What We Do With Beauty

Beauty is, well, beautiful. It’s also tremendously powerful.

As men, we need to appreciate it and value it properly.

Do we know how to do that?

How we answer that question says a lot about us as men.  And our answer will be influenced largely by how the question was answered by older men in our lives whom we watched and listened to in the formative years of boyhood into adolescence.

This is true for all forms of beauty. Did the men who lead us through our developing years know how celebrate natural beauty such as a brilliant sunset?  Did they value the artistry of good music? Were they able to be moved by good art or film? Did they savor good food or good friendship?

The question of what we do with beauty becomes all the more critical when we consider feminine beauty.

After all, women are made in the image of God, and as such carry something of His glorious beauty.

Recently, at an Intentional Warriors gathering we talked at length about how we learned to interact with feminine beauty. The answer from the majority of men in the room was “not well.”

One man grew up with a father who did not hide his frequent trips to so-called gentleman’s clubs, even making an outing of it with other men in the extended family — young and old. Still, to this day, he keeps a stash of porn.

Another said his father was a philanderer, well known for having many mistresses.

It’s no wonder both men have struggled with porn and lust, as well as in their actual romantic relationships with women. Women, they learned, were to be consumed for personal pleasure, the more the better.

Yet a different man said that his father sent mixed messages about romance and interacting with women to the point that he learned discomfort and embarrassment in relation to feminine beauty.

That these men wound up addicted to pornography comes as no surprise.

We are all drawn to beauty of various kinds.

Pornography is attractive for many reasons, not the least of which is that Eve’s beauty is breathtakingly powerful. God’s inexpressible beauty — muted, to be sure — is bestowed on women in a unique way. And her beauty,  as with all women, is much more than physical.

Women have beautiful souls.

And yet, even as it is tremendously powerful, feminine beauty cannot be the center of our world as men.  If we become like planets orbiting around the “sun” of feminine beauty, our lives become small and our real masculine identity is compromised.

More than that, orbiting around The Woman and her beauty is tantamount to worship, which is idolatry.  This too is not a proper appreciation or valuing of feminine beauty.

Our dilemma with feminine beauty is as old as the Garden of Eden, where Adam chose Eve over God (Gen. 2:16-3:6). Adam had been instructed about the two trees in the garden, but when the moment of Eve’s temptation came he failed her in his silence and then made a conscious decision to ignore what God had told him.

We must do something different with feminine beauty because it is powerful and essential. And it will wreck us if we make it the center of everything.

If we learn how to cherish it; if we learn how to affirm it in a healthy way; if we learn how to get our life from God, we will be able to enjoy beauty — especially feminine beauty — in a way that is, well, beautiful.


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