To live an abundant life of peace, love, and joy we must connect with our world spiritually. And such connectedness occurs in and through people; the people God has chosen to put in our lives and around us. The abundant life is this: to truly enjoy the company of others. To do this we need to accept people unconditionally.
This seems impossible. How would we achieve this? Let’s start this way:
It’s a message we can never really hear enough of: the awareness and the will to appreciate the beauty all around us, especially in people. Appreciating the beauty in people is an internal and an external thing. Where people are concerned, there are four things we can appreciate: other people’s external and internal beauty, as well as our own external and internal beauty.
Other People’s External and Internal Beauty
It’s a natural for our humanity to pick and prod at another person’s personality, behaviours, and character. We clearly see the differences we don’t like. But this default human position is not the way to the abundant life. We need to take a U-turn.
God is made all people beautiful in their time. Externally each is adorned with bodily splendour; a symphony of billions of continuous biophysical, physiological, and psychological transactions at once. Our organisms are cities in their own right. How could we not see this beauty in another person—in the person we have struggled to forgive, for instance?
Then there is the internal beauty. They, like we, have been made in the image of God, as thinking, feeling, and acting persons of divine worth. Others, internally and externally, have been made in the same general blueprint. If our biology and experiences were of these people we would act pretty much as they do.
All people are beautiful—our task, interpersonally, is to find it within each other person.
Our External and Internal Beauty
We can’t truly appreciate other people’s external and internal beauty until we can appreciate our own. At this point we must appreciate our beauty; what we’re made of; the value that God places on us as individuals; the fact that we are living, breathing human beings with histories and futures.
Our external beauty is manifest in physical form, just like others’ is. We have been God-moulded and God-shaped. Not one of us is short on physical beauty, and no one has a world title on it.
Our internal beauty is magnificent. Our spirits are eternal, and therefore we cannot begin to contemplate the value that God has placed on us from before the time we were born.
All people are beautiful—our task, personally, is to find it within us.
Appreciating the beauty in people provides us joy in our relationships, and joy in our lives. The more we can see people, including ourselves, as God sees us the more we will be filled with joy projected toward love and peace.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.