Monthly Archives: February 2017

A Modern Lady’s Manners



In the previous post, I introduced the idea of what it means to be a modern lady in a swiftly changing culture. As the culture changes, so do rules of etiquette. I mean, who really knows the etiquette rules for social media and technology use? To post or not to post? To like or not like? To share or not to share? I saw a sign on the door of a business the other day that said in a funny but polite way essentially to leave your cell phone outside. While opinions differ on specific rules of etiquette, especially with the rise of technology use, the general concept behind polite manners remains unchanged.

Did you know that the Proverbs have a lot to say about manners? Some are quite funny but yet speak an important truth. The Proverbs are full of common sense guidelines for how to treat others. The book contains 31 chapters, so I would encourage you to start at the beginning of a month and read a chapter a day. You will be amazed at the modern application you will find in this timeless wisdom.

Here are a few examples:

  1. Be considerate of your neighbors –

“If one blesses his neighbor with a loud voice early in the morning, it will be counted as a curse to him.”   Proverbs 27:14 HCSB

Who is my neighbor you ask? Jesus was asked the same question in Luke 10 when he taught that we should love our neighbors. To answer, he shared a story about an unlikely man who helped out a total stranger. Anyone can be your neighbor. That can include the person sitting next to you while you are talking on your cell phone, or the person on the opposite side of the political or theological fence from you. Being a good neighbor includes being considerate of others.

  1. Use good sense –

“A beautiful woman who rejects good sense is like a gold ring in a pig’s snout.”   Proverbs 11:22 HCSB

This one always amuses me as I picture giving expensive jewelry to a pig. It seems absurd. So too, beauty without wisdom is wasted. We all have the ability to use good sense and seek wisdom from the Lord. That’s where true beauty comes from. When it comes to etiquette regarding social media and technology, my rule of thumb is when in doubt, don’t shout it out! (Or post, share, like, etc.)

  1. Avoid nagging –

“Better to live on the corner of a roof than to share a house with a nagging wife.” Proverbs 21:9 HCSB

Wives or not, all women can be tempted to nag others. Our temptation to nag usually stems from a need for control. We learn early in life that if we pester others long enough, we might get our way. Yikes! Do I really use the same tactics sometimes as my preschool child? Sitting on our roof in the New Orleans heat would be a miserable way to spend the day. I would hope my behavior would not cause my husband to want to endure that misery over being inside having a conversation with me! In Ecclesiastes 3:7 we find there is “a time to be silent and a time to speak.” Wisdom is learning to distinguish the appropriate timing between the two.

  1. Stay humble –

“When pride comes, disgrace follows, but with humility comes wisdom.” Proverbs 11:2 HCSB

This proverb is not so funny, but oh so true. There is nothing funny about the disgrace that comes when we fall on our faces as a result of prideful behavior. Humility before the Lord is the key to wisdom. When we have humble hearts, we are open to letting the Lord teach us how to treat others. If we have prideful hearts, then even if we use polite manners, we are doing so out of our own self-interests. Humble hearts seek the good of others by putting others before ourselves, using good sense that comes from God’s wisdom, and learning when to speak and when to stay silent.


A modern lady uses her manners. Culture changes, but treating people with kindness and grace never goes out of style.





The Making of A Modern Lady



What does it mean to be a modern lady?

In recent weeks the behavior of women in our country has been a point of controversy in the news, which has led me to think on the topic of what it means to be a modern lady. Is that word entirely antiquated, or can the behavior it represents coincide with our contemporary life? What does it mean to show common decency these days?

To understand what it means to be a lady, we must first start from the beginning. The term lady is a more recent English word stemming from the sometime before the 12th century A.D.[1] However, the concept of being a woman began with the creation of Eve. As Elisabeth Elliot noted, “In order to learn what it means to be a woman we must start with the One who made her.”[2] In Genesis 1:27 we find that God created males and females in His image. As women we are created in the image of God but as a distinctly different creation from males.

Understanding ourselves as human beings created in the image of God is the starting point for discovering what it means to be a lady. Without this basic foundation, we would have no need to follow Jesus’ teaching, now known as the golden rule, of treating others as we would want to be treated (Luke 6:31). Being created in the image of God means that we have the capacity to love, to forgive, to show kindness, to be patient, to speak the truth, and to be peacemakers. As a woman, standing up for what you believe in is not the problem. Thankfully, living in the United States allows for that freedom. In fact, over and over in scripture, God’s people are exhorted to defend those who cannot defend themselves (Proverbs 31:8-9, James 1:27). Standing up for what you believe in without showing common decency is a problem. So what does it mean to be a modern lady?

Often the word, lady, to 21st century ears conjures up images of Victorian era gentility, proper to the point of being stuffy or here in the southern United States, a proper southern woman. If you’re thinking to yourself that ladylike behavior does not at all describe you, consider this. According to Webster’s definition, a lady simply put is “a woman who behaves in a polite way.”[3] What this tells us is…

All women can be ladies.

Whether you prefer being outdoors to going to the salon, being a lady is not about your hobbies or preferences for style. Being a lady is about treating others with kindness and respect. Women come in all shapes and sizes with a variety of interests. We all have different personalities. Regardless of our hobbies, political inclinations, or personality, we all have the capacity to use good manners and be polite.

Being a lady does not mean that you have to have a quiet personality either. Some of us are just born louder than others. You may have no problem with volume, or you may struggle with letting your voice be heard. We are all made differently. In 1 Peter 3:4, we are told that having a “gentle and quiet spirit” is valuable to God. Thankfully, this does not mean a quiet voice. It means having a heart willing to obey God. Christian ladies are women who have a heart to obey God in all circumstances.

So what does a modern lady look like? Here are some ideas that came to mind.

A modern lady is a woman who…

Fears the Lord

Respects herself and others

Is content with herself

Puts others before herself

Considers the point of view of others

Speaks up for injustice but does so with kindness and grace

So what about you? Do you want to be known as a woman who treats others with the same kindness and grace she would like to receive? I know I do. So where do we begin? The first step we can take toward being a lady is simply to be polite. Kindness is a gift we can give that few people will refuse.

            [1] Merriam-Webster Dictionary, online Web site, available from; accessed February 3, 2017.

            [2] Elliot, Elisabeth. Let Me Be A Woman. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1976.

            [3] Merriam-Webster Dictionary, online Web site, available from; accessed February 3, 2017.