A good hair day

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by Amy Reardon, Captain – 

I left the house today feeling almost smug because I was actually having a good hair day. (Those readers who know me understand how few and far between those days are.) On my agenda for the day was the important annual luncheon for the Salvation Army in King County, Washington. Significant members of the community and local celebrities always attend such an event, so it was a mighty fine day for my hair to look so good.

Before the luncheon began, I made a trip to the ladies’ room. As I stopped to wash my hands (and admire my hair in the mirror), I passed two young women who were also looking in the mirror. While tucking a wayward curl back into its preordained spot, I noticed that these women were, oddly enough, wearing sashes across their torsos.

Curiosity peaked, I focused in on the sashes. The sashes informed me that I was standing beside Miss Washington, and just to her right was Miss Teen Washington: two beauty queens and me before the same mirror. My eyes turned upward to their flawless faces and their perfectly coiffed hair, upon which they were mounting their tiaras. I felt like a gargoyle.

I went into the banquet room where I ran into my corps officer, Captain Rob Birks. I shared the incident with him and our friend, Major Lani Chamness. Once Rob recovered from his laughter, he said, “Come on, Amy, you must have won Best Musician at camp, or something like that.”

“Oh, wait!” I replied. “I’ve got something even better than that! I was Little Miss Grandview of 1976 at the Army’s camp in Georgia! I still have the tiara in my garage!”

“Well, then,” Lani chimed in, with a twinkle in her eye, “you’ve got a lot in common with those women.”

I mused over the absurdity of it all. Little Miss Grandview 1976 and the current Misses Washington. My “good hair day” juxtaposed with the elegance and youthful beauty of the two beauty queens. There had to be a life lesson in there somewhere…

And I think there is a lesson, if the reader will allow me to illustrate an important biblical truth with my silly little story.

When I thought I was having a good hair day, I wasn’t using a very high standard. It’s far more comfortable to keep the standard low. When we compare ourselves to other members of fallen humanity, we see ourselves as quite good. We look at our shining good deeds. We evaluate our motives as virtuous, though such an evaluation can be highly suspect. We pay our taxes and are kind to others. We even attend church. With this resume, a person might view himself as close to heroic! But the standard isn’t high enough.

My reality check came when I stood next to someone who was, if you will, “perfect.” Every hair in place. A bejeweled crown upon her head to proclaim to everyone that she was a cut above the rest of us. It was only when I stood next to this woman that I realized how base my standard was. Isaiah 64:6 says “our righteous deeds are like a filthy cloth” before God. Anything we do is inexpressibly substandard in light of his perfection.

I think a lot of people don’t realize their need for Christ because they never look into the face of perfection. They are too busy staring at their own gorgeous reflection. When they do look around them, it is to compare themselves to equally flawed, or even more flawed, people. It’s like that Twilight Zone episode where everyone has the face of a pig, and they don’t realize how ugly they truly are. Every human falls short of the mark, so I really look pretty good by comparison, right? At least, I look normal.

Even Christians can get spiritually smug. They fall into the comparison trap too, and find themselves rating pretty high when pitted against their neighbors. But that isn’t God’s standard. I Peter 1:15 and 16 reads this way: “Instead, as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in all your conduct; for it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’”

In other words, God wants us to turn our eyes toward the truly beautiful One, with the eternal crown upon his head, and model ourselves after him. He is the standard. He is the Beautiful King. (And, fortunately, he doesn’t care a bit about how your hair looks.)

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