Kindness

Proverbs 15:30 and Proverbs 16:24 stood out to me today during my reading time.  They are both regarding how to show kindness to others.

Proverbs 15:30 – A cheerful look brings joy to a heart; good news makes for good health.

Proverbs 16:24 – Kind words are like honey —sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.

Isn’t a smile contagious? Doesn’t it make us feel good?  I remember when I was growing up, and my mom would come to pick me up from school.  She would be sitting in the car waiting for me, and as soon as I saw her look at me I would automatically grin from ear to ear.  She would laugh at me, shake her head, and smile back.  After a long day at school (which I always seemed to hate), I loved knowing that I was going home with my mom.  Her being there to pick me up was such a blessing to me.  I was just so happy to see her and my face showed it!

Kind words and deeds are the same way.  It seeps into our souls and fills us with warmth.  It is healthy for our bodies.  We all know what stress, anxiety, strife, foul language, and sour faces can do to our souls.  I want to experience the sweet taste of honey in my mouth and use my words to bless others in the same way.  I will never understand our society’s compulsion to use raunchy and foul language.  It makes me feel icky and sad and is the direct opposite of how God wants us to speak.  It also reminds me of Proverbs 25:11 that says, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.”  That simile makes me smile.  It encourages me to choose my words wisely and make them express beauty.

My kids and I were leaving a store the other day, and I noticed that Devin was not right behind me.  He had stopped to hold the door open for a lady that was behind us.  That kind action made me smile, but the lady’s reaction was priceless.  She was talking to Devin and expressing how much she appreciated that and how that had made her day.  He asked me later why the lady had been so happy over that small gesture.  He didn’t see it as such a big deal…just something I had taught him to be courteous and do.  He got to see firsthand how kindness, no matter how trivial it may look or seem, has the power to uplift a soul.  Our words and actions are a testimony of what God has done for us in our lives.  Many times we are so busy that we forget to even look people in the eyes or acknowledge their existence.  These verses are a great reminder to love others, even if it is just a kind word or a big cheesy smile! 🙂

 

 

Modesty

In reading through Proverbs with my kids, there is so much wisdom to be gained and applied. As my kids are in and on the cusps of being teenagers, the topic of modesty certainly enters our conversations more frequently. Proverbs 11:22 states so poetically, “A beautiful woman who lacks discretion is like a gold ring in a pig’s snout.” Matthew Henry’s commentary summarizes it like this:
vs. 22. Beauty is abused by those who have not discretion or modesty with it. This is true of all bodily endowments.As Christians, I have noticed that the word modesty brings strong emotions sometimes. I think it has become taboo in the sense that we think it is judgmental or legalistic to encourage modesty. I mean, who wants to dictate what is modest to others, right? We all have our ideas about what that word means. I think if you read Scripture though, the term modesty, discretion, etc. is something that we are to be encouraging in other believers. There is a godly feminism that is admirable. Having wisdom is knowing how to be discreet. Being discreet means the following:

1.Careful and circumspect in one’s speech or actions, esp. to avoid causing offense or to gain an advantage.
2.Intentionally unobtrusive.

Seeing others’ bodily endowments, as Matthew Henry puts it, is uncomfortable for others and a distraction from our main purpose.  If you try to reveal your physical endowments during corporate worship, who is it that the human eyes and flesh of others may be dwelling on?  Does the way you conduct yourself through clothing choices and body language reflect the holy character of God? Is it obtrusive to the eyes of those around you who are trying to worship?  What is the purpose in finding the tightest shirt to show off our cleavage, or the lowest cut garments, or the daisy duke shorts? Is it necessary for us to see our young men’s underwear, backsides, and under arm hair in certain situations? I do not believe this is showing a grasp of discretion or modesty in the Biblical sense. Wisdom also knows when certain clothes are appropriate to certain situations and when they are not. Wisdom will allow us to go beyond wanting to fit in with fashion and knowing how to dress our body types in the most flattering ways. God is not asking us to wear parkas from head to toe or deny our beauty, but I think sometimes we abuse our beauty and the power it can have to gain attention, bolster pride, and edify ourselves over others and more importantly, Christ.

I do not want to be viewed by God as a pig with a gold snout, and I certainly want to guide my children in learning wisdom and discretion in presenting their beautiful selves to the watching world. I want us to edify Christ and other believers in how we present ourselves. Proverbs tells us that we CAN have wisdom if we seek it and ask God for it. Teaching these principles to our kids (and how to take instruction/correction) will go a long way in preventing the “clothing wars” with them.