Etiquette: A Customary Code of Polite Behavior

March 07, 2015

Have you ever noticed the way many women of our day sit just like the men do? Or how many ladies in our generation lack certain manners? What ever happened to women’s femininity? Has womanhood deteriorated to the point of allowing crudeness and accepting the death of elegance? What’s happened to actually being a lady?

When I was younger, I was somewhat of a tomboy: I acted like one, dressed like one, and could, in fact, have had better table etiquette. It wasn’t that I was never taught how to behave; my parents sent my siblings and me to a Christian school where we were taught manners and etiquette. But nonetheless, over time, I took on tomboy-like behaviors. Thankfully, after attending a conference called Princess Within, my haphazard manners were redeemed!

The way we behave in public makes a loud statement about our internal status and priorities.

Webster’s Dictionary defines etiquette as “a customary code of polite behavior in society.” Today, for many of us, etiquette has been sadly abolished from our vocabulary and behavior.

How often do we see the following among our young women today? — Actions that scream they crave being the center of attention. Boisterous, impetuous behavior and insensitive comments. A lack of consideration for others and an overabundance of flirtatious remarks to boys. Ladies, these behaviors may be “normal” in our society, but they do not reflect a gentle spirit, a mindfulness of good etiquette, or the face of Jesus Christ.

In today’s self-centered society, we can still choose to have good manners and ladylike social graces. When a true lady is in conversation, she shows genuine interest in what others have to say. She is patient, dignified, gentle, thoughtful, and caring.

Basically, once we take on the fruits of the Spirit, behaving ladylike comes naturally — as it should!

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).

We should desire to glorify Jesus in every aspect of our conversation and lifestyle. When you have been completely stripped of self and wholly replaced with Him, true beauty shines through. Your actions become more gracious and your manners more refined.

Training yourself to speak like a lady is also important. Psalms 49:3 declares, “My mouth shall speak of wisdom; and the meditation of my heart shall be of understanding.” There is nothing more refreshing than meeting a lady with a joyful smile who can carry on a gracious conversation, or whose love for the Lord shines through in her words — one who’s learned how to listen intently without being distracted by the activity around her.

We should discipline ourselves to be polite, choose words wisely, be clothed with humility, speak with clarity, and use positive words. We should stand straight, display a positive attitude, and worship God with our actions. It may not be the easy road at the time, but ladies, your good character truly shines through when you show respect for yourself, those around you, and Jesus Christ.

Slumping shoulders, shuffling feet, crude language, chomping gum or food, spilling “dirty laundry,” wearing sloppy and unclean clothes, having careless actions, and exhibiting rude behavior are all unattractive. These things show you don’t respect yourself as God’s temple, or His perfect plan for you.

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God (‭Romans‬ ‭12‬:‭1-2‬).

I often think of Princess Kate when it comes to proper etiquette — she’s always prim and proper. I doubt that she unloads dirty laundry and spills all the negatives about her life in social situations. Would we ever see her divulging all the secrets of her life while slumping and chomping gum with her mouth open? Probably not!

Undisciplined, unprincipled behavior can transform even the most beautiful of women into a distasteful person. If we want to be a proper reflection of God and His Spirit in us, we have a duty to uphold proper, ladylike etiquette and a tasteful lifestyle. While we’ll never be a princess like Princess Kate, we are spiritual princesses whose Father is a heavenly King.

“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers” (Ephesians 4:29).

Embracing feminine etiquette is a privilege and an honor; it should affect the way we speak, behave, and conduct ourselves. God did not create us to disrespect ourselves or others. Make it your customary behavior to live in such a way that exemplifies the very face of our beautiful Lord. He wants us to act in a gracious manner that allows our light to shine to the world.

Your customary code of behavior is a direct indication of your status as a daughter of the King — embrace it, and live intentionally!