Grace and Beauty
Katherine TrefethenTHE WORTHY WOMAN OF Proverbs 31 had both grace and beauty. Yet, in verse 30, these qualities were said to be vain and deceitful. Is there a contradiction here? No. She was praised because she feared Jehovah. Her grace and beauty were the natural by-products of her devotion to God. They were not her goal in life. Neither were they a facade.
Grace involves the speech and actions of a person. Beauty usually refers to an attractive or pleasing physical appearance. Many women are beautiful to look at until they open their mouths. Then their beauty quickly fades as one hears crudeness, vulgarity, nagging, endless complaints, harshness, or just plain rudeness. The woman who has the "law of kindness" on her tongue, as the worthy woman did, will be polite to salesmen, workmen, bank tellers, people on the street, her husband, children and brothers and sisters in Christ. The New Testament treaches that we are to be kind and loving to one another. This involves behavior that includes good manners and thoughtfulness.
The physical attractiveness of a woman does not depend so much on money and bone structure as it does on self-respect and thoughtfulness of others. A woman needs to consider that she is showing love to her family by making herself appear pleasant and attractive to them. The woman who only combs her hair or puts on a dress for company is showing her family she really doesn't care about their feelings. The woman who arrives for worship looking as though she has escaped from a fire, or as though she were on "time out" from a basketball game, is showing God and her brethren that He and they are really not worth any kind of effort. The woman who constantly appears slovenly is a bad advertisement for Christianity and needs to grow in understanding of her own worth and in her thoughtfulness of others.
Finally, women who spend an inordinate amount of time and money on their bodies and clothing certainly do have their priorities confused, and their beauty would be vanity (1 Timothy 2:9). But, is is just as unsatisfactory to neglect one's appearance with the hope of appearing spiritually-minded as it is to rely on jewelry, clothing and makeup to give one a beautiful appearance. Either one is hypocrisy. A woman's true grace and beauty come from within - the result of a beautiful spirit responding in love to others.
If you have been a faithful Christian for a number of years, you may have noticed some changes in attitudes by many women professing to be Christians. I wonder if, perhaps, Proverbs 31 might not have been rewritten in their Bibles to read something like the following:
"A worthy woman who can find? For her price is far above rubies. Her husband investeth in her, and he shall have no lack of pain. She pusheth him all the days of her life. She seeks silk and wool and decorates with her hands. She likes the merchant's goods and brings her interior decorator from afar. She considers a field and buys and sells it; With the fruit of her lands she indulgeth herself and her family. She riseth while it is yet night and applieth her makeup and eye lashes. Her hairdo requireth an hour. She convinceth the church to write a check for the poor. She taketh a cassarole to the needy. She is not afraid of the snow, for ther household is clothed with L.L. Bean, Izod, London Fog and Pierre Cardin. Style and sexiness are her clothing, and she laugheth at the judgement to come. She openeth her mouth with sweet talk and flattery; And the law of manipulation is on her tongue. Her children rise up and call her. She deceiveth her husband into thinking she hath done worthily. Grace is pleasant and beauty is to be acquired at all costs. And a woman who attendeth most of the assemblies, she shall be praised.