by Lacey MacRae
It is commonly noticed that the “strangest” people rarely ever think of themselves as such. Their “strangeness” seems completely normal to them. This is probably due to the fact that everyone in their family is similar them, which makes them feel very normal in their strangeness.
When we as Christian women read Proverbs 7, it is very easy to picture that whole scene as something very distant and unrelated to our way of life. As Bible-believing, church-attending, and God-loving women, most of us certainly are NOT like the “strange woman” who was dressed in …the attire of an harlot,… When we look at the description of this woman, it is nothing like me or my many Christian lady friends and acquaintances. We are given the following descriptions:
The way she dresses in verse 10 – And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot,…
The places she hangs out in verse 12 – Now is she without, now in the streets, and lieth in wait at every corner.)
The way she acts with men in verse 13 – So she caught him, and kissed him,…, and verse 21 – With her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him.
The average Christian woman sitting in a church pew today lives a lifestyle so very far from the one described in Proverbs 7. However, there is one little verse (in parentheses even) that actually connects us to this story and this woman more closely than any of us would like to admit. Listen to this other description of the strange woman who is dressed as a harlot (again, a person with whom we agree we have NOTHING in common). Verse 11 says, (She is loud and stubborn;… Yikes! Who put that in there?!
Now before those of us who, if you are like me, enjoy life “out loud” get too nervous, this verse is not condemning our obnoxious laughter! This is a good thing because every woman in my family would be guilty, especially when we are together! The word loud here does not have as much to do with volume as it does the spirit behind that volume.
LOUD: to be in a great commotion or tumult, to rage; to be in an uproar, clamorous
STUBBORN: sullen in opposition; unmanageable; obstinately unyielding
Again…yikes! I am afraid that after looking at this phrase, I can be much more similar to this strange woman than I would want anyone to know!
When we think of the strange woman, we tend to focus on the fact that she:
– dresses the wrong way
– hangs out in the wrong places
– behaves completely inappropriately with men
However, according to this one little parenthetical phrase, this woman is also the type of person who:
– constantly gets upset about something
– rages with her words when something displeases her
– causes great commotion and tumult in the relationships in her life
– clamors for attention
– becomes sullen and pouts when things do not go her way
– gives the cold shoulder to those who displease her
– becomes uncooperative when her idea or suggestion is not implemented
– has a “my way or the highway” attitude
– is very hard to work with.
Again, after looking at the true meanings of these words, we all probably relate a little more to the strange woman from time to time than we would like to admit.
We live in a culture that finds it strange for a woman to open …her mouth with wisdom;… or caution and to speak with …the law of kindness… or mercy and grace when she has been wronged. (Proverbs 31:26) We live in a culture that views a …loud and stubborn;… woman as being virtuous and as being a woman of strength.
What a mixed up perspective this is!
It does not take much strength to let someone (and often EVERYONE around me) know when there is something about which I am upset or mad. However, there are times when it literally takes the supernatural strength of the Lord to help me to speak with wisdom and kindness to (or ABOUT) that person who has wronged me or to that child who has defied me yet again.
I am afraid I am a little more closely related to that strange woman than I used to think.
I may not dress as her, go where she goes, or act with men the way she does, but my loud and stubborn words, THOUGHTS, and disposition are sometimes a dead giveaway that we are family.
May we all take a closer look at what we consider “normal” behavior. We might find that we are a little “stranger” than we thought.
With the Lord’s help, we must rectify our behavior so that is pleasing to Him.