Long ago there lived a beautiful young queen. Her face was as fair as a fresh white lily, and her eyes were dark and shining. Daily, she dressed herself in a fresh, clean and costly robe to accent her beauty. Wherever she went, she carried herself with much grace. It was a joy to behold her.
She was beautiful and knew it! She placed many mirrors in the palace so she could behold her own beauty wherever she went. This lovely queen never forgot her beauty and lived only to admire herself and be admired by others. She had very few friends because she wanted only to be with people whom she considered to be physically beautiful. Sad to say, when they were together they talked only about ways to keep their beauty.
One day the queen was overcome by a great fear. The terrible disease of smallpox began to sweep through her country, attacking the rich as well as the poor. The queen did not show sorrow for the mothers whose children were dying, or comfort her people who had lost their eyesight. She was concerned only that she would not fall victim to the terrible disease. She feared even leaving her palace to walk in her lovely gardens that surrounded the palace.
Yet one day, the queen was attacked by a terrible pain in her head and back. During the night she developed a high fever. Even though she realized that she had smallpox, she fell into a deep sleep and was no longer aware of her condition. Only the faithful slave girl, who tenderly nursed her, saw the change in the queen’s beauty. The pride of the queen’s heart and the centre of her life, was gone forever.
Later, the queen began slowly to recover. She continued to lie on her bed for many days without speaking or opening her eyes. As her strength gradually returned, no one dared to awaken her except to put food and drink to her lips. All feared the time when she would be fully awake almost as much as she feared the terrible disease.
One morning, she suddenly opened her eyes. Raising herself to sitting position, she asked for a mirror. Her personal slave gently replied: “My lady, you have no need for a mirror. If you are strong enough, we shall set your hair for you.”
The following day, she ordered a mirror to be brought to her. Her slave was afraid that her anger would bring back the fever. However, she handed her the mirror in silence. It was her favourite silver mirror surrounded with diamonds.
How can we picture that darkest moment? The pain in the queen’s heart was greater than the physical pain she endured during the illness. Nothing on earth could restore her face to its former beauty.
When the queen saw her scarred face, she flung the mirror on the marble floor, shattering it into a thousand pieces. With tears streaming down her face and her body shaking in grief, she ordered her slaves to smash every mirror in her palace. “I must forget or I can no longer live.” Then she cried and buried her face deeply in the pillows of her bed.
Poor queen! She could break all the mirrors and hide her face from herself. Yet she could not hide it from others. Her beautiful face was gone forever! Her few “friends” would not accept her. She was alone in her misery.
Learning From the Story
Better than a beautiful face is a beautiful heart. Also, worse than a scarred face is a scarred heart. For it is by the condition of one’s heart, not one’s face, that God Himself judges the beauty of any person. He would have you look carefully beyond the surface of your skin to know the condition of your heart. He sees it because He sees and knows all.
What scars the beauty of your heart? Sin, whose marks are cut upon your heart more deeply and more easily than any mark upon your face. Look into the mirror of God’s Holy Bible.
“People’s desires make them give in to immoral ways, filthy thoughts, and shameful deeds. They worship idols, practice witchcraft, hate others, and are hard to get along with. People become jealous, angry, and selfish. They not only argue and cause trouble, but they are envious. They get drunk, carry on at wild parties, and do evil things as well. I told you before, and I am telling you again: No one who does these things will share in the blessings of God’s kingdom.”1
“Since these people refuse even to think about God, he let their useless minds rule over them. … They gossip, say cruel things about others, and hate God. They are proud, conceited, and boastful, always thinking up new ways to do evil. These people don’t respect their parents. They are stupid, unreliable, and don’t have any love or pity for others. They know God has said that anyone who acts this way deserves to die. But they keep on doing evil things, and they even encourage others to do them.”2
Now, look into the mirror of your conscience. Do you see your failure to fully surrender to God? Do you truly love God and your neighbour? Jesus the Messiah declared the two greatest commandments are to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and with all your mind … and to love your neighbour as yourself.”3 Is your heart scarred by lies, deceit, jealousy, hatred, disobedience, bad temper, selfishness? These are all against God’s Word and your conscience. These ugly sins, as they come from your heart, show that sin has scarred the beauty of your heart. “Out of your heart come evil thoughts, murder, unfaithfulness in marriage, vulgar deeds, stealing, telling lies, and insulting others.”4 Does not even one of them take away the beauty of heart just as one ugly scar takes away from the face’s total beauty? Do these things reflect the condition of your heart?
You too, seeing your scarred heart, can throw the mirror to the ground like the queen in our story. Or, like her, you can try to hide it from others. But cannot people see it even upon your face, the fire in your eyes or in your uncaring expression? And again, even if you can hide it from others, does not God know the deepest parts of your heart, even better than yourself?
But why throw away God’s Word and your conscience? Rather, thank Him that He has helped you see your self as you really are. Yet even more, thank Him that He has provided you with a hope that can conquer your despair. Standing at the door of your heart is Jesus the Messiah, God’s physician for you. “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.”5
Whatever your shame or fear, dear friend, open the door of your heart to Jesus. Through Him, God is ready to forgive your sins, no matter how ugly they may be. Through His holiness, He can provide health to your heart no matter if it is badly scarred. Then you can live your new life with a heart clothed by the beauty of His holiness. His Holy Bible tells us that He makes people new through the Messiah. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”6
Read His Book to find out how you too, with cleansed heart, can reflect the beauty of being God’s new creation as you become God’s child, a citizen of His eternal kingdom.
To help you understand more about the Messiah and the Holy Bible, we are ready to send you study booklets – a Bible Correspondence Course.
Holy Bible, Book of Galatians 5:19-21, Contemporary English Version ↩
Holy Bible, Book of Romans 1:28-32, CEV ↩
Holy Bible, Book of Matthew 22:37,39, New International Version ↩
Holy Bible, Book of Matthew 15:19, CEV ↩
Holy Bible, Book of Ezekiel 36:26-27, TEV ↩
Holy Bible, Book of 2 Corinthians 5:17, NIV ↩