This whole notion of looks is a rather ironic subject – I think anyway. There are some people who wish they were more attractive and hence popular. On the other hand there is another subset of people who find themselves vulnerable because of their looks – they find that they get too much of attention (especially wrong unwanted attention) and have to constantly fight to ward the “suitors” away. Despite their values and attempts to keep these people at bay, they still get the ‘bad name’ making them wonder whether good looks or attractiveness could be a ‘curse’.
Abraham knew his wife was beautiful and perceived danger on this account – that the Egyptians would kill him in order to have her. Thus he decided to introduce her as his sister – it wasn’t a lie as she was indeed his half sister. However he suppressed the fact that she was his wife on account of her beauty. Pharaoh took Sarah and as a result of his wrong choices (unknowingly yes but nonetheless) he and his household were inflicted with serious diseases. Nothing happened to Sarah and Abraham – in fact they were blessed materially through the process – they acquired animals and servants from Pharaoh.
Yet another similar scenario of Abraham introducing Sarah as his sist er took place – this time it was with King Abimelech instead of Pharaoh. When the LORD told the king that he was as good as dead, the kind declared his innocence. The LORD’s response was, “Yes, I know you did this with a clear conscience, and so I have kept you from sinning against me. That is why I did not let you touch her.” Why did Pharaoh get punished while Abimelech was kept from sinning? Did they both not approach Sarah because they thought of her as Abraham’s sister not wife? Could it be the underlying values that were in their hearts? I don’t know but I can only speculate that perhaps Pharaoh wouldn’t have minded either way and instantly took her? After all God does acknowledge Abimelech’s “clear conscience”!
History repeated itself in the next generation; Abraham’s son Isaac followed the foot steps of his father as Rebekah too was beautiful. Despite being Jewish, Esther found favour in the eyes of King Xerxes because of her beauty, became queen and was used to save her people.
Joseph was described as “well built and handsome” (Genesis 39:6). Potiphar’s wife noticed him and wanted him. Despite his refusal she persisted and finally – not getting what she wanted – twisted the situation to make him look like the bad one. He was thrown into prison. However, God used that situation too – it became yet another stepping stone to the position that God was taking him all along (although none of the “stops” along the way seemed that way!).
David saw Bathsheba was very beautiful and desired to have her at any cost despite him knowing she was married – it led him to a series of sins.
The list goes on… what we can see is that good looks have indeed caused lust and there was no condemnation or punishment from God to the bearer of the looks for being so.. In fact there have been blessings. Joseph was falsely accused for his good looks – he had done nothing to induce lust, he was simply “well built and handsome”. The one who lusted after him had to shift the blame to protect her reputation or even perhaps to wound the rejection.
God fashions different people right from the beginning even while in the mothers wombs… He has a purpose and plan for each person and He fashions each one according to that. Often people blame the attractive ones as being “loose” or immoral going to the extent of finding fault with their behaviour, dress code, facial expressions, emotions etc. Let’s be careful in passing judgment and helping the ones stirring trouble get away scott free.
Yes, without a doubt each person has to show discretion…
However, let us be careful and not simply assume the lust of another person is caused by the bearer of the good looks as we can see none of the examples above (Sarah, Esther, Joseph, Bathsheba) were mentioned to have done so. At the end of the day each person is held accountable in God’s eyes – we have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us… So there is no point in shifting blame in our lack of self control. Self control is a fruit of the spirit and will be increasingly evident as we increase in our relationship with God.
It’s easy for the people who have “succeeded” in these areas, who have had relatively sheltered lives – those who have been able to live in their comfort zones and not having been thrown into vulnerable situations – to judge the stumbling of those who have hadn’t been given that same walk of life… God sees the hearts not the appearances. He sees the heart cries, He knows the situations. God didn’t condemn Sarah when she was taken by Pharaoh did she? I wonder what really went on in her heart… Let’s be wary of putting people into moulds.
With looks can come false accusations or being the subject of lust on one side. However praise and favour can come from another. Do not be disheartened when faced with the former nor boast when experiencing the latter. God has a purpose through all of it.