In another day, this tree will be in full bloom. It is quite possibly one of the most beautiful of the trees that flower. That is until you get within several feet of it. The blooms on this variety of pear tree smell horrible. Not just mildly annoying, but how-quickly-can-I-get-away-from-this-smell terrible. As beautiful as the blooms are, I refuse to plant one in my yard because I can’t stand the stench that comes with those blooms.
Your kids need to learn the same principle applies to people. Someone who is absolutely beautiful, can have such a mean spiteful personality they no longer seem pretty. Conversely, someone the world might call unattractive can have the most loving, sweet spirit and begin to look beautiful as we get to know who they are on the inside.
You can create a fun family devotional focusing on the principle of outward versus inward beauty. Before you start, borrow some books from the library with lots of pictures of people in them. You may also want to think of places you can walk or explore that may have examples of things whose outer appearance and inner “beauty” don’t necessarily match. A farmer’s market or grocery store will probably have plenty of examples.
Gather your children and hand them the books from the library and ask them which people are beautiful to them. Ask them why they chose some people and not others. Share with them the story of Absalom (2 Samuel chapters 15-18). Point out Absalom was quite proud of his good looks. Ask your kids what many of the people thought about Absalom because of his good looks.
Explain that although Absalom had outer beauty, his heart was cold, angry, proud and quite ruthless. Have older children share what verses they think point out that Absalom’s outer beauty did not match his inner beauty. Share verses like I Peter 3:3-4, Proverbs 31:30, Psalm 34:5 and others which point out what godly beauty on the “inside” looks like.
Then go on your field trip. Have your kids find things whose outer and inner beauty match or don’t match. Perhaps a piece of fruit that looks ugly, but tastes great. Or a vegetable that looks beautiful, but they refuse to eat because they don’t like the taste. Don’t forget to have them find things that are beautiful on the inside and outside. It is very important your kids understand – especially if they are attractive – that they can and should be beautiful on the inside, too.
When you have found lots of examples and discussed them. Find a spot to rest and ask your kids to think of ways they can work on becoming more beautiful on the inside. If they are having trouble, you might want to give them a couple of examples to get them started. Explain that while there is nothing wrong with taking care of the outer beauty God gave them, what is most important to God is that their hearts are beautiful.
Family devotionals take a little extra time and effort. Going the extra mile to make them a bit of an adventure takes even more work perhaps, but I am pretty sure your kids won’t easily forget this lesson – even if they sometimes have a hard time accepting the truth of it.