Clothes do not make the monk: What does the Bible say about our relationship to appearance?

The appearance of a person. If we are not careful, we are quick to judge on this single criterion! How not to stop at the first impression? Interview with Priscilla Hunziker, psychologist and image consultant.

Why is appearance so important in our society?

This has been the case in all civilizations because the habit says a lot about a person. It has always had two functions: the identification function (the nurse's white coat, the postman's costume, etc.) or the membership function (I can show by my style which religion, which circle society or which group I belong to).

Young people often take this approach. But if appearance strikes us, it's because sight is our most immediate sense. We see before hearing, smelling or tasting. This is why we also like beautiful cars, beautiful houses, etc.

Our appearance: what message (s) can it convey?

By our appearance, we can choose what we communicate about ourselves. The habit
is part of non-verbal communication. Through him, we recognize the financial ease of a person, whether he is environmentalist or rebellious and desperate.

By the way they dress, some people will try to convey who they are. For others, the garment will only serve to cover (protect from the cold). Everyone chooses to give it more or less importance.

How to overcome the first impression?

As a Christian, let us model our gaze on that of God. God's gaze does not stop at the surface. God can help us take this path. Even though our human nature prompts us to look at appearances, God can rid us of our fears and prejudices about what we see in others.

When you look someone in the eye, their appearance loses its importance. This is where the real encounter can take place.

What does the Bible tell us about our relationship to appearance?

Jesus is our best role model. In Matthew 22:16, the Pharisees themselves recognize that Jesus does not look at appearance and does not allow himself to be influenced. A very symbolic image in clothing: we hide what we do not want to show to others. But there is a communion with God when we stop hiding! The danger of appearance is showing that you are "clean" on the outside while hiding what you are inside.

When God asks Samuel to choose a new king from among the sons of Jesse, his first thought is to choose Eliab because he is tall. But God takes it up by saying:

“Don't pay attention to his appearance because I rejected him. Indeed, the Lord does not have the same eyes as man. Man looks at what strikes the eyes but the Lord looks at the heart. "(1 Sam. 16, 7)

Should we blame ourselves for wanting to look beautiful?

I believe that God himself loves the beautiful since he was not satisfied with creating a single flower or a single animal. In his Creator's eye, there is an artist's eye! When he finished his creation he said it was very good. For him, it was important that humans have a body. He didn't want us to be just spirits! Making yourself beautiful pays homage to God.

Let us be worthy without being proud, in recognition rather than in seduction. If we give appearance its rightful place, it will no longer be a problem.

Sandrine Roulette

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