Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Quirks of the Fairer Sex Which Ought Not be So

My Dear Sisters,

My friend, Bria, has very kindly given me the opportunity to write several things to my sisters in Christ. I'm going to take this opportunity to affirm some things she's written, as well as submit several more points for your consideration.

It is my prayer that you will hear me speak as a brother, who cares about your well-being in Christ, not as some guy who wants to prove that he's right and you're wrong.

1. Bria quotes the Botkin sisters:

"Young men have told us time and time again: Girls really are the ones who set the tone for the interaction. Young men tend to unconsciously defer to what the young lady seems comfortable with".

This is very, very true. I have experienced it time and again: whether it ought to be this way or not, you young ladies "will" have a great impact on the level of our communication. If you are foolish and silly, we will be that way as well when around you. If you are mature and responsible with your speech, we'll mirror that. As I said, this isn't how it ought to be: we should all be proper and mature men and women, regardless of the behavior of the other person we're speaking with. But as a man, I can attest that what the Botkins wrote is true. Don't underestimate the power of your verbal attitude and communication.

2. Sisters, sarcasm is not attractive. It isn't endearing, it isn't alluring, it isn't cute. It's ugly. In this category, I include foolish jesting. Gals, let me be frank: it's just really hard for us guys to communicate with you when you're constantly "just joking," or "just kidding."

I personally am not really a sarcastic person, and even less of a "just-joking" person. Therefore, it's always a challenge when I am conversing with someone who is constantly joking and making jocular comments. It's tiring, because it feels like conversational whiplash.

The Bible gives us instruction all throughout Proverbs on the importance of handling our tongues wisely. Sarcasm is inherently negative and does not reflect godliness in the tongue. We all are to be gracious with our speech, and this forbids destructive sarcasm, as well as foolish jesting (Ephesians 5:4).

Sarcasm isn't gracious, isn't edifying, isn't glorifying to the Lord. It doesn't build anyone up. Let us "all" instead prayerfully work to apply Proverbs 31:26: "She opens her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness."

3. I could be wrong, but I think an idea prevalent among young ladies is: guys don't notice you all, so you have to look "cute" or act a certain way to get attention. Maybe you'll be at church, or perhaps a conference, but you'll stand there and observe (out of the corner of your eye, of course) all us guys bumble around like blind fellows, consumed with our football or movies, never noticing you in all your reformed, youthful splendor.

First, you're thinking the wrong way. In the first place, you shouldn't be worrying about whether or not we notice you; because if you are, you have the wrong priorities and focus (Matthew 6:33).

Second, it's not true that we don't notice you. We do. Trust me, I'm a guy. I would know. We definitely aren't blind. That said, I'll let you in on a little secret. You don't have to wear cute clothes. You don't have to have sassy glasses. You don't have to act flirty. You don't have to have a camera or a violin. And you "don't" have to have an hourglass figure.

(That said, this does "not" mean you can't dress fashionably. Please don't swing to an extreme and think I'm exhorting you to dress in sackcloth or be "frumpy"—that's "not" what I'm trying to convey. "Do" dress with excellence, as unto the Lord. We do love beauty and femininity.)

You know how to really be attractive? Be a godly woman. Take Proverbs 31 to heart. Take Titus 2 to heart:

"But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine…The aged women likewise, that they be in behavior as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed."

Have a gravity and sobriety to your demeanor that marks a mature woman and brings glory to your Heavenly Father and your earthly parents. Be sober. Be joyful, but not foolish. Be level-headed. Be chaste in dress and attitude. Be friendly. Have a handle on your tongue. (See points #1, #2, and #4.) Be a student of the Word. Love God. Love your father. Love your mother. Love your siblings—both biological *and* spiritual. Be humble. Be a hard worker, a servant. Love children. Be the one who's willing to go unnoticed to do a job nobody else wants to do.

"But let it [a woman's true beauty] be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price." — 1 Peter 3:4

This is truly beautiful. Forget the sassy glasses, forget the giggling over jokes. Forget looking "cute." Forget "Do they notice me, being all cute?"

Be a godly woman. It shines far greater than being a cute girl does.

4. I once had a friend, a brilliant young lady who studied theology and orthopraxy and theonomopraxy and fat books and great thinkers and everything that comes with it. She had her positions on things, and was unafraid to stand her ground very firmly on her convictions. But one of the greatest things about her is something I think we could use a great deal more of in the church today: humility.

Be willing to be wrong, sisters. (Hear me out.) Just because you think all we know about is shallow stuff (which isn't true—you really should come on over and join our conversations about politics and housekeeping!) it doesn't mean that it's true.

One of the greatest blessings to us young men is to have the other party (regardless of gender) open to other positions. Now, granted, we have to have that spirit as well, but it's happened to me before: I try to strike up a civil discussion about a this topic or that one, but am met with either opposition or dismissal.

It's really discouraging.

There are a few words that can change the situation quite dramatically: "I could be wrong." Or, "I'm still studying." Or, "What do you think?"

"I believe postmillennialism is biblical, but I could be wrong."

"I believe paedocommunion is more biblical than credocommunion, but I'm still studying."

"I think 'The Lord of the Rings' is one of the greatest works of fiction written yet. What do you think?"

This opens the drapes of the conversation, if you will, and lets in the possibility that there might be another valid position out there, as well as acknowledging that you haven't got it all figured out. (Here's a little secret: none of us have.) Subtle, but it goes a long way toward fostering unity.

Be willing to be wrong, and be willing to be corrected by your brothers in Christ.

(And likewise, we need to be willing to be corrected by you! Let's all be humble.)

There, dear sisters. I hope this post has been truly edifying to you, and that you'll prayerfully take my words to heart. Don't simply take them on their own merit, but test them against Scripture.

In Christ,
The Author

— The Author is an eldest child. He lives in a house in the contiguous forty-eight states, has eyes, and wears shoes when he goes abroad. He is, at the time of this writing, a Reforming Presbyterian (but still studying), drinks his coffee black, is extremely fed up with the lack of humility in "reformed" circles today, and thinks everyone should take copious notes in their bookses, yessss, precious.


Dolly Madison said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ashley said...

I just found this blog andI just wanted to say thank you for posting this. I really needed to here that.

NatureLover said...

I think adding "What do you think?" to conversations and listening openly to the responses is a much more honest and mature method of discussion than tacking ", but I could be wrong" or ",but I'm still studying" to every topic. The latter statements qualify the earlier statement weakening the earlier position. Also, those qualifying statements do not directly engage the other person nearly as much as a direct appeal for their input.

Christianna Hellwig said...

Excellent post! May we as young ladies strive not to always be looking for a young man's attentions.
A habit of which, I confess, I am often guilty.
Thank you.