I grew up, in many ways, the second generation of women in my family to be influenced by feminism. On that note, all I will say is that when the world defines who and what you are, you can bet your bottom dollar that no one will be better for it. On the contrary, when God defines you, that is, when your identity is found in Christ, whether you are a woman or a man, everyone will be better for it.
Having come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ later in life (I was 27) God had to undo much of what I’d been taught. It was hardly a concerted effort on my part but rather, in the early weeks of my conversion, with the aid of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God, my mind was washed and made new. The Word of God was like clear water pouring over and cleansing me from all the filth of the world.
As a new Christian filled with the Holy Spirit, and equipped with the Bible, it became obvious that much of the thinking that had become second nature to me was very much out of step with the way that God thinks. Whenever I reflect upon my salvation experience, it seems clear as day that the One who restored to me my dignity as a woman was God Himself. The One who taught me, and still teaches me what it is to be a woman is God. I don’t know that it happens to everyone like this but immediately after my salvation, there were clear outward evidences of inward change. I always say that my whole life was preparation for the day of my salvation. Suddenly I became aware of how my appearance effected others. I knew that wearing certain outfits would not bring glory to God or be helpful to others. My language changed. No sooner would the foul words roll off my lips that I would be grieved by the coarseness of my own expressions. Although I was familiar with the verse, “Your body is the temple of the Hoy Spirit” suddenly these words took on life! How could I be so reckless and careless with the place where God had taken residence? And now, under a new law, the law of love, I understood that there were unholy relationships in my life that needed to be swiftly cut off. That’s what the Word of God does. It teaches you how to live.
Now, I know that some people will say, “That’s just common sense.” Yes, it’s true. I can’t do anything but agree with that. The Word of God most certainly makes the simple wise, and I was a pretty simple girl. But this is the truth: While I didn’t grow up in the perfect home, I did grow up with some sense of right and wrong. And that’s the problem with sin. A little sin here and a little sin there and before you know it you have lost ground in areas you never thought possible. Now those things that used to embarrass you, or make you ashamed barely make you blush. The wages of sin is death. Make no mistake about it. That sin you think you can control in your life will not be satisfied until you are dead. You can spend all your strength trying to make peace with it but one way or the other it is going to overcome you and it is going to kill you. Do you dare think that you can resist it in your own strength? Only the gospel has the power to set the captive free. And set me free He did!
Now, 11 years later, God continues to teach me what it means to be a woman. The world is not my teacher, the Bible is. I filter the world and the culture through the Word of God. Never the other way around. True wisdom — that is, eternal wisdom, comes from the Word of God alone. This leads me to the purpose of my post. Lately, I have become aware of a growing incivility in our culture. From road rage to negative campaign ads, there is something toxic about the way we relate to one another. Words that come to mind when I think of the tenor in our society are: rude, sharp, contentious, spiteful, hateful, hurtful, cynical, proud. This is all the farthest thing from the spirit of Christ and from a biblical perspective it is an absolute recipe for national disaster.
To take this even a step further, I find it especially disturbing when women, who have been designed by God to be life givers, end up tearing down the very things they should be building up with speech that I can only describe as crass and uncouth. Proverbs 14:1 says, “The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.” If a woman has the ability to literally destroy things within the privacy of her own home, just imagine the damage that can be done when this principle is at work over an entire nation.
Proverbs 31:26 speaks of the “law of kindness” on the tongue of a woman. In direct contrast to worldly principles, the Bible tells us that one of the most distinguishing characteristics of a woman is her speech. The speech of a godly woman is marked by discretion. There is a benevolence and a kindness in her language. When she opens her mouth there is godly wisdom. The sick and the suffering find healing and comfort in her expressions. There is a sense of understanding on her part that her words will have a lasting effect, and so far be it from her to ever say anything that would strike a wound on the soul of someone else.
The ways of the world will always seek to undermine and subvert God. But, this much we know: the Word of the Lord endures forever. I believe that social transformation will come to this country only when there is revival in the church. With this revival will be women, who have been forgiven much and who love much. Governed only by the grace of God, their manner and their speech will build up their families, their churches, their country and not tear down.
I leave you with a brief excerpt from J.R. Millers, An Excellent Woman. While he is speaking here of a woman who is a wife and a mother, there is a broader application for any woman, no matter her status.
“Nothing is more beautiful in a woman, than calmness and quietness in manner, showing itself in well-controlled speech. Bad temper is a great blot on a woman. A wife and mother who is always scolding, scolding, scolding—not only mars the beauty of her own life, but hurts the lives and scars and spoils the characters of her children, and makes her home an unhappy place for her household. Wonderful is this law of kindness. In a mother in her home, its influence is heaven-like. Every girl and young woman should take this “law” into her life at once, and train her heart and voice to the sweetest kindness.”
J.R. Miller, An Excellent Woman
“For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.” (1 Peter 1:18-19)
May our speech reflect the grace that we, as women, have to come to know in our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.