Plastic surgery is more popular now than ever before. Celebrities of all ages are going under the knife, and an increasing number of average Americans are doing the same. In a society where looks have become astronomically important, it’s no surprise this is going on. We are bombarded with images of picture-perfect models that unconsciously makes us feel that we have to look a certain way.
As Christians, we need to ask ourselves if getting cosmetic surgery is beneficial for our faith journey. Is this something God would approve of? What does the Bible say about changes in our appearance? This is a question that has troubled people of faith, but there are some clear reasons as to why getting plastic surgery should not be an option for Christians.
Vanity, Envy and Judgement
Looking in the mirror, you are bound to pick out things you don’t like about yourself. Maybe your nose is too big, you have flabby skin, or wrinkles across your forehead. These might drive you crazy and you feel the only option is to go under the knife. But as a Christian you have to ask yourself why you really want to. Is it because you envy the beautiful, young models you see on TV? Is it because you feel that you are judged constantly on your appearance? Do you have a deeper desire for vanity? If the answer is yes to any of these questions, the reasons you are choosing plastic surgery are not consistent with what God wants for His children.
From the words of the prophet Samuel, “People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” God knows the true motive in your heart as to why you want plastic surgery. He can see your true desires, and knows when the desire to get cosmetic surgery is for attention, pride or jealousy. When vanity motivates a person to undergo surgery, they have become their own idol. The Bible warns us not to be vain or conceited (Philippians 2:3-4) and not to draw attention to ourselves by the way we look (1 Timothy 2:9).
This is brought up again in 1 Peter 3:3-4, specifically telling women, “Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.” God wants us to spend time not on our outward appearance, but instead working on our personal faith journey and our relationship with Him.
A follower of Christ needs to surrender their perceived right to judge both themselves and others. The pressure to look perfect is stronger than ever, and allows us to condemn people for not looking a certain way. Beauty should be embraced as an encompassing entity, including spiritual, mental, emotional and physical beauty. Only Christ knows the true intentions in our heart, and only God can judge people for their actions.
Money and Luxury
As Christians, we have to admit and understand that plastic surgery is a luxury that is not affordable or accessible to a huge range of people. Christians in America and all over the world would never be able to gain this type of procedure.
If you believe that plastic surgery can be justified by saying “I want to look my best for the Lord,” what does that say about your perception of God’s kingdom? When you believe that plastic surgery is a way to look your best for God, it creates the belief that God demands only the best, expensive procedures and wouldn’t accept anything less. There becomes a notion that God only will bring the “best of the best” or most beautiful people into His kingdom.
Plastic surgery favors the wealthy over the poor, which is something that is abolished against in scripture (James 2:1-13). Jesus, when preaching the Gospel, stated clearly that the kingdom of God is for everyone – the poor, the rich, the fat, the thin, the weak and the strong. By not recognizing that plastic surgery is a costly luxury, Christians run the risk of marginalizing the Christians that cannot afford it.
In addition, we have to ask ourselves is spending the money on plastic surgery is wise. What other ways could you use that chunk of change? The Bible tells us that we need to use wisely the money that God has entrusted to us (Proverbs 11:24-25, Luke 16:10-12). If you have a family with future goals, major consideration should be taken because the expense of plastic surgery should never come before the needs of the family. Blowing the money on changes in appearance would not be something wise.
Our Bodies Tell a Story
Over the years, we put our bodies through times of happiness and trial. It’s amazing what the human body can do, such as mothers giving birth. Our bodies help tell the stories of the journey we had in life. This is strongly evident in the scars of Jesus Christ. The marks that were put on His resurrected body helped us to identify Him and show what He gave to us. The body of our Savior tells the story of where He has been and what His experiences were, so that we could be able to come together as Christians in love and friendship.
By society’s standards, these scars on our bodies need to be eliminated. But what part of your story would you be taking away? Your face shows laugh lines from years of happiness, and the bags under your eyes show the hours you spent bonding with your children. The extra weight on your tummy tells the story of the beautiful children you have and the C-section scars show what you went through to bring them to this world. These are part of what makes you, you!
God wants us to love ourselves for who we are and how we were made. There are women out there that are struggling to accept the notions that “God doesn’t make mistakes” or that we are all “fearfully and wonderfully made.” One important thing to know is that you are not alone. Christians everywhere are having a hard time accepting themselves and recognizing their own beauty. We can bring these concerns and worry and cast them on God.
Choosing to voluntarily receive cosmetic plastic surgery as a way to become more beautiful is typically not the Will of God. He made each of us to be unique, special and beautiful in our own specific ways. Choosing to change that due to vanity and jealously is allowing the false gods of society to win. If you are struggling with self-esteem, look to other Christian women for help.