Retaining Honor {by Lois Ormsby}

The last decade I feel (I hope) that I’ve grown some in the matters of graciousness, discretion, and meekness. If not, please tell me – truly – for I do not want to be a woman that is odious. Yet, there are times in my life that I have been exactly that.

I can remember some instances especially from my early 20s that now, looking back on, I cringe with embarrassment about. There were too many times I opened my mouth when I did not need to.  There were other moments when I opened my mouth at perhaps a good time, but I did it in all the wrong ways.  I clearly remember shouting at some people (no exaggeration), spouting off to people about how they were wrong, and saying things to people in a way that made them feel small.  These are all things that a king’s daughter is not supposed to be known for.  There are even some people in my life who I’ve wondered if the way I spoke to them in years past negatively affected their desire to live for Christ.  I have surely begged God to forgive me for these instances and asked Him to take up where I was so much lacking as a sister in Christ.

As I’ve moved through my 20s and am now in my 30s, God has been merciful to teach me many things about myself.  He has shown me ways that I was harsh, mouthy, and opinionated, and He has helped me learn more about the relationship mercy is supposed to have with truth.  One of the ways He has done this is through the verse we’ve heard a hundred times – “A gracious woman retaineth honour; and strong men retain riches.” Proverbs 11:16

This verse is amazing food for thought. It teaches me that God has bestowed every woman with a certain measure of honor – and that this measure of honor can be diminished by our own doing.  Yikes.  It also encourages me that within me (through God’s power) lies the ability to retain this honor.

Any woman who desires to please our King would desire to have honor within her.  Yet how easily I’ve found myself letting out a little of that honor every time I open my mouth in a wrong way.  There are a dozen other ways honor can be lost – but isn’t it sobering to think we can lose it simply through our unruly tongue?  Though I do not believe it is impossible for this honor to be restored, to restore it is a very difficult, humbling feat because it requires self-denial and vulnerability on our part.

God also showed me how easily we women are throwing our honor away in the way we speak – and amount of words we speak – on social media.  Facebook became popular when I was in college.  The whole debate culture or whatever you want to call it is not something that began when the pandemic hit; it has been going strong for years.  I remember jumping in on some social media conversations, thinking I knew what everyone needed to hear.  Though I may have been right or not, how very much of my life was spent whittling away time that I could have spent in the physical presence of a friend.  Fast-forward to 2021: it is downright shocking the things that women say online these days.  Remember, I am talking about Christian women here.  I am embarrassed for my generation, my mother’s generation, and, yes, even my grandmother’s generation – what kind of example are we giving to those coming after us?  Any honor we may think we emanate in someone’s presence is completely washed away in the words we furiously type on social media.  The principles God gives us in His Word all matter in our social media lives, too.  Our testimony speaks loudly through our social media – more loudly than we realize. Everything we click, like, follow, and comment on affects the honor God gave us, for good or for bad.

God also used something my pastor says to speak to me: “People do not want to hear unsolicited advice.  Unless they ask for advice, people will not usually care to hear what you have to say.”  This is true!  I think this principle largely works together with the truth that “people won’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”.

That young person – why is no one saying anything to him? I guess I have to since no one else even seems to notice what is going on.

But – “a gracious woman retaineth honour…”.

This sales clerk has my blood boiling.  Who do they think they are?

But – “a gracious woman retaineth honour…”.

My parents are driving me crazy.  Don’t they know I’m an adult now?  That’s it – it is time for me to put them in their place.

But – “a gracious woman retaineth honour…”.

Why is no one calling her out on this comment thread? Like, seriously, this just isn’t right.  I have to speak the truth so that innocent bystanders will be aware of what’s really going on here.

But – “a gracious woman retaineth honour…”.

The way she hurt me is just unthinkable.  I have to voice this to her; she needs to feel bad about this.  She doesn’t even know.  I don’t think she even cares, but I have to get this off my chest and she needs to hear this.

But – “a gracious woman retaineth honour…”.

…and on and on it goes.

My dear sisters in Christ – let us consider our ways.  We may be thinking, This is just how I am.  The words come out before I can stop them.  God knows my heart.  Ok – that all may be true to a degree, but…He also asks us to grow in grace (2 Peter 3:18).  If we desire to walk according the Word, we have to be willing to work through the hard stuff when He speaks to us about it.

Retaining honor is not something I’ve mastered.  It is a constant growing thing for me, because I am the type of person who usually has an answer on the tip of my tongue.  Yet, I don’t want to be known as someone who has all the answers; that’s Jesus’ job description.  May I be known as a gracious woman that is striving her best to be a woman after God’s own heart.

Comments · 3

  1. Thank you Ms. Lois, I think most of us women have or have had this same problem over the years. It is a thing we have to work on all the time!
    Love you sweet lady!

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