1. Have you in your life found anything that you would describe as beautiful?
Yeah, my wife, literally! I also think, though, that beauty is all around us. We just have to take time to see it and enjoy it because life goes very quickly as we attend to our daily obligations. To actually see beauty you have to look at it reflectively. Beauty demands some admiration.
For example, I think my compound is very beautiful and I enjoy it, but I sometimes get so busy I don’t know I live here! It is not until I take time off and sit on the porch that I go, “oh I live in a beautiful place!” but you see, I have to stop to see the beauty.
2. What is it about your wife that made you come to the conclusion that she is beautiful?
It is a multiplicity of things. Beauty has to be multidimensional. If it is one dimensional, if there is only one face to it, it turns out like a painting of a vehicle that looks so real it makes you say, “oh wow, that is a cool car!” But when you get closer you say “oh no, that is just a painting!”.
The reason for your disappointment with the painting is that you expected more of it than what you first saw. And if beauty is like that (one dimensional) it disappoints because it draws to itself, but it can’t sustain.
For Debbie, I think she is a very attractive lady, not just physically, but the things that make her beautiful are her composure, her kindness, her sense of order, her love of God. And when I saw who she was despite her difficult background, it meant that it was a choice of her will to be beautiful; she wasn’t just going with the crowd.
3. There is only reference of inner beauty in the Bible about women in 1 Peter 3; do you think there is anything like inner beauty in men? Is it even necessary for a man to possess inner beauty?
I think you are asking the wrong guy because I am sometimes like “a bull in a china closet”. You know there are men who are so organised, very proper, who always say the right thing and I am the opposite.
I think we men can bring order but not the same way women do. I think there is a beauty of power and emotion that men can have that women do not possess. I think our gifts are best used when we use power and our ideas to serve, especially our families because I think that is where men learn to serve.
You know, the Bible says a pastor or elder has to be a husband of one wife and have his house in order. It is a general statement and very broad, but in essence it is saying you have to learn from A and B before you can serve C which is the church. So what does a man learn when he is married? Not to be selfish and that is the biggest lesson at the start of any marriage. Another lesson is how to be in authority and use it for serving others. Then you can take that principle and apply it to the church.
How to use your power, your time and your skills to serve and provide for another person/people is what it means to grow from a boy to a man.
None of us knows how to be a father. When we have children we need to know God to know how to reflect HIS image as Father. We mirror God imperfectly of course, but in the process we learn how to be a good father.
So learning to give of ourselves unselfishly and use our authority to serve are the A and B which we then apply to C.
So yes, there is a beauty in what we do, but I think the beauty is different from that of the women. I wouldn’t necessarily call it beauty.
Paul uses the illustration of an aroma in I Corinthians 2:15 I think that is what men have. Men have a fragrance because of Christ. For some people it stinks and for some people it is good.
Now Paul is not saying that we shouldn’t stink because I think we should stink in some places sometimes. We should be like the aroma of death to some people because we are opposed to what they want to do.
4. So there is beauty in men?
Yes, and it is found in their inner strength. What do we admire about men? Their ability to run, their ability to carry heavy things, their ability to stick to things, their ability to hold on to things, their ability not to fall apart and not lose their heads when the rest have, and so much more.
I see those as points of admiration. Even if a man is physically weak but can hold to the right course even when it’s the harder course, you can’t help but admire him and say “there is a man!”
5. Can someone be beautiful inside and yet the beauty never finds its way out to manifest itself?
All I know is that whatever is inside always comes out. It is just like blood, though you have to first be pricked for it to come out. What comes out when things are hard is the real indication of what is inside us.
I remember one day as I was servicing my car, through my own carelessness, I put a big dent in it! I can still see myself standing beside the car and saying “God, why did you let this happen to your car?” At that point, in the midst of the problem, was I thankful and did I trust God? What came out of me was a complaint and it is often that way when troubles come. They allow us to see ourselves and sometimes we are surprised and don’t like what we see. That is an indicator that is there more that God needs to do in our life.
6. How can men work on their inner beauty to make it better?
You can build a house the way you want it, but you cannot build yourself the way you like. We need to let God build us the way He wants.
The Bible says, “as a man thinks in his heart so is he” and it also says, “out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks”.
What you put in will eventually come out. God’s Word is a great re-programmer; it sets the standards. And God’s Spirit convicts us and causes our nature, say anger, to subside because, God’s standard rises up and now you have a choice: to submit to His standard or go your own way. Before you knew Christ, you could only get angry, but now there is a standard, and God’s Spirit applies the standard to your situation.
It doesn’t alter the fact that you may get angry at times but when you do, you have a choice to make.
So I think reading God’s Word really helps in one’s process of becoming like Christ. Also, if you are struggling with something and haven’t quite beaten it, it helps having a couple of other guys you are accountable to. They can ask, “how are doing?” or “what’s been happening this week?” And when you blow it, you may need to go back to these guys and tell them “oh, I really messed it up” and sometimes you may need their help to put it all back together.
And for men I will say that one of the things God uses is humility. He says in His word that He resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. The ability to own up when you do things wrong is important. To say, “I am sorry” and ask for forgiveness instead of saying, “if you hadn’t said that, I wouldn’t have done that!” is humility.
Repentance and humility are tools God uses to change our hearts; they are painful tools, but they are supposed to be painful so we can take caution next time.
7. How best can KBC men outwardly express the beauty inside of them?
Let us start with the reasons, because reasons do motivate us in many ways. So what are your reasons? Do you want to be a better you, do you want people to say, “oh that guy has really got it together!” or do you want people to admire Jesus?
I think as Christians, our lives are supposed to reflect Jesus’ beauty which is even a higher standard than having people admire us.
If your motive is to reflect God’s beauty, God’s Justice, God’s anger at a given time or the Father’s heart, then you will see yourself as a conduit and not as a source.
If you start with yourself by saying “I want to be a better person” then you are the source and are just polishing your reputation.
As pipes though, we want to deliver the likeness of Christ to a dead and a dying world. This is the same desire we have in our close relationships: for our wives and for our children. But we cannot deliver the likeness of Christ unless we are connected to the Source. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I worry, and worry can lead to despair and hopelessness, or it can lead to God’s throne where you say, “okay Lord, I know you will provide”.
Like when I worry about providing for my daughter’s college education, I am reminded that I have lived 62 years by the grace of God, even my next breath is by the grace of God. So did God not know about my daughter’s education? Of course He knew! Did it take Him by surprise when the government said they would not continue their support? No, He knew. At that point, my fears begin disappearing. It doesn’t mean I deny my parental obligations. No, we do what we can. But it does mean I cast my cares and burdens upon Him and focus on God’s ability.
Even in love, how do we (men) love as Christ loved the church, how do we respond in a Godly way to abuse faced by others before our eyes? How you choose to respond will determine whether you are a conduit or a source.
I think we have a great role to play; we can bring the image of God to the world, in justice, truth, strength, and love; and that to me is masculine beauty.