Who deceived whom?

“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised” (Proverbs 31:30, ESV).

Linda had been a cheerleader, perky, petite and pretty. She was always surrounded by admirers; a myriad of boys would have been thrilled to have her just acknowledge them. She didn’t have to work hard at school, or on her personality. She had all she needed — pretty blue eyes and a personality as sweet as cotton candy, and perhaps as substantial.

Sarah had been the “plain Jane” in high school, quiet and competent. She rarely stood out in class, in fact worked at not standing out. But she buried her brown head in books and studied. By the time she graduated from college, she had exchanged the horn-rimmed glasses for contact lenses, but more importantly, she had begun a career in advertising, and had become an interesting person, with depth and keen perception.

Linda, however, struggled in college, for there were other girls as vivacious, and besides, the classes were harder, requiring self-discipline and effort. Linda had never worked hard at anything in life; till then had all come to her so easily.

So she dropped out of college, and did a series of temp jobs. By the time she was in her early thirties, she had gained a little weight, had creases in her eyes. Her high school beauty and charm had faded. Her shallow nature was exposed, but who had been fooled by it all?

Certainly several young men had been fooled, but, heartbreakingly, so had Linda been fooled. Her feathery beauty had fooled her into thinking that she wouldn’t need the virtues of hard work, or selflessness.

Charm definitely did deceive, but it was Linda who had been dazzled by it.

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