Wednesday, January 14, 2009

True Beauty

My wife and I caught the premiere episode of the ABC reality show, True Beauty. Let me say first off that nothing about the beauty they portray is "true." And I am not sure that deceiving these contestants who believe that they are competing in a reality show to find the most beautiful person is in itself beautiful. For those who don't know the premise, the show judges people openly on physical beauty, but secretly they stage situations that supposedly allow the judges to make decisions about their "inner beauty." Three people who have no real training (that I know of) in any sort of ethical studies only in the beauty/fashion world, and their own notions of right and wrong behavior might not be the best ones to decide who acting the most beautifully...

At any rate, at the end of the show, the contestant who is eliminated is shown why the judges made the decision that they did. They brought the woman in front of a television screen and showed her the footage of all the places where she failed. She glanced through private medical files of her opponents, threw a fit when she found out she was up for elimination, left a person juggling several trays of coffee cups standing at a door after she arrived at the scene (the situation was after all contrived), walked around him, opened the door and entered the building. Her claim as she is shown these clips is something along the line of "I know I am a good person. I have a big heart." She said that she was "probably wrong" for looking through those medical files. Time and again, when faced with clips that made her look terrible (and some of the editing does in fact lead me to believe it might not have been as bad as she looked--there was something about the coffee guy scene that made me wonder) she falls back to her "You don't know me. I am good" stance.

And I wondered about the Law, how it convicts us from a standpoint outside of our thoughts, judgments, opinions and such about ourselves. In this post-modern worldview, we are stuck with thinking the only thing that matters is how we understand things. But God's Law is entirely objective. There is an absolute that comes and judges us. God's Law comes and kills any notion of us trusting in ourselves in any way. The Law kills. The funny thing though... judgment is precisely meant to convict us so that we might turn to Christ in hope. And Christ's judgment transforms us. Christ's judgment is a loving act that is meant to bring new life. Judgment does not just say to us "You are unworthy!" but is meant to change us to be what God desires.


shaketeachmd said...

Somehow, I feel like when my time for judgment comes, it will somehow look like the elimination round of a reality TV show. There I will be, standing and watching a secret video tape of my life (with much blushing and inaudible apologies), and I will know that without the Grace of Jesus, I would be booted off the island.

Brian Bennett said...

I guess though my point is that Christ's judgment is not about shaming us... certainly we will be convicted, being made aware of how we fall short. BUT Christ's judgment is actually an act of love, meant to bring about our transformation. Christ's judgment is that purifying word spoken against us which kills us, and yet raises us to new life. That is, the sinful fallen nature is burned away, and we are given new life. Pleasant? Probably not... in some ways I think it is like being torn down by a coach so that bad habits/form/mechanics can be gotten rid of and then build up the new.

Being torn down with the point of rebuilding is one thing, but too often judgment in this world does not work that way. Too often judgment is meant to punish and tear down without the building up.

But no matter, we can always turn away from Christ's judgment... but in faith we can trust that it is in fact Christ who judges us.