Beautiful, Attractive, Valuable

Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them Genesis 1:26

Dustin Hoffman, perhaps best known by you for his role in Kung Fu Panda as the voice of Shifu, starred in another interesting film in 1982. Eleven years before Robin Williams played the role of a woman in “Mrs. Doubtfire”, Dustin Hoffman did the same thing in his movie “Tootsie”. The movie sprang out of a question raised to Dustin Hoffman by his good friend Murray Schisgal who was the screenplay writer for “Tootsie”. Murray asked Dustin how he would be different if he were born a woman. He wasn’t so much asking what it would feel like to be a woman. He was asking: “If you were born a woman, how would you be different?” That question sparked the creation of the movie “Tootsie”. Dustin went to Columbia Pictures and insisted that they spend the money to do a make-up test. Unless he could walk down the streets of New York as a believable woman (not just a man playing dress up), he would not do the movie. Columbia Pictures consented to pay for the make-up test. When he saw himself on screen “he was shocked that he was not more attractive.” He said, “now you have me looking like a woman, make me a beautiful woman. I thought I should be beautiful. If I was going to be a woman, I should be as beautiful as possible.” They replied, “That’s as good as it gets. That’s as beautiful as we can get you.” That experience caused a light to go off in Dustin Hoffman’s head and heart. He went home to his wife and wept. His wife wondered why he was so upset. He said, “I have to make this picture..and I think I am an interesting woman when I look at myself on screen and I know that if I met myself at a party, I know that I would never talk to that character because she doesn’t fulfill physically the demands that we’re brought up to think women have to have in order for us to [take interest] in them.” His wife said, “What are you saying?” He replied, “There are too many interesting women I have not had the experience to know in this life because I have been brainwashed.” Though everyone who has seen “Tootsie” thought it was a comedy, Dustin Hoffman said: “That was never a comedy for me.”

How many of us are just like Dustin Hoffman? How many of us have been brainwashed about what makes a woman beautiful, interesting and attractive? How many of us are buying the lies that our culture, music, billboards, magazines, and movies are selling? Too many of us believe beauty is only skin deep. The God who made us in His image and likeness says something altogether different. Psalm 139 says: “[God] knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Our value does not come from our goodness or creativity, our talents or abilities, our accomplishments or achievements. These are characteristics and blessings given to us by God. Our value and our beauty are determined not so much by who we are but by whose we are. As David said in Psalm 8, God has made us a little lower than Himself and crowned us with glory and honor. One of the most amazing conversations in all of history and the Bible is recorded for us in Genesis 1:26. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit conversed together before the creation of mankind. They said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” As C.S. Lewis said in The Weight of Glory, “There are no ordinary people.” Whenever you doubt your beauty and value, look at the cross of Christ and remember how valuable you are to God. As Paul says in Romans 5: “For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”