I read with sadness a story about erstwhile singer/actress Heidi Montag. She admitted that she's "obsessed with plastic surgery" after undergoing 10 procedures in one day. Seriously? Only ten makes you obsessed?
The 23-year-old discussed the 10 procedures in a People cover story interview in the magazine's January 25 issue. "No one is perfect. But I am obsessed with plastic surgery and with maintaining my looks," she told People.
Montag shared these confusing statements with ABC's Good Morning America. "I think that I do look like myself, I just think that I'm a different, improved version of myself." Despite the plastic surgery, Montag insisted that her "main message is that beauty is really within." I would suggest that her actions suggest that she doesn't believe that at all.
"I'm in the limelight, I'm in a different industry, and I have to do things that are going to make me happy at the end of the day," she explained on the Good Morning America show.
Older fogeys like your humble rambler know that plastic surgery is the last thing that will make you happy at the end of the day. But our culture certainly sends that message. I wrote in an earlier article that a disproportionate number of women who have posed in Playboy magazine have died tragically before the age of 50. Automobile accidents, drug overdoses, homicides --- all have claimed the lives of Playmates. I came across a comment from a photographer for the magazine.
"It's sad how many girls we've lost," said Peter Gowland, who photographed a number of centerfolds for Playboy in the 1950s and 60s.
"It's a curse to be beautiful," Gowland said.
No, Mr.Gowland, it is a gift to be beautiful. The curse is young women being exploited for their beauty by self-centered men. The curse is believing that your significance and value is found in being a object of lust for selfish men. The curse is sin.
I know, I know. I sound like such an old fogey. I have no issues with beautiful women. I married one. But there is real danger for men and women to obsess on looks alone. Pornography has become a significant and real problem in our culture. It is a problem for far too many Christian men. When I was a young man you had to go to some seedy, disgusting place to get pornography. Today I am ten seconds or less away from the whatever I want to download. In the interest of full disclosure I was a regular consumer of the aforementioned magazine many years ago. I regret every cent I spent and every moment I invested in devaluing those women. As men who are serious about following Jesus we must hold one another accountable to not contribute to this demeaning industry. I bought the rationalization for awhile that this magazine was "classier" and had "good articles". What a load of bovine excrement that argument was in retrospect. I know that many women see no issue in being a "model" for these magazines. That doesn't change my responsibility to view them as souls created in the image of God for His Glory and not objects for my desires.
Jesus knew how men are wired. He knew that we cannot play with the fire of lust without eventually getting burned. Countless marriages have been ruined by this pernicious industry. Intimacy has been impacted because of unrealistic expectations. Countless women have been exploited and damaged. And that brings us back to the real curse. Sin.
Let's call it by it's name.
There is a cure. Paul prescribes the cure to this curse in his letter to the church at Rome.
When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. 8 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God's sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God's condemnation. For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.
No, it is not a curse to be beautiful. Or smart. Or talented. Or athletic. It is a curse to define yourself only by a temporal asset. You were created to be in fellowship with your Creator. Find that relationship and then beauty, intelligence, and talents become gifts to be used for God's glory. Let's review Paul's incredible claim from above.
So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.
Sin is the curse. You can check out the cure here.
Dave Burchett is an Emmy Award winning television sports director, author, and Christian speaker. He is the author of When Bad Christians Happen to Good People and Bring'em Back Alive: A Healing Plan for those Wounded by the Church. You can reply by linking through daveburchett.com.