«But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared . . . He saved us» (Titus 3:4,5).
In a presentation about intercultural mission, a well-known speaker talked about the existence of a tribe she had visited. In order to talk with the village people, she asked to be taken to see the most beautiful woman in the tribe. Without hesitation and in one accord, the women pointed toward the hut of that woman. When she got near, the doctor discovered it was far from the usual ideals of beauty but, without saying a word, she greeted the woman who wore a radiant smile and received her with love and kindness. The women explained to her that she was the most beautiful woman in the tribe, the kindest of all.
It is interesting that in a world where outer beauty is what is often most exalted, with stereotypes marked by fashion magazines and the film industry, there are still places where inner beauty is what is considered truly special.
In one of South Africa’s provinces, a tribe has a beautiful greeting. It consists of a single word, but it encompasses a very broad and deep meaning. Sawubona, in Zulu, means «I see you, you are important to me, and I value you. »
When people in this community do an inappropriate or offensive act, the entire village surrounds them and, for two days, greet them in this way; remind them of their good deeds, their virtues, their successes, and their qualities. The answer to this greeting is shikoba, which means «I am relieved to know that I exist for you. »
How often do we show this type of kindness? How often do we stop to make the other feel important and valuable? How often do we feed vanity— ours and that of others—by filling images with «Likes» that are not necessarily an example of beauty? How often do we surround with love those people who make mistakes and hurt us? Can we be pointed to as the most beautiful people according to the standard of that tribe?
«Walk continually in the light of God. Meditate day and night upon His character. Then you will see His beauty and rejoice in His goodness. Your heart will glow with a sense of His love. You will be uplifted as if borne by everlasting arms» (The Ministry of Healing, ch. 43, p. 514).
We will look like what we look at. Let us get our eyes accustomed to looking with the standard of beauty set by the Creator.