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What Is Real?

"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight."1

King Duncan of shared how his pastor told about a young female soldier who wrote home to her parents about a young man she was attracted to. "Of course," she said, "since we are not allowed to wear makeup, he has no idea how I really look."


It's incredible, at least in the Western world, how much value we place on physical beauty. But as we all know, outward beauty has little to do with the character of the person or whether they are real or not.

In the wonderful children's story, "The Velveteen Rabbit," by Margery Williams, the Rabbit asked the old Skin Horse the baffling question, "What is real?" To the stuffed rabbit, according to the boasting of the other toys, being real had something to do with being impressive and captivating.

But as the wise Skin Horse answered, "Real isn't how you are made. It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real, you don't mind being hurt."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

Need I say more?

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to become real and beautiful on the inside, knowing that these are of great worth to you. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

1. 1 Peter 3:3-4 (NIV).


All articles on this website are written by
Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise stated.