“In fact, if anyone hears the word and does not do what it says, he is like a man who carefully looks at his own natural face in a mirror. Indeed, he carefully looks at himself; then, he goes away and immediately forgets what he looked like. But the one who looks carefully into the perfect law, the law of freedom, and continues to do so—since he does not hear and forget but actually does what it says—that person will be blessed in what he does” (EHV Jam 1:23-25).
Clara was an attractive woman, who regularly looked into a mirror to check her makeup and make sure her hair was just right. Because of a sinful mistake she made when she was younger, however, she was in an accident and bore an ugly scar on the side of her face. She gave thanks for her beauty, but the scar on her face was a constant reminder of her sin.
Interestingly, when she was away from a mirror, she forgot about her past sins and lived a beautiful Christian life. When people saw her from the one side, they saw only her beauty. But when she turned, people would see her scar and wonder what had happened. Thankfully, her close friends only saw Clara as a beautiful Christian woman who devotedly served her Lord and was a blessing to others.
Clara lived in the beautiful forgiveness of sins, which Jesus had won for her upon the cross. Even though the scar regularly reminded Clara of her failures, she lived in the peace of forgiveness and happily served others with beautiful kindness, patience, and courage. Like her friends, the Lord Jesus only saw a beautiful Clara. The mirror’s reflection of sins had been erased and replaced with true Christian beauty.
What a privilege for this hospital chaplain to remind and encourage Clara in her godly beauty with the words of St. Peter: “Do not let your beauty be something outward, such as braided hair or wearing gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather let your beauty be the hidden person of your heart – the lasting beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in God’s sight. In fact, this is also how the holy women of the past who put their hope in God made themselves beautiful” (1 Peter 3:3-5).
Chaplain Kenneth Wenzel