The black-eyed Susans have a way of coming up just about anywhere—in the field, in the yard, up by the gate, around the bird feeders. I never know where one will shoot up during any given spring. A shallow ditch runs along the west side of my large riotous flower bed. This year that ditch was full of black-eyed Susans—even more than in the bed.
As the spring progressed, that ditch also became full of weeds and grass. I spent over an hour one morning cleaning it out. Along with it went some of those pretty, brown-centered, yellow flowers. I thought about it long and hard, but I knew this: those weeds would just get more and more entrenched and eventually choke out the flowers anyway. And even if they didn’t, the flowers would just call attention to the tall grass around them, and all anyone would think would be, “Ugh.” So I transplanted what I could back into the bed, hoping they would survive the rough treatment of having grass roots pulled out from among their own, and then just chopped out the rest along with all the weeds. It’s not like I didn’t have a plethora of them anyway. They are all over the property.
Which brings me to this: what we often think of as beauty can be completely overwhelmed by ugliness. Why can’t our young men see that a beautiful young girl is anything but beautiful when she acts like a trollop and dresses like a harlot? Why can’t a young woman see that a handsome young man spoils those good looks with the filthy words that come out of his mouth and the intemperate behavior of a drunk, or a lecher, or anything else he allows to control his life? Why don’t they understand that if they are only attracted by outward beauty, their values are as shallow as a drop of water on a hot griddle, and just as likely to evaporate? Maybe because we haven’t taught them any better.
Many years ago I stood in the receiving line at a wedding and heard a few feet away a woman who claimed to be a Christian saying, “He’s such a good looking young man. It’s a shame he couldn’t find someone prettier.” Never mind the young bride in question had a beautiful and loving character, she wasn’t pretty enough on the outside.
I have heard women getting excited over a new dress or a new pair of shoes and then bored about a conversion. I have seen men eagerly discussing cars or guns or sports, and turning away in apathy at a spiritual discussion. I have seen people happy to discuss their misfortunes to anyone who will listen, while ignoring their blessings. Do you think our children don’t see these examples?
We teach them what to care most about, and they follow our examples all through their lives. If I want my child to develop a deep relationship with God, then it’s time I had one myself.
Tell your children what true beauty is, and then show them. Make yourself beautiful with your good works, with your kind demeanor, with your loving spirit. If you don’t, they may never learn what constitutes true beauty until they are mired in a horrible relationship that eventually ruins their lives. The flowers in the ditch may be beautiful, but is that really where you want them to spend their lives?
Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman with no discretion, Prov 11:22.