Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Laughing and Speaking

While attending a dinner gathering, I was interrupted mid-sentence, in a quite conversation with a friend, by the roaring laughter of a woman. As most anyone would, I looked over towards the direction of the laughter to see, and again hear the seemingly witch-like cackling coming from the woman. Wow, I thought, whatever she’s laughing at sure most be funny!

A little later in the evening, the host stood up and introduced to the attendees his pastor and his pastor’s wife. Looking in the direction he was gesturing, I saw a table of people, including the cackling woman. “Stand up, will you?” Asked the host to the pastor and his wife, and up stood the cackling woman, and her husband, the pastor. , I never would have thought that was the pastor’s wife.

That’s what I learned from the next “don’t,” “Don't laugh loudly or in a vulgar manner.” When the pastors wife roared with laugher from the belly, I wondered, where is her “gentle and quiet spirit” (1 Peter 3:3-4)? Where have our gentle and quiet spirits gone? Are we women who sit around and laugh it up with the boys, or are we ladies who quietly smile and quietly giggle to ourselves? We should be quiet and well-mannered in public, not to draw too much attention to ourselves, which does not honor the Lord.

The next “don’t” I’ve learned is “Avoid the following qualities in the voice: loudness, firmness, efficiency, boldness, dullness, mumbling, monotonous, singsong.” If we speak what’s on our hearts, wouldn’t HOW we speak also display what’s in our hearts. At work, if I talk with authority to my boss, it might seem as though I’m undermining my boss’ authority. This could really mess up my witness as a steward.

What I learned: Laughing loudly can be very manly and inappropriate for a woman. When women are together there can be exceptions. A friend of mine, who I consider to be godly, and I agreed that when women are together in a relaxed setting, it is okay for women to “let their hair down”. This doesn’t mean that women can act sinful, or manly, but they should feel comfortable enough to laugh, talk and cut up together.

Lastly, HOW one speaks is almost as important as WHAT they are saying. There are times when ladies need to use firm voices (like with children), boldness (when sharing the Word of God), and singsong (when greeting a child). However, we need to choose carefully the tones we use that they may convey the proper message to the hearer.


Mrs. U said...

Oh Melissa!!!! This is SOOOOOOOO convicting!!! Just tonight, I spoke too boldly with a godly woman and said something I should never have said. I've confessed to her that I was wrong and have asked her to forgive me. I do NOT want this to happen again. I want to use words that honor the Lord and, instead, I was honoring myself. Shameful. Pathetically shameful.

Thank you for this VERY challenging post!! (I need to work on my laugh, too!!!). I want my life to reflect Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I want to die to myself and live for Him.

Again, thank you.

Mrs. U

Melissa said...

No, THANK YOU, Mrs. U! Not everyone is as self-aware as you are, that is definitly a God-given. Isn't it amazing how quitely the Holy Spirit can convict us, almost too quick for me!

Thank you for your encourgement.

P.S. I'm sure the lady forgave you :D

LeanNot said...

I have a story to go with that:

I teach at a Christian school, and a week or two ago I was sitting inside a classroom. I could hear a boisterous noise that was apparently coming from way down the hall and around a corner, but I could definitely tell that it was two girls talking in very loud, enthusiastic, booming voices. (They were probably about 18 or 19 years old. They were having some sort of playful argument, and their male friends were sitting nearby watching.)

When I left the classroom, they were still going at it. I walked up and stood next to them, and they stopped to greet me. (One of them had been my student before.) I just winked at them and politely said, "Girls, you know, if I can hear you all the way in that classroom over there, you're not being very ladylike."

It was so funny: they just kind of stared at me; then one of the girls smacked the other girl really hard and said gruffly, "You heard her. Yeah. You're not being ladylike."

Aagh! That was even worse! I just shook my head, laughed with them, and kept going. I think they got the point, though. ;-D

Melissa said...

Very cute story, and example, Leannot. Thanks so much for sharing! I am so glad that you said something to the girls. They need fine ladies like yourself that they can look up to.

Candy said...

I always attend our sons hockey games and practices. There is a women there that laughs very loudly and talks loudly. Actually she intimidates me somewhat. She told once that I am "soo quiet and soft spoken" but I dont think she meant that it was a good thing. Ive been told many times before that I am soft spoken and I took it as a compliment. I get it alot when I answer the telephone, people tell me I have a pleasant voice. I hope I do. I dont want to be loud and brazen. Like Mrs U, I want to reflect Jesus in all I say and do, too.
Thanks, excellent post!


Anonymous said...

This makes me a little ill. I believe that God gave everyone a wonderful personality and we should allow that to shine through. Laugh and speak loudly if you so choose. This is why so many people are turned off by Christianity. Not all Christians have to fit a perfect little mold of the 1950's housewife to be holy. Good grief.

Melissa said...


Excellent point! In fact, I've decided that you've made such a interesting point that I'm going to write a whole post dedicated to your comment...and I'm sure the thoughts of many others. For now, however, I leave you with God's Word:

Ecclesiastes Chapter 3, pretty much the whole chapter.

"To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven: ...A time to weep, and a time to laugh....A time to keep silence; and a time to speak...."

More coming soon.....