“Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion.” Can’t you just picture that dirty old barnyard animal running around with an expensive gold ring in its nose? How ridiculous! What’s the writer of this Proverb trying to communicate?
You can be a gorgeous woman who catches a man’s eye with your beauty, but if you don’t have the proper judgment and right behavior to go along with it, that beauty is as wasted on you as a gold ring would be wasted on a pig’s nose. Now, we can flip that if you like. You can be a strong, handsome, hunky guy, but if you don’t have good character, you’re nothing but a handsome fool and that’s not much good to anyone.
Proverbs 11 has 31 different Proverbs, and I could have chosen any one of them to write about today, but this one jumped out at me. First, because who doesn’t like trying to picture a 1000 lb hog with a gold ring in its nose (and for good measure, why not add lipstick and mascara?). Good luck getting that image out of your head. But even more so, I think it’s important for you to think about something that’s important. Now, I know some of you who read this are old like me, but for those of you who are younger I hope you are listening. If you’re 18, or 21, or 25 you are probably as physically attractive right now as you are ever going to be in your life. You’ve gotten past the awkward teenage years, and you’ve not yet hit the middle age spread when things start to bulge and sag and wrinkle and gray and… oh stop, I’m depressing myself now.
We live in a society that worships physical beauty. Now, that’s nothing new. Physical beauty is culturally determined and can change from generation to generation. What’s attractive to one culture may be different in another culture. Just go to an art museum sometime and compare what was considered beauty at one time with what you see today on TV, in movies, in magazines and on the internet. Beauty is subjective. Hugh Hefner made large breasts the symbol of desirable female sexuality back in the 50’s and 60’s and women started going and getting breast augmentation surgery. Then in the 90’s rappers of a certain ethnicity made large female bottoms the new standard for desirability (Remember, “I like big butts and I cannot lie” ?). Suddenly, women were going out and having their bottoms increased.
Men, if you want to be desirable to women “you’ve gotta have a six pack.” That used to be the standard of masculinity. I’m happy that now having a “dad bod” is becoming more highly valued. This Proverb holds all of this up to ridicule. (Remember the pig with the nose ring?)
Here’s the bottom line: what you look like is not nearly as important as your character. How you live your life matters far more than what you look like. Now sure, we all want to make sure that we’re physically healthy and well groomed up to a point. And there’s certainly nothing wrong with honoring other people by making sure that you are well groomed and decently clothed. I’m certainly not a fan of people wearing their pajamas to shop at Wal-mart or wearing your grungiest jeans to go to church. No, don’t get me wrong, if you don’t have a lot of money and grungy jeans are all you have and can afford then I’d rather you wear them to Church instead of not go to Church at all. But, at the same time, if you’ve got nice clothes in your closet that you could wear to church, but you decide it’s not worth it, or you want to make some kind of statement by wearing tattered clothes, that’s between you and God. I think it’s a sign of respect to others to wear decent clothing when you are around other people and to appear modest and presentable.
With all that being said, you can spend way too much time fixated on your appearance, but if you don’t invest time in wise living and godly character, you’re really no better than a pig with a nose ring… you’re not fooling anyone for very long.
~ Jeff Fletcher