I place before you a modest proposal today. Actually I offer three proposals. None are earth shaking, seismic shifts in our lifestyle or thinking. Rather they are modest, simple changes that have the potential for dramatic impact in our own lives and the lives of those we encounter. Each of these proposals are firmly grounded in biblical principle and each builds on the other.
Husbands love your wives. This seems so simple, and it is, but it is an incredibly powerful principle. Ephesians 5:25 states, "Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her..." I fear that far too many marriages are like the guy who told his wife, "Listen, I told you I loved you on the day we got married and that was 20 years ago. If I change my mind I'll let you know!" Gentlemen, let the woman you are blessed to share life with just how precious and important she is to you.
A legacy I am blessed to have in my family history is the example of my great-uncle McKinley Cash. He was married to my grandfather's sister Ovella. Understand that Ovella was a common enough looking woman; she would never grace the cover of a magazine, nor do I suppose she ever won many beauty contests. However, a few moments around this marvelous couple revealed a startling and open secret, Uncle Cash knew that Ovella was beautiful. He always treated her as a queen and cared for her as such. It was not some syrupy sweet puppy dog love that made you sick to watch, rather it was a deep and mature love that blessed all who came into contact with it. Even the saltiest of my uncles seemed to soften a bit in the presence of this truly great love. Uncle Cash stands out in my memory as a man who loved his wife as Christ loved the church. He was a man among wannabe men.
A second proposal I would put forward is for women to understand true beauty. We live in the age of the air brushed supermodel. We need to regularly remind ourselves that "what we see is NOT what we get" and that "seeing is NOT believing" in our beauty obsessed age. I read, with some pained humor, the stories of the beautiful people feeling ugly. The rest of us usually offer them a sarcastic, "Bless their hearts!" Proverbs offers us unusual wisdom concerning this very issue. Proverbs 11:22 states, "Like a gold ring in a pig's snout is a beautiful woman without discretion." In other words, beauty with no prudence is useless, or worse, wasted. Unfortunately this is the standard held up for all to revere in our society. There are entirely too many "beauties" with too little brain failing to understand the nature of true beauty. Proverbs 31:30 states, "Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised." Herein is true beauty. It is an "imperishable beauty" as 1 Peter 3:3-4 affirms.
We need women of all ages and stages to stand tall and declare that the cultural definition of beauty is broken and untrue. There are daughters and granddaughters who need to hear and see godly women exhibiting an undeniable beauty of spirit. There are young women being mercilessly sucked into the societal lie of what beauty is who stand in need of rescue from a destructive pattern of dissatisfaction with their outward appearance. Please understand I am in no way opposed to putting one's best foot forward! I'm much like the old country preacher who was asked about his views on make-up. He replied, "I'm for anything that can make a stink weed look like a rose!" I am simply pointing out that this fixation on external beauty is leaving an empty shell.
One final modest proposal I would offer, we all need to embrace modesty. I am not advocating a particular dress code but simply that a little common sense in this area will go a long way. My good friend Kevin relates an experience he had in a Burger King in Manila. There he noticed two women dressed very differently. One was covered from head to toe in the traditional Muslim burka and she had to gingerly lift her veil to even get the food to her mouth. Opposite this woman with no skin showing was a local call girl who had skin-a-plenty showing. Quite the dichotomy of ideals concerning appropriate dress. Modesty, by definition, is 'kept within due measure'. Not given to the extremes my friend Kevin encountered.
Here are a couple of suggestions...
- Guys, 'Just say no to crack' isn't just for plumbers anymore. Pull 'em up, please! We are not interested in the cool print that is on your boxers. Furthermore we are a little weary of watching you try and do simple things like walk or stand still while you try to keep you pants from falling down around your ankles. Suspenders, belts, or (shocking I know) pants that actually fit work amazingly well here.
- Girls, in like fashion, I can think of no reason it is necessary for me to know what color and type (granny, bikini, thong, etc.) of undergarments you have chosen for the day. That should be something between you and your clothing.
- On this note, ladies, it behooves you to know that men are visually stimulated creatures. I am aware that some of you already know this and enjoy messing with the guys in your life. I encourage you to re-think this approach. For those of you, young and old alike, who may live in blessed oblivion on this matter please give some consideration to the men in your life. Help them notice that your face and eyes are just as attractive as your bust and butt. Perhaps they will then begin looking for that inner beauty that you are hopefully developing!