“I tell women that they are beautiful as a form of manipulation”, my friend confesses to me this morning. “I don’t mean it, because it doesn’t matter to me, but I know it’s a form of control. I want to confess this to you, because Jesus has been showing me that as long as the body of Christ have issues with their earthly body, they will continue to struggle with the concept of how a church body should work” (slightly paraphrased, as I don’t remember the exact words).
Such truth hit me between the eyes. It is true that we use flattery and half truths to manipulate others. Women are especially vulnerable to the compliment of their appearance, I know I am. “You’ve lost weight, you look so good”, must be the most toxic compliment of all. It keeps us in that constant state of “if I could only lose a few pounds, people would like me more.”
This is absolute garbage.
A lie of manipulation.
And we’re all guilty of it.
Just admit it.
We use compliments to “make someone feel better about themselves” but in reality there is no truth based plum line. The society we live in has told us we need to look a certain way. We struggle, we pretend, and we starve ourselves…be it food, love, or healthy relationships. The insecurity we feel keeps us in a constant state of flux. And the enemy loves it!!
So, we take it to the next level. “We are all beautiful, because we are created in the image of God.” More garbage. Again, it’s appearance based. The word “beautiful” has been tainted by what the world dictates to us about beauty. Are we talking about the beauty of the soul, or the beauty of the skin? Think about it.
Back to the question, “how can the church understand what the healthy body of Christ looks like, when we don’t even have the right concept of what a healthy earthly body looks like?”. When it’s all about competition and manipulation, it just becomes a sick body.
It’s about appearance, not substance.
It’s about false relationships instead of vulnerability and honesty. It’s about pursuing the “image” of Christianity instead of the heart. We spend more time pursuing the visible manifestations of faith, instead of the foundational truths.
And it’s not healthy, and it’s not the truth.