How do you measure up?
Is it right to judge ourselves by outward appearances?
Fervr was recently asked:"Is there a difference between judging the inner and outer beauty of others and judging your own inner and outer beauty? Like, it's bad to judge people based on their physical appearance and things like that, but is it bad to judge yourself?"
Here's our answer, provided by Fervr contributor, Cecily Paterson:
OK, so judging people on how they look isn’t a great thing. We all know we’re not supposed to do it. And we know why.
Imagine Katie, a Christian girl in your youth group. She’s really overweight, has no sense of style and always seems to have uncut, greasy hair hanging around her ears. We judge Katie when we dismiss her as a person, ignore her existence and despise her opinions because we think she is too fat and ugly. But, no matter how she looks or what her hairstyle, God loves her. Jesus died for her. And she’s part of the body of Christ.
It's clearly not right for us to judge others like this.
Enough said about other people. Now let’s think about ourselves.
Imagine that I am Katie, filled with self-loathing and disgust. When I say "I am worthless because of the way I look", I am judging myself. Hating myself for my appearance is judging myself. It’s ignoring the fact that God has already said “you are worthwhile because I love you, because Jesus saved you and because you are part of the body of Christ.”
So, no, it’s not a great idea to judge yourself.
But that doesn’t mean you can never think about how you look. In fact, possibly opposite to a lot of people, I think it’s quite a smart idea to think about it.
Does your outside reflect your inside?
Checking out your ‘outside’ can give you a whole lot of information about what’s going on inside for you.
For example, if I was Katie, I’d be asking myself if there were deeper reasons that I struggled with my weight. Am I eating to make myself happy? To dull pain? To comfort myself? Or do I eat when I’m angry? And why am I angry, or sad, or needing comfort? What faulty patterns of thinking do I have that God needs to change? What hurts are there that I can bring to God to heal?
I’d be looking at my clothes and my hair. Why don’t I wear fashionable clothes? Is it because I think I’m ugly on the inside, or that no one would ever love me, or because I’ve been hurt or abused? Or is it because I just don’t know how to dress and I’m afraid to ask for help? Is there a bit of fear of other people underneath it all.
You don’t have to be fat or badly dressed to ask questions like this. Tanned, trendy girls (and boys) with piercings and hair extensions – or in fact, ordinary everyday normal bodies – can do it too. These three questions can get you going:
1) describe the way you dress and what you look like.
2) why do you dress that way?
3) what are the underlying reasons, thoughts or beliefs which affect the way you look?
From there, you can figure out if you need to talk to someone about some issues, or decide what it is you’d like to change and pray about it.
So, in summary, don’t judge other people. Let them work out their own stuff. And secondly, don’t judge yourself, but do start to work out your own stuff. You get a lot of information on what’s going on in your heart from what’s going on outside, on your body.