When I think of beauty, I think of flowers, nature, attractive people, things that bring to mind the goodness of God. I often have nice, warm-fuzzy feelings come over me. I mean, who doesn't like to be in the presence of beauty?
But ugliness? Well, that's another story. We often react to ugliness with mockery or disgust.
Thinking of ugliness reminds me of a woman who was particularly unattractive physically. She had the frizzy hair, two or three front teeth missing, eyes that resemble a chimp's, the face that only a mother could love. Well, maybe not even mom ...
Wow! That's a sore for sighted eyes! As my granddad would say, "DAAAYNNG!! This girl was dragged through the Ugly Forest ... and her face hit every tree!!" (And he meant it, too!) Or another remark would be, "Beauty may be skin deep, but ugliness goes all the way to the bone!" Or, "She's the kind of girl that no one would share secrets with ... not even beauty secrets!"
Ugliness is not limited to physical appearance. Truth be told, deep down in places we don't talk about at parties, we all have some ugliness in us. Things we don't want to expose to others. Things we want to keep hidden from even ourselves. Things that we'd hide from God, if we could.
In Psalm 139 King David prays, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you..." I don't know about you, but those statements make me squirm in my seat a bit. We can't hide our inner ugliness from God. And when we pray for God to reveal the ugliness we thought we had buried from ourselves, he'll exhume it, and there it is in front of us, in all its vileness, to disgust us once again.
But the words of David that come next bring me comfort: "And lead me along the path of everlasting life."
God cannot erase our past. Yet, He does not want us to remain in the mud and miry clay of our ugliness. He wants us to be cleaned up made beautiful again. But sweeping our dirt under the rug isn't enough. And God knows that we can't clean ourselves up on our own - we need help.
This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him.
This is what Jesus did: Jesus went through the ugliness of death by crucifixion, and took on the ugliness of our sins, so that our relationship with God could be restored - so that we could be rescued from the miry clay we've been stuck in - and made clean once more.
This is how God cleans us up: if we confess our sins to God, he can always be trusted to forgive us and take our sins away. Yes, we did all those ugly things that we tried to keep covered up. But when God forgives, he's dumps our sins - our ugliness - into the depths of the sea, and puts up a sign for us that says "No Fishing."
Hey, when God gets involved, we clean up real good, don't we?