I. THE OUTSIDE: DEFINED
It is not a difficult task to define the outside. The outside is the easy part. When you encounter an individual, you are first introduced to their outside. With a glance, you quickly determine many aspects of the individual. For instance, the gender of the individual is usually easily distinguishable. There are cases that are more difficult than others are. I will address these later. Just the same, you can determine male or female and instantly you have stored in your memory bank, called the mind, many things that you find to be distinctly male or female.
Much of what continues after this point will be determined by this first analysis. Obviously, we determine the events of the encounter based on many other factors. An estimate of age is made. Again, this evaluation is based on what you have already learned in this life about how people are affected by aging both physically and emotionally. There are some methods of man that can cover up this reality, and some do not show aging as explicitly as do others. Still we make a judgment based on the outside evidence that we gain by visual inspection and mental connections.
Our conversation, if one develops, will be based on the analyses that have already occurred in the brief moment of encounter. Other factors continue to be determined by the outward appearance such as the socio-economic level of this individual. Are they dressed in the latest fashions, or some hand-me-downs? Are they suited for office work, or is this individual attired for blue-collar labor? A rough outward appearance may be deceiving. Not everyone dresses according to financial ability, but many factors determine an individual’s choice of dress. Just the same, you form opinions based on what you see in this encounter even if your visual analysis fails you.
When evaluating the outside, we have likes and dislikes, better known as prejudices that are at work during each encounter with the outside. Don't say you are not prejudice in these matters. Everyone has preferences and we often discriminate against those who do not follow our standards no matter how outlandish they may be. For example, tall people appear domineering and are often perceived as being more "powerful." In actuality, many leaders and successful people (not all) are taller. Short people on the other hand, are sometimes viewed as inferior. Haven't you heard the song, "Nobody Likes Short People"? From these perspectives, we see the outside, and our opinion is continuing to be formed.
Beauty is a major factor contributing to our interaction with the outside. Of course, beauty is defined differently from culture to culture and from time to time. Our idea of beauty for the female has gone through changes during the last century. Beautiful women were allowed to be plump during the era of Marilyn Monroe. Then there was a drastic shift to the very thin. It was during this time that we started to see anorexia raise its ugly head. Females starved themselves to be considered among the beautiful. In our current thinking, slim is still beautiful, but the emphasis is on a well-toned, muscular body. Curves are still good, but put a little muscle in the picture to make it beautiful.
Among males, beauty has not always been the most important thing. Finance, intellect, and a sound job or profession speaks loudly. Trends are shifting, but this has held steady for many decades, if not centuries. The focus on a muscular physique is prevalent among males as well. There are fitness centers and sports centers vying for your monthly fee of being well fit and among the preferred bodies of the world. Muscles will get you on a poster whether you are male or female.
Within the framework of beauty, there are those who feel we must add to, or take away from, the body to improve its beauty. Men and women, it seems, are more dissatisfied than ever before with what God has given them at birth such as color of skin, color of hair, and the list goes on. We have many Caucasians who are not satisfied with their white skin so they spend hours in the sunshine and/or dollars in a tanning bed to alter the color of their skin toward the darker side of skin color. The risk of skin cancer by too much exposure to the sun or the danger of the tanning bed lights doesn't seem to detour them. They want to change their looks and the cost or potential dangers that exist in doing so do not seem to concern them.
We have body wraps and liposuction to reduce unwanted fat, dyes to turn blondes into brunettes and brunettes into blondes. You can even buy colored contacts to change your eye color to match your outfit for a particular day if you would like.
And then there is piercing. If you can stick a pin through it, they will. Metal balls sticking out of the eyebrows, belly rings, and others piercing not fit to mention are considered fashionable among the youth of today. A hole in the tongue filled with a metal bar with metal balls on each end is a fad that is sweeping through the so-called Generation Xers. The swelling of the tongue and potential danger of infection doesn't seem to be a factor. I’ve seen teenagers holding ice on their swollen tongues yet they testify how “cool” it is to pierce the tongue. Earrings alone have become boring to today's younger generation, especially just one pair. You must now line the ear from top to bottom with several pieces of metal to be in fashion.
Basically, you can cut out, put in, put on, cover up, paint over, and change the color of, anything you want if you have the money. Businesses that offer such services are making a fortune on the dissatisfaction of human beings that will not accept the natural body that God has given them.
We are still considering the outside and what it is. Well, the outside is that part that is seen and viewed by all that have functioning visual sense. As well as that which is heard and listened to by all that have a functioning auditory sense. It includes dressing habits, hair grooming styles, and the addition of any object or condition to the body. As well, the outside includes the outward actions that are clearly visible and easy to distinguish. It does not include inward thought, but does include outward speech. It does not include the inward feelings of love and hate, but does include the outward expression of love by actions attributed to love or hate by actions attributed to hatred. Don’t you agree? The outside is the easy part.
In the following pages, I will attempt to discuss the portion of the outside that is visual. It is my desire to present a discussion based on Scriptures as well as logic and experience. I will adhere to the tenets that Scripture is the ultimate source of knowing God's will and superior to all logic or experience. If it is scriptural, but doesn't seem logical, it is accepted as truth without the need to be justified by logic. If my experience tends to differ from the clearly written Word, then my experience is wrong. Therefore, it is I who must change and not the Word for it is "forever settled in Heaven."