Last year a girl with an eating disorder crossed our path here in Costa Rica. After she went home, we lost contact with her for a few months, until one day just recently one of our students asked if I had seen this girl’s Facebook page recently. I had not. I navigated to her page and gasped at the change in this girl. Eight months had aged her 20 years! When I knew her, she looked like a Barbie. But her obsessive food rules, over tanning, and excessive exercising were already a problem for her. Now, she looked like a leather covered skeleton.
One of our students who was looking over my shoulder at the time looked into my eyes with a horrified gaze. “Do you think that is a sin?” he asked me. “Isn’t our body the temple of the Holy Spirit?”
I pondered for a second. “Yes. Our body is the temple of the Lord. But some people make it an Idol instead,” I said. She became focused on having a perfect body and that’s what she did to her temple. She placed her own body image in a higher priority than relationships with others or her relationship with God. She found her self-worth in the gym instead of in Jesus. She was hard on herself and critical of others. She gloated over heavier women. She became her own idol.
The world has a twisted version of perfection, especially where women’s body image is concerned. It is not coincidence. Satan has a special hatred for women which started in the Garden of Eden. If he can get us to destroy our bodies, then we are just doing his job for him. Think about it, Women. Who controls the Fashion Industry? Gay men. This is why the body shape of a 10 year old boy is promoted as the perfect form and womanly curves are to be hated. We continue to listen to women-haters telling us that we aren’t perfect enough. In the process our Holy Temple becomes an Idol.
When my son was born, I held a scrawny, muscular baby in my hands and marveled. When my first daughter was born, I felt the difference in her body shape the second she came into this world. I felt her squishy bottom. I noticed the pleasing pads of fat along the back of her hips already. She was never plump, but she was definitely a girl. Boys and girls come out of the womb with differences that should be celebrated.
God gave us our bodies to be reverently cared for as Holy Temples, useful for his purposes. But when we elevate our ideals or our personal projection of beauty above our useful service to God, then we are sinning. Our bodies are to be Temples, not Idols.
Photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/tollieschmidt/3657519441/”>tollieschmidt</a> / <a href=”http://foter.com”>Foter.com</a> / <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>CC BY-NC-SA</a>