "compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience." Then "over all of these put on love, which binds them in perfect unity." Regardless of how good looking we may otherwise be, it is these clothes that will determine our actual beauty.

This was taught to me by a woman who used to think that if she were granted only one wish, it would be to be beautiful. She saw her wheel-chair dependent body as unsightly and, therefore, she missed her more attractive assets. But when she was finally convinced of some of her beautiful personality traits by her friends, she came to a different point of view. Today she says, "Now I know I AM beautiful. Very beautiful."

Beauty is soul deep. Learn that and you may realize that you are far more attractive than you ever imagined!

~ Steve Goodier ~

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