In a conversation I recently had with a friend (and writing mentor), I was asked to choose five values or qualities I desire or feel I have from a number of choices. The list included words like: cheerful, wisdom, truthfulness, humorous, flexible, inventive, creative, honest, etc.

As I slowly and thoughtfully reviewed the list under the watchful and discerning eye of my mentor, I came across a word which caught my attention. However, I decided to bypass on it thinking it may be a bit shallow or vain, and wasn’t sure if it was truly something I wanted.

I carefully proceeded down the list weighing each term as to its importance, implication and impact it can have. After a thorough review having only selected a few attributes, I had to go back to that one word which intrigued me enough to include in my list of qualities I would like to achieve.

That trait was attractiveness.

Given that “beauty” per se plays such a lofty role and has a somewhat “debatable” importance in our society, attractiveness is often a term reserved (only) to describe someone’s outward and physical appearance. Yet “authentic” attractiveness can serve a more significant purpose in our lives even in a spiritual way.

Many years ago, I had the opportunity to work in Chicago on a marketing campaign with a group of performers. All of them were very gifted and striking in appearance; however there was one who stood out above all of the rest with her talent and good looks. On the “exterior,” her physical beauty was quite stunning.

As we got acquainted (in strictly a professional manner), I found her to be very pleasant with a nice personality. On one occasion while we were leaving for a performance, she bumped her elbow on the van door and from that shell of a beautiful woman came some of the most vulgar and profane language I have ever heard from a female’s mouth. It was a barrage of “f-bombs” that could only be rivaled by the “shock and awe” I have seen in military conflicts.

It was like a veil of darkness had come over her reminiscent of a wicked villainess being exposed in a Disney classic. I was amazed at how my impression of her could change so quickly and dramatically by that one encounter. 

A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks (Luke 6:45).

Throughout that summer, I witnessed a number of similar outbursts and responses which caused her outward attractiveness to fade behind the foulness of her mouth. Those actions signaled a troubled heart possibly from the pressures and anxiety of always having to look and perform to other people’s standards.

Appearing physically attractive is often regarded as solely a female issue, yet many men are more consumed with their outward appearance (including the “things” they have) than on their honor and integrity, the condition of their heart, the well-being of their family or their walk with Jesus.

When I finally decided upon attractiveness as an attribute I would like to achieve, I wasn’t considering the physical nature of looking handsome, appearing wealthy or dressing stylishly, I reflected upon those who have an attractive quality and whom people gravitate to—the likes of Billy Graham, Steve Jobs, Mother Theresa, Tim Tebow, Donald Trump, Ronald Reagan, Warren Buffett, Jesus, etc.

Many of these individuals are not recognized for their physical attractiveness, yet I would imagine most of us would welcome the opportunity to glean wisdom and insight from any one of these people.