To the Quiet and Gentle Spirit
To the Quiet and Gentle Spirit:
Confronting Societal Lies with Biblical Truth
BY KARA TRIBOULET
I remember the first time I was called ugly. I was 12 years old.
At that particular moment my inner thoughts, the things I was harboring in my heart, were blurted out for all to hear.
I was playing a game of volleyball with my classmates and overheard the conversation.
“Kara? She’s ugly.”
I looked over at the sound of my name, my face beginning to burn as it turned bright red.
The boy who said it didn’t know I was within earshot. His back was facing me. But the wide-eyed look on his friend’s face told him I was right behind him. He turned around and we made eye contact. He looked sorry but never said a word. I immediately turned away and pretended I heard nothing.
You see, I was never completely satisfied with what I looked like. I was shorter than everyone else. I hit puberty later than everybody else. Up to that point, I was never the girl boys liked. Or at least I was never liked by the boys I wanted to be liked by. In my eyes, I was the small, goodie-two-shoes with a low ponytail, braces and everything that boy said that day: ugly.
As followers of Jesus, we’re always told that what the world considers beautiful or attractive is not what we should mimic in our own lives. The models are photoshopped, certain body parts are enhanced, there are personal trainers involved and special diets. Although we know this, we still get caught up in it. I know I have, and often still do.
No, I don’t look at magazines and think “I need to look like that.” But somehow society has broken into my subconscious and whispers lies in my ear when I look in the mirror. It’s the battle. The I know my worth comes from Jesus so how I feel about what I look like doesn’t really matter but … why doesn’t my hair look like hers, why does my body look like this, why doesn’t my body look like that, why do I struggle while others seem to have it all together?
These questions, my friend, are being birthed from the lies.
I discovered some Truth a few years after that day I was called ugly. It comes from 1 Peter 3:3-4 and when I found it, I typed it up, printed it out, and stuck on the inside of my school binder so I could read it anytime I felt insignificant, unworthy, and let’s face it, just plain ugly.
“Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.”
This is not saying that it is wrong to wear your hair nicely and put on expensive jewelry or beautiful clothes. But what it is saying is not to be concerned about it. What are the intentions of your heart as you put them on?
The Greek word for gentle in this passage is praeos and means considerate of others. To get a better idea of the meaning of this word, we can look at praeos found in other passages in Scripture.
“Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a PRAEOS and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ” (1 Peter 3:15-16).
“Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should PRAEOS[ly] and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:1-2).
When I think about gentleness, I often think about Disney princesses. But according to the context and true meaning of this word in this context, it has nothing to do with birds feeling comfortable resting on your shoulder as you sing.
A person with a gentle spirit is someone who is considerate of others. Someone who tells and lives out the truths of God in a manner that is not condemning or rude. A gentle spirit is a quality that God values in both men and women alike.
The Greek word for quiet in this passage is hesychiou and means to calmly bears disturbances created by others and does not create trouble. We can find hesychiou in 1 Timothy 2:1-2 which says:
“I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and HESYCHIOU lives marked by godliness and dignity.”
When I think about quiet, I think about being shy and introverted. But that’s not exactly what this is saying. A person who is quiet is someone who doesn’t purposefully cause drama. A peacemaker. Someone who respects others even when we disagree with them. A quiet spirit is a quality that God values in both men and women alike.
You are valuable to God. He values things about you that are not seen by humanity. You may not even notice them in yourself. God cares more about how we reflect him in this world than what’s being reflected in the mirror. Clothe yourself with more of Him. That is what makes you truly beautiful. Truly unique. Truly you.
So, when you get ready in the morning and are tempted to point out all of your flaws, don’t be concerned by what you see. Rather, be concerned about how you intend to reflect Christ that day through a praeos and hesychiou spirit.
PHOTOS BY CIOCAN CIPRIAN + ANNIE SPRATT