08 September 2007

Christian Ladies and Gentlemen are Old Fashioned

A study of 1 Peter 3 (See below for my thoughts and study)

Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.

Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.

Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. For

"Whoever desires to love life
and see good days,
let him keep his tongue from evil
and his lips from speaking deceit;
let him turn away from evil and do good;
let him seek peace and pursue it.
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and his ears are open to their prayer.
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil."

L'Angelus, by Jean-Francois Millet

I find it quite interesting that the things which make a lady, or a gentleman, are the things which signify a follower of the Way of Christ, according to these Bible words. Think of it:

"subject to your own husbands" - she knows her role is not man's role; men and women are different

"they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct" - she doesn't need to nag or preach to get her point across, but behaves respectfully and keeps her behavior above suspicion

"Do not let your adorning be external..." - she doesn't dress so as to attract attention to her physical self, whether boldly or immodestly in any way

"let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit"- she focuses on presenting her inner self; she is calm and prepared so as not to be rattled, or lose her cool in any situation; she is confident in her life and her beliefs and so does not need to have a loud, controlling spirit

"which in God’s sight is very precious" - Being an "old fashioned lady", you see, is precious in God's sight. It does not save her and bring her to heaven, but it is the outward showing of something that is already in her heart.

"For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves" - she looks to the old ways for her example

"Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way" - Like the ladies, the gentlemen of Christ are not harsh ogres, nor are they like egalitarian business partners, thinking of them as men. They think, and live their lives showing outwardly that which is in their hearts, as they treat their wives with respect.

"showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel" - he shows that he sees her value and her preciousness, treating her as a special creation that he does not want to "break", as a big, old rough man in a china shop might break a precious vase because of his unawareness

"they are heirs with you of the grace of life" - he doesn't look down on her service as servitude to him, but sees a spiritual oneness

"all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind" - Ladies and Gentlemen do not fight and argue but work together to find solutions that will benefit; they seek the good of others and not themselves only; they love others and treat them as dear family; they are not harsh and rude, but they refine their heart until it is tender and gentle; they are not proud and haughty as a "newly rich" person might ascribe to be, but rather bear their riches in Christ - the blessings, the grace, the love, the wisdom of God, the responsibilities - with meekness and humility, as a servant to all

"Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless" - their speech and behavior does not harm others just because harm has been done; they do not seek to slander others, but rather to encourage them, maybe even to lead them to a better way

"to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing" - Being "old fashioned" in speech and behavior is not what we were called to, was it? Then why does Peter point out that this lifestyle of blessing others is how or why we obtain blessing? It seems to me that this Godly lifestyle is exactly what God called us to. To live in such a way as to be a blessing to others - not merely to live for ourselves as the moderns might want to live.

One dear Lady pointed out to me that some of what I write about in this little blog is not really "old fashioned," but is "Godly living." This modern society may look at our old fashioned notions of femininity, service, meekness and humility and sneer, telling us that we will never get anything in this life living that way. But, oh, how much more we will get. And there was apparently a time, sometime in the "old" days, when many people, true Christian or not, saw the value of living this lifestyle of being a blessing by our manners, lifestyle, speech and behavior.

As David wrote to the Jewish nation, in Psalm 34:12-15,

What man is there who desires life
and loves many days, that he may see good?
Keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from speaking deceit.
Turn away from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.

I am seeking to be an "old fashioned lady", if these things are what it means. Not a frivolous "lady of leisure" as some women of old days wanted to be, but a true lady, by definition and spirit. And, apparently, by the design and will of God.
Post a Comment