Appearance Doesn't Tell the Whole Story

By Norman Bales

While traveling on an Oklahoma interstate highway, I passed an antiquated, rusty pickup. As I pulled out to go around the truck, I noticed a bumper sticker that read, "I love my wife." The message aroused my curiosity. As I pulled alongside, I reduced my speed enough to catch a good look at the vehicle's riders. That's when I realized the loved lady wasn't the most attractive female I'd ever seen.

As I resumed speed and whipped back into the right lane, I chuckled and thought to myself, "I'm glad he loves her. I don't think he had to compete with too many suitors to win her favor." For a long time I kept thinking about those two people in the pickup. If she lacked certain assets, the driver wasn't exactly a rival to Brad Pitt. I don't know what his destination might have been, but I'm pretty sure he wasn't keeping an appointment to model clothes for Gentleman's Quarterly.

I kept wondering what I might see if I could look inside their hearts. Maybe they had more capacity to love than the people who model clothes and make movies. Perhaps they showed more consideration, thoughtfulness, willingness to sacrifice, and devotion to each other's best interest than folks who drive sports cars, wear the latest fashions and get their hair done at a place that advertises itself as a salon. I know one thing for sure. The guy in the pickup wanted the world to know that he loves his wife. Does Brad Pitt have a sticker like that on his vehicle?

In childhood, our parents repeated the cliche, "beauty is only skin deep." Later we heard someone say, "beauty is in the eye of the beholder." Both observations were correct. According to Genesis 1:26, we are all created in the image of God. That doesn't have anything to do with appearance. It describes our basic nature.

When two people see one another as beings who ". . . have been made a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned . . . with glory and honor," they inevitably view one another with respect and esteem. If a husband understands that, it doesn't surprise me that he might want to post a bumper sticker on his vehicle professing love for his wife. His love is based on something more substantial than how she looks.

We judge people by superficial standards. We look for tangible ways of measuring their worth. Sometimes we judge people by their achievements. Our social structure encourages us to do this. Pick up a high school yearbook and you will find pages devoted to the "most popular," "most likely to succeed," "best all around athlete," etc.

You would think that the people whose photographs appear on those pages are the ones most likely to succeed in marriage. Take a look at the yearbook at their 25th class reunion. It doesn't always work out that way. If you start looking for the most successful marriage in the class, you might find a rather plain looking couple, driving a rusty old pickup across Oklahoma.


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