Your 50 Favorite Proverbs: #32 Beauty Is as Beauty Does

MAY 2014 Your 50 Favorite Proverbs

It’s not exactly a biblical proverb, and it’s not precisely what Uncle Ben said to Peter Parker in Spiderman. But I still stand by this truth: “With great beauty comes great responsibility.”

A godly woman who has been blessed with exceptional looks is meant to use her gift for God’s glory, rather than for her own benefit. When she captures someone’s eye, she can snag that person’s ear as well, sharing the truth of God’s love. When her beauty opens a door, she can bring her faith with her, lighting the room with God’s grace.

Yet there are also stumbling blocks strewn across a beautiful woman’s path. Men may boldly pursue her, even if she’s married. Assumptions can be made about her that are untrue and unfair. Opportunities may abound, but so do temptations.

That’s the challenge this week’s verse from Proverbs offers us. We can only do so much to enhance our appearance. But discretion? Oh, we can definitely work on that.

Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout
    is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion. Proverbs 11:22

"Like a gold ring..." Proverbs 11:22

Like a gold ring…

This gold-and-diamond beauty is meant for a woman’s hand, but in biblical times, a woman might wear an ornamental “ring of gold” (ASV), sparkling like a “jewel” (KJV), carefully pinched on her nostril. Tradition required that she remove it on the Sabbath, but on the other six days of the week, her nose-ring hung well above her upper lip, so she might eat her meals or kiss her loved ones.

Rebekah was given such a piece of jewelry by the servant of Abraham, who “brought along an expensive gold ring and two large gold bracelets. When Rebekah had finished bringing the water, he gave her the ring for her nose and the bracelets for her arms” (Genesis 24:22 CEV).

So, a beautiful woman with a beautiful ring. Attractive, yes?
But that’s not the picture the Lord is painting here.

" a pig's snout..." Proverbs 11:22

…in a pig’s snout…

Eww. God wants us to imagine that gorgeous ring in “the nostrils of a sow” (WYC). Lovely meets ugly. Swanky meets “swine” (ASV).

Practically speaking, farmers sometimes do put copper or steel rings on their pigs’ snouts to keep them from rooting. When the animals try to dig up the earth with their noses, the pain of those rings stops them.

But a farmer would never use expensive gold rings.
Those are reserved for the crown of God’s creation.

" a beautiful woman..." Proverbs 11:22

…is a beautiful woman…

They may be “lovely” (NKJV), “fair” (ASV), or “comely” (WYC), but when such women behave badly, God’s Word declares they look no better than…well, pigs.

Three ringed pigs

Oh my. One ringy-dingy to rule them all.

By the way, for those of us who feel less than beautiful by the world’s definition, and so may be inclined to say, “This verse isn’t for me,” here are two gentle reminders:

  • You absolutely are beautiful to the One who made you: “He has made everything beautiful in its time” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). That includes you, beloved.
  • Every word in God’s Word is meant for every person who serves him: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

So, this verse really is for all of us, nose-ring wearers or not.

"...who shows no discretion." Proverbs 11:22

…who shows no discretion.

In Hebrew, this phrase literally means to “turn aside” from “judgment” or “discernment.” To lose all sense of virtue and honor. To cast aside modesty and chastity. To show the world “a beautiful face on an empty head” (MSG).

We’re not talking about a mere mental or emotional indiscretion here. This is an action, something we’re doing that “rejects good sense” (HCSB) and “lacks good taste” (GW). We’re behaving “foolishly” (CEV) and displaying how “stubborn” (YLT) we are, which others can easily see.

We’ve all met women who were lovely to look at, yet when they opened their mouths, quickly lost their appeal. (The Real Housewives of ________ come to mind.)

But the world also sees Christians with silver ichthus symbols on their cars rudely cutting off other drivers or speeding through red lights. They watch Christian families pray before their meals in restaurants, then leave paltry tips for their hard-working waitresses. They observe Christian leaders committing adultery, embezzlement, or fraud. They notice Liz Curtis Higgs snarling with frustration in an elevator when she’s late for an appointment. Groan.

The Lord cautions us, “Whoever has been given much will be responsible for much” (Luke 12:48). Kind of like Uncle Ben’s words, but with way more authority.

Heavenly Father, remind us of all the ways you have blessed us, and help us show others what “beautiful” truly looks like: gentle words, kind deeds, and thoughtful actions, meant to honor our beautiful Savior.

Proverbs 11:22 in Words and Image

Now it’s your turn

  • Several women chose this verse from Proverbs as their favorite.
    How does it speak to you?

Bless you for taking a moment to Post a Comment below.

And here’s a fun, 40-second reminder of what we’ve just learned on YouTube!

Your Printable of Proverbs 11:22 is ready for you to download (no worries, it always takes a few seconds). And all the Proverbs we’ve studied so far are on Pinterest.

I’m so looking forward to our next verse, which includes the word, cheer. Woo hoo!

Your sister, Liz
@LizCurtisHiggs #50Proverbs

Your sister, Liz Curtis Higgs BibleGatewayBloggerGrid MAY 2014 Your 50 Favorite Proverbs

I love being part of (in)courage! I am honored to write for P31 Ministries

34 Responses to Your 50 Favorite Proverbs: #32 Beauty Is as Beauty Does

  1. Janet Eubanks June 10, 2014 at 11:59 am #

    I’m listening to the “Slightly Bad Girls of the Bible” audio and your post popped up in my news feed. Oh, Rebekah! *giggle*

    • Liz Curtis Higgs June 29, 2014 at 3:12 pm #

      “Oh, Rebekah” is right! Mostly good, but slightly bad…just like so many of us. Thanks for listening to the audio edition, Janet!

  2. jaime June 10, 2014 at 1:01 pm #

    God doesn’t care if we are a 0 or a 5x. He cares about who we are and how we act. Jesus said from the mouth flows the abundance of one’s heart. This proverb is referring not to words only but also actions. I just love how everything in the Bible is repeated multiple times, sometimes with identical wording and sometimes not, but repeated nevertheless. Even on our worst days, we should keep Him in our thoughts and on our tongues but we aren’t perfect. We all have our elevator moments. Its okay because we aren’t perfect but we are trying our best.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs June 29, 2014 at 3:14 pm #

      You are so right, Jaime: God’s truths are often repeated throughout his Word. Clearly, we need to hear them more than once (I sure do)!

  3. Christina Anderson June 10, 2014 at 1:11 pm #

    As a skinny high schooler with a gazillion freckles and rampant red hair I had NO boyfriends. I did have my horse, and she saved me from terrible loneliness. But once I learned how to dress, how to wear mascarra on my blond eye lashes and my red hair became fashionable, once Twiggy made all us skinny little girls suddenly “cool” I had more boyfriends than I knew what do do with. The power went straight to my head. I have been married and divorced three times and have had numerous affairs of which I am now ashamed. Talk about “no discretion” or “discernment”! I thought of men as mice and of me as the cat. I toyed with them. And I got hurt and burned. But God showed me that the way I was living was causing Him pain and I turned my life over to him. I’m older now and i can no longer turn the heads of men as i walk down a street. It’s probably just as well! Thanks to God for His redeeming love and grace!

    • Liz Curtis Higgs June 29, 2014 at 3:17 pm #

      Thanks for sharing your journey, Christina. The only head we really want to turn in our direction–at any age–is the Lord’s. So comforting to know “The Lord watches over all who love him” (Psalm 145:20).

  4. Susan Gruener June 10, 2014 at 1:44 pm #

    I’ve read this verse many times, but I love how you really ‘open’ it up and show us the meanings of the words of the Word. These verses become more clear, so we can understand what the Lord is truly saying to us, and how we are to live our lives. Thanks Liz for another great ‘treasure’!

    • Liz Curtis Higgs June 29, 2014 at 3:20 pm #

      You’ve definitely got me figured out, Susan: I love to consider every word, because I know God chose it for our good! Thanks for your faithfulness.

  5. Margie Vaillancourt June 10, 2014 at 2:48 pm #

    This verse came at the perfect time today! I was feeling disappointed that I was not included in a staff video at the school where I am the librarian. Every other group of staff was represented. I did not act very “beautifully” when I grumbled about not be included with the rest of the staff, AGAIN! Thanks for the reminder to act beautifully all the time to better represent my Saviour!

    • Liz Curtis Higgs June 29, 2014 at 3:24 pm #

      As Jamie said above, we ALL have those moments, Margie. They’re what keep us humble, which is exactly where God wants us: “All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, ‘God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble’”(1 Peter 5:5). Blessings, sis!

  6. Edie Town June 10, 2014 at 5:13 pm #

    This proverb paints a very contrasting picture. I don’t usually think “pig” when I see a “#10” making bad decisions, not choosing well. I love that you included pictures so that we really get it. In our generation to be obsessed with beauty is quite acceptable.
    There is a much lesser emphasis on being prudent, circumspect, being discerning, making careful judgments. It’s more about – “If it feels good, do it.”
    I think I should carry around a picture of a pig in order to remind myself that even when I’m all dolled up to the 9’s, the choices & decisions I make are really what counts! It’s a head thing & not so much whether my nails are freshly manicured, my outfit is the latest….
    Thanks, Liz!!

    • Liz Curtis Higgs June 29, 2014 at 3:30 pm #

      Yes, Edie, those pig pictures really make an impact, don’t they?!? I think every generation of women since Eve has struggled with the world’s definition of beauty vs. God’s definition. Not sure we’ll ever overcome that on this side of glory. Maybe one place to start is by affirming the good and godly qualities we see in other women (younger ones especially). I’m trying hard to say things like, “What a cheerful person you are,” instead of “What a cute dress!” Not there yet, but working on it!

  7. Jennifer June 10, 2014 at 6:42 pm #

    Oh, to remember this verse in my everyday life. This week’s message makes me think about how I act toward my husband…not exactly beautiful all the time. Thank you for helping remind me of the right way to view beauty.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs June 29, 2014 at 3:31 pm #

      Bless you for being so teachable, dear Jennifer.

  8. Chris June 10, 2014 at 6:57 pm #

    It is a real challenge to be a beautiful woman for the Lord. one of the best ways to be one is to forgive others and yourself readily and be gentle to yourself and others too. Don’t be critical of yourself or others, but repentant.

  9. CatherineKitty June 10, 2014 at 8:30 pm #

    My fav Proverbs verse: Proverbs 31:28 “Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.”
    Love all your messages… loved seeing you the past 2 years at Women of Faith!

    • Liz Curtis Higgs June 29, 2014 at 3:33 pm #

      I love that verse as well, Catherine. Thanks for joining us at WOF!

  10. Jeanie Batts June 11, 2014 at 6:00 am #

    Thanks, Liz, for once again unpacking a proverb that reminds us who we are in Christ and how we can live our lives to bring Him honor and glory. And thanks for the YouTube video with Jimmy and Doreen. I remember hearing “beauty is as beauty does” as a child and learning that it’s what’s inside that counts most. But oh, this proverb really brings it home, doesn’t it?! (Loved the pig pictures!)

    • Liz Curtis Higgs June 29, 2014 at 3:34 pm #

      Thanks for being such a careful reader, Jeanie, and taking the words to heart. The video was a hoot, wasn’t it?

  11. Kathy June 11, 2014 at 8:25 am #

    Wow! I just want to be pleasing in His sight. I want anyone I come face to face with see Jesus in me. That’s my prayer. He’s not finished with me yet.

  12. Barbara June 11, 2014 at 8:47 am #

    How true it is that a person can be “beautiful” on the outside but ugly inside. I pray that I will allow the Lord to cleanse me from the inside out so that He will receive glory and honor.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs June 29, 2014 at 3:38 pm #

      Yes, Barbara. I always think of the words of Jesus when he admonished the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees: “You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean” (Matthew 23:27). Right. That. Don’t wanna go there!

  13. Blanche Hake June 11, 2014 at 7:23 pm #

    This proverb speaks to all of us. We may not look at ourselves as beautiful, but people who know that we are Christians sometimes just wait for us to fall. I like the idea that great beauty requires much responsibility. My GED students could use the uplifting comments I find here. Thank you so much for this presentation. I love the pigs with rings!

    • Liz Curtis Higgs June 29, 2014 at 3:39 pm #

      By all means, share any good words you find here with your students, Blanche. (I love the pigs with rings too!)

  14. Susan Ireland June 11, 2014 at 8:31 pm #

    Everything we do in life reflects who we are, we are not of this world. When we’re young it is tempting to be like everyone else , but then we are like the movie Stepford wives. So, what is so special about us? Everything !! God sees our beauty, and so will that special someone, and your family will adore you.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs June 29, 2014 at 3:42 pm #

      Wise advice, especially for our younger sisters. The pressure on them to conform to this world is just HUGE.

  15. Carol June 12, 2014 at 8:42 am #

    This was truly a refreshment for me. I am going to post these each week for my 2 daughters to join me in scripture memory this summer. Thank you!

    • Liz Curtis Higgs June 29, 2014 at 3:43 pm #

      Love that plan, Carol! Let me know how you’re doing…

  16. Cynthia Stevenson June 13, 2014 at 8:08 pm #

    I’ve always told my granddaughter, since she was little, that she was beautiful to Grannie but the most important thing is that she be beautiful on the inside. Then we would talk about what this meant.

    Today she is 15, about to turn 16, and quite beautiful on the outside and on the inside. She just glows from the inside out. She is a Jesus girl with a loving heart for others.

    She is going on her first foreign mission trip this summer. I hope ya’ll will pray for her. Also please pray for the children she will encounter that they will have open hearts to hear her message about Jesus Christ.

    • jaime June 15, 2014 at 12:56 pm #

      What a wonderful grandma and young lady. We will definitely keep you all in prayer

  17. Regina June 17, 2014 at 12:07 am #

    I loved the quote: “With great beauty comes great responsibility.” So true! I work as a hairbraider at the local Renaissance Festival, and for those nine weekends I get to see that quote and this verse acted out front and center. It never ceases to amaze me how many people seem to leave their discretion out of their dressing process. The braiders actually have a “Bad Costume Bingo” card as a way of taking a tally of some of the…let’s call them choices (because that’s what they are)…we see often enough that while they might startle us, they don’t surprise us anymore.

    Some costuming is eye-catching for all the right reasons, and those are on the Bingo card too: for being beautiful or creative or well-executed or fun. But then there are the things that are eye-catching for all the wrong reasons.

    Everybody and every body is beautiful. I truly believe that. And some people really do have stunning wrapping paper. But something gets lost when they don’t treat their wrapping paper well. Each time I see someone Bingo-card worthy, it grieves my heart a little bit. Because while I’m sure they want to be turning heads, I can’t believe they want to be turning them for that reason.

    Every body is beautiful, even mine! But no matter how confident I might be in my outer beauty (a sliding scale to be sure!), it’s my inner beauty that I want to shine through.

    This season, I guarantee you I’ll be thinking about pierced pigs, and good choices.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs June 29, 2014 at 3:47 pm #

      Oh, Regina, you crack me up! I’ve been to our Kentucky Ren Faire, so I know EXACTLY what you are talking about. (You can see some pretty interesting “wrapping paper” at a shopping mall too.) God is ever working on all his daughters to come to that place of acceptance–of self AND others–and dress modestly, such that our inner beauty CAN shine through. Love what you’ve shared here, sis.