The Beauty of Discretion
I wanted to blog this yesterday when I actually read Proverbs 11 for day eleven of the month of October, yet I didn’t have the time! But it’s all good, because here it is! :)
A verse that has always caught my attention in Proverbs 11 is verse 22. It reads: “Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout, is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion.”
I never really took the time to put in-depth thought into it, but I always wanted to. And of this I was certain, that that is not a very good thing at all. Especially considering a pig was mentioned which God ordained as an unclean animal. They live in their own feces mixed with mud and grow obscenely large while squealing unpleasantly. We always immediately associate the pig with being dirty, therefore becoming unattractive.
And then there’s this gold ring, a beautiful gold ring — priceless, attractive, shiny. Something everyone wants and loves to look at. But once this stunning piece of jewelry is placed on the snout of a swine, it simply loses its beauty. No matter how hard we may try, we can’t ignore the huge, dirty mass wearing the beautiful gold ring on its snout. This is the imagery God creates for us through Solomon to understand the simile of a woman with no discretion being like a swine wearing a beautiful, gold ring.
Now, the definition of discretion. Discretion is a synonym for words such as discernment, maturity, wisdom, thoughtfulness, prudence, care, responsible, reserved, sensible, modest; a woman who can be silent when speech is improper, a woman who is proper at all times in all situations. All of these are characteristics that honor God and those around the woman who beholds them.
Discretion, as used by Solomon, is part of wisdom. It is the power of right judgement, understanding, and the power of right discernment (Pr. 1:4; 2:10-17; 3:21; 5:1-2). Discretion is generous to others and it rejects the wicked conduct of others (Pr. 2:10-17). It knows how each situation calls for different conduct. It is a prudent application of wisdom to speech and actions whether in public or not.
A woman with discretion is a gracious woman, which Solomon had exalted, which we see a little bit before verse 22, in verse 16: “A kindhearted woman gains honor…” She always knows how to act, and she does it in such a way as to be delightful to all those around her, all the time. Good men and women always hold this desirable woman in the highest regard. She is always honored, and wise Godly men will want to marry a discreet and gracious women. So, ladies, strive for discretion!
Unfortunately, our society today puts a huge emphasis on physical beauty. We see those who are gorgeous get everything they want and get their way. But as believing women, we are not concerned with the world’s standards, but with God’s. Yes, a woman’s beauty might open doors for her, but it is her character that will be her ultimate success. Beauty may attract a man, but faithfulness and respect is what will enable her dating relationships, or courtship, and ultimately marriage to last. Beauty may get her a job opportunity, but her work ethic is what will allow her to keep it, if not excel. Beauty may give her attention and friends, but it is her trustworthiness that will determine whether they stick around.
It’s the character of a woman, not her beauty, that determines whether or not those blessings will be lasting. God promises us this, showing later in the well-known Proverbs 31:30: “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.”
When measured this way, it becomes more clear that the beauty of a woman without discretion does little more for her life than a ring on the tip of a pig’s snout does. Both adornments are ultimately fruitless.
You might be asking yourself, “Am I a woman without discretion?” This is a good thing to ask! It’s a start, and it shows wisdom and your drive for growth in the Lord from His Word. Let’s look at the opposite characteristics of discretion so that we can learn to avoid them.
Solomon definitely gave us a fair warning about Delilah characteristics; forwardness, aggression, conniving, immodesty, and without moral discretion. A woman without discretion can be irritating in speech and conduct. She argues and nags and has opinions without being asked, she is self-righteous, gets angry easily, is moody, or loves to second-guess others. She reveals her spirit by spoiled body language. She asks questions about every matter brought up, she pouts if she doesn’t get her way, and she waits for people to apologize to her. She thinks she’s everyone second conscience (especially her husband’s), she is critical, negative, or picky. She loves to correct dates or other irrelevant facts, she is childish, nosy, or inquisitive, criticizes others and cannot forgive instantly or completely. She cries over nothing, and overreacts to rumors or other minor events in her life. She finds something negative in everything, keeps clutters, doesn’t have a clue when she irritates people, is rude, and does not grasp social decorum. She is too bold, too forward, too loud, and too opinionated.
Ladies, clearly we have a lot of work to do. If you’re like me, human, then you’ve probably had a lot of those negative characteristics mentioned above come out at one point or another (or all the time) in your lifetime. Even when your walk with God has been strong, or is strong.
Now, I know everything just mentioned goes exactly against the way a woman “should” behave today, especially according to feminists. But again, we are women focusing on God’s Word and not on the world’s.
How can you know if you lack discretion? Do good men and women crave your company? Do you have numerous friends and are highly regarded by all? Good conduct leads to favor from others (Pr. 22:1). To become a woman with discretion, pray, read, study, and apply the wisdom of Proverbs. Ask your friends to be brutally honest and give you straight criticism, pick a few gracious women in your life and then emulate their conduct. Reject your mother’s teachings and characteristics or any other example from your past only if it does not match Holy Scripture. Learn to be a I Peter 3:3-4 woman. And hate the arrogant and selfish attitude of modern women who do not understand their Biblical role as women of God.
Abba, Father — I thank You that through Your Word You reveal new revelation. That You teach us and choose to discipline us because You love us. I want to become the best woman I can be, first for You and then for my future husband — to be the crown of glory on his head and not the woman that decays his bones (Pr. 12:4). I pray that You guide me as I learn to become more and more a woman of discretion, and I also pray this for my sisters. In Your wonderful Name, Amen.
p.s. If you have never done 31 Proverbs in 31 days; I strongly recommend you do!!