I do like the music of Billy Joel. He’s had some beautiful love songs that have remained popular with a lot of people down through the years. And one of them is the 1977 hit ‘Just the Way You Are‘. Do you remember that tune? It’s got a special piano line, very thoughtful lyric, and it became one of the most played love songs ever on commercial radio.
It was also Billy Joel’s gold single in the US, helping him win two Grammy Awards. And then years later, along comes the American singer Bruno Mars in 2010 with his song of the same title, ‘Just the Way You Are’. But it was a different song. It was very popular, too. A top 10 hit sold – over 12 million copies. It’s about a guy singing the praises of his beautiful girlfriend and how amazing he finds her to be. Great lyrics catchy tune.
“When I compliment her, she won’t believe me, and I think it’s so sad that she doesn’t see what I see.”
And throughout the song, he asks the question, Here’s an interesting question. Do I look all right? How many times do we worry about our appearance, how we look to others? Apparently, most men find self-esteem based on their accomplishments. What they achieve in life. Women are, in general terms, different. They find external validation, spending more time on their appearance and needing to hear praise from others.
Really, we are very shallow that we judge each other by our outward appearances, how we look. And that’s why the glossy magazines always show women who look attractive. You might remember a successful TV commercial campaign back in the 1990s, and it featured at the time the very popular tennis player Andre Agassi. And he declared his catchphrase ‘Image is everything’. Sadly, it took hold of his professional life and cost him dearly in the end.
But is it true that image is everything?
The Bible tells me you are fearfully and wonderfully made by God, and that God focuses not on our external appearance but on who we are deep inside.
So that means you are created in the image of God. And remember, God doesn’t make any junk and just like the snowflake, every person is unique. No two people are the same for you are God’s masterpiece. And when you look in the mirror, he wants you to know that you are unique to him, that he loves you, whether you look attractive or not. Another terrific verse in the Bible says this – The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart – that’s in 1 Samuel 16:7.
So the Lord told Samuel, “I’m not looking at their clothes or their looks. Whether they’re tall, short, I’m looking at their heart, their motives, their intent and character.” So God acknowledges the fact that man looks at the outward appearance and makes judgements based on that. But really, God’s ways are higher than our ways. It is safe to say that as humans we can be drawn to people because of the things they do. Often these things cause us to make an opinion about that person. Based on what we see outwardly now, I guess that’s normal behaviour.
The reason we do this is we can’t see what’s in their heart, so we go by what they present to us. While we do often form opinions about people’s actions, we really don’t have the right and we can’t judge a person’s heart or motives. Only God can do that. God himself said that people honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. That’s in Isaiah 29.
Thankfully, God is not like us. He not only sees what is done by a person, he also looks at what is in their heart. God doesn’t just look at everyone’s heart. He also looks at yours as well because he’s a personal God. You can take comfort that God knows your heart. Even if others misunderstand you or they may have a superficial view of you. You don’t need to hide from God. You can take that mask off, be real and honest before him.
In other words, tell God what is really in your heart because he knows what’s there anyway, you can’t hide from God. You think you can fool yourself, but you’re not fooling God. You can take comfort in knowing that he knows what’s in your heart. And yet, amazingly, he invites you to come before him anyway, no matter how you feel or what you’re going through. Tell God about it.
Our heavenly Father, today, I am so thankful that you take us just as we are. We don’t have to put on any pretense. You know exactly who we are, fault and all. Lord, As I make assessment of others, may I have that clearer understanding that it’s not just how they look but what’s in their heart as well. Help me, dear Lord, to understand that as I look at people, it’s not just what I see, but what’s in their heart that really matters. Amen.