What Lies Beneath

Jewelry has been fascinating people since the beginning of time. The Bible mentions gold, silver and gemstones as early as Genesis 2. There are various metals and gemstones used to create the decorative accessories, and one metal, in particular, emerges as the star among wearers: white gold. I find this fascinating because white gold is actually not white!

As gold comes out of the earth, it has its characteristic color of a bright reflective yellow. This is pure gold which is very soft and easily formed, or unformed. What gives it some strength is its mixture with other metals, called alloys, that make it stronger and more resistant to scratches or damage. Typical gold alloys contain nickel, copper, zinc or silver, to name a few. These mixtures are what cause the bright yellow of gold to come down to a lighter shade, or with the addition of copper, to turn pink. You can now infer that you cannot truly have “white gold”. It is simply a mix with mostly white or silver colored metal as its main alloy material, so that it appears sort of a pewter color, still having a tinge of yellow. To get the bright silver or “white” look, white gold is plated with a metal called rhodium. Perhaps you are one of the people who have been tricked into thinking there is such a thing as white gold. Don’t feel foolish, or alone!

White gold can be a metaphor for people. Sometimes what we see with our eyes is more perception than reality. Below the surface can be quite a mix that may be better or worse than what is seen. Social media can trick us into thinking things about people that may also be an illusion. For example: someone with pictures of their social life being fun and smiles and bright lights, may spend more time alone, in loungewear or work clothes, than we are led to think.  Famous people or influencers become what the camera lens portrays, instead of what they are really like when those lenses aren’t present.

In each case where one thing is imagined to be reality, but something entirely different actually exists, it can shatter our thinking in regard to the subject. I hope that I have not now ruined white gold for you. It is still gold, still quite valuable (especially now) and appeals to the majority of consumers – for today, anyway.

People are judged way too quickly by what is seen from the outside. We make comment to the fact that something is unacceptable or admirable about a person based on what we see. But how often are we shocked to learn that someone struggles mightily with something like an addiction, or an illness, or an emotional malady – perhaps even someone close to us – that shifts our thinking of them more toward disappointment, pity or sympathy. Or on the up-side, we are surprised to learn that someone has crazy  talent, material resources or connections – which shifts our thoughts of them more toward increased admiration, jealousy or posturing for closer position.

Why do our perceptions of people or places or things cause us to change the way we view them? Because we as humans are fickle beings that are generally drawn toward what we don’t have that society says is good, and we are put off by what is corporately determined to be unacceptable. There is One who is not so swayed, however. His name is Jesus.

I recently re-read the Bible story of the woman at the well. It is impossible for us to fully grab hold of the ways that Jesus shattered racial, gender and social barriers by speaking to this woman. That day’s viewpoint saw a lesser race and gender, with a socially unacceptable background and way of life, to boot. Not only did Jesus engage with her, but He loved her. REALLY loved her… in a purely platonic, beautiful, accepting way. Additionally, she was the first to whom He blatantly revealed that He was the Christ, the long-awaited Messiah! (John 4)

In the app series The Chosen, this Samaritan woman tells Jesus that she is rejected by everyone. His answer: “I know. But not by the Messiah.” He then lists her life status, but without judgement. He had already connected with her, and thus caused her to believe His sincerity.

The outsides of things may trick many, but Jesus sees the depths. He knows what the inward mix is, and what coats the outside.

The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart. I Sam 16:7

No matter what our depths are, none of it is perfect, and Jesus redeems it all. He makes paths in the wilderness and streams in the desert – whether these rough places are circumstances or our hearts, and whether they are above or below our surface. He lovingly waits for us to recognize His desire for relationship and ability to transform. He then makes our earthly aspirations appear dingy because of “the surpassing greatness of His power for all who believe.” Eph 1:19

Reverence for the Lord is pure, enduring forever. His judgements are true; they are righteous altogether. They are more desirable than gold, yes, even than much pure gold. Psalm 19:9-10.

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