Blemishes. You know what they are. Everyone from the high to the low has had them. They are the bane of existence for some teenagers who are about to go to prom (I’ve never done that, but I’ve certainly had my fair share of acne in the past). And for certain there is no end to the litany of products that treat the many forms of blemishes one can have. You could practically start a small nation with the revenue that beauty companies make on products for the little buggers or discolorations that are a part of our existence.
Admittedly, most people aren’t so rude to the point where they would go out of their way to point out the nuisance on a nose, but I’m sure in our collective childish hearts we have done that more than once.
In all seriousness though — beauty is big business, figuratively and literally. You practically can’t look at a magazine without there being some tweaks from Photoshop. You can’t go anywhere without knowing that even you are looking at the prettiest or most handsome person in a room, mindful of your own looks, and flaws.
If outward imperfections can cause such an intense reactions in our peers and in us — why is it that REAL blemishes in our characters and actions very often receive a blind eye in comparison to the external ones? I mean… we deal with the consequences of having these inner issues on a constant basis… don’t we?
We don’t have fast-acting creams, solutions, and toners for the heart — literally speaking anyway. Doesn’t mean they can’t be dealt with though. UGH! It’s… just… so hard. Or is it???
To the runway, I now introduce to you the Prophet who could be an Italian model — MALACHI! That’s Ma-laa-chee! (Old church joke I grew up with). Actually his name was pronounced like this: Malachi (sourced from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malachi).
As I was thinking through metaphors and things to write about, I thought about the “Italian” prophet and saw that he had something to say about blemishes.
But cursed be the con-artist, which has in his flock a male, and promises, and sacrifices unto the Lord a blemished creature: for I am a great King, says the Lord of hosts, and my name is revered among the nations.Paraphrase of Mal 1:14 taken the KJV
Without getting into the politics of animal sacrifice here — this is the issue to know about this verse. In ancient Israel, animal sacrifices were necessary in the eyes of the Torah for the forgiveness of sins before God. The sacrifice had to be an actually sacrifice/loss to the repentant so that they would have a type of memorial in their mind — to not do the sin or misdeed again. The best and most expensive animal one could give up was an unblemished ram, goat, sheep, or dove.
What Malachi is harping on here is “How can you sacrifice low grade stuff to the Holy One when he has been so merciful to you? He deserves so much more from you!” For anyone who has a reverence for the love of Christ this attitude should make sense. He was outraged at the disrespect shown to God.
Have we not all one father? Has not one God created us? Why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, by profaning the covenant of our fathers?Malachi 2:10, AKJV
Yet… to they who repent and change their ways; who seek to pay it forward and bless others: he has this to say.
Bring y’all all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in my house, and test me now and see, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open to you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
And also, I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts.
And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightful land, saith the Lord of hosts.Mal 3:10-12, KJV (tweaked a bit for readability)
Very often, it has been noted that one way to get rid of persistent blemishes is to change what you eat; not only counting on solutions and creams to do the job. Likewise, I feel, if you desire to change that which comes out from the heart, learn to start within; then it will be much more sweet and real. A good heart is like a good garden. They both need to be tended too, and from the tending they become refined over time.
For you have possessed my reins: you have covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise you; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are your works; and that my soul knows right well. My substance was not hid from you, when I was made in secret, and curiously worked in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes did see my substance, yet being imperfect; and in your book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. How precious also are your thoughts to me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with you.Psalms 139:13-18, AKJV
In the battle against imperfections know this — God’s grace is stronger than any weakness you may have. His kindness is greater than any defensive meanness you can muster. His trust and faith in you is greater than any and all of the self-doubt you face. That is the character of the King of Heaven. That is the Creator’s heart towards you.
I pray you walk in strength today, and that you know clearly with any defects manifest; it is his grace and love that heals and changes the best.