I Corinthians 13:5, “[Love] doth not behave itself unseemly … “(KJV)
First let’s define our terms:
UNBECOMING: “unsuitable or inappropriate, especially through being unattractive. Not proper or seemly for” (as in manners unbecoming a lady OR conduct unbecoming an officer.) Also like an unbecoming dress (unflattering, inappropriate, or unattractive).
UNSEEMLY: “grossly improper … not suited to the circumstances; inappropriate.
not in good style or taste. unbecoming.”
Martha Peace who wrote The Excellent Wife does not mince words on this subject:
“A wife acts unbecomingly or rudely when she is disrespectful and not submissive to her husband … A loving wife acts properly and in a manner that is fitting. She does not respond based on her mood … She has good manners.”
NOW, in this aspect I really, really bristled a little at Mrs. Peace’s trite, easy assessment and somewhat “narrow” description of acting becomingly (or conversely UNbecomingly) – not that I don’t think she is right or biblical – but I don’t think it is always THAT EASY. I think I give a little more slack to women concerning their moods … mainly because my hormones have not been normal since puberty (except when I’m pregnant – and I obviously can’t remain pregnant forever!!); and I’ve dealt with my extreme moods all my adult life. I won’t go into my personal excuses for extended periods of PMS due to poly-cystic ovarian syndrome or the serotonin-affected migraines I have suffered – I believe – in part due to estrogen-dominance in my body; however, I will agree ONE MAY NOT blame one’s MOOD for committing sin. It is a dangerous thing – I think – to teach our daughters that “during that time of month” they may act or react however they “feel like” – they (and we) have to learn to cope in real life (even if that means hiding out or laying low for a day or two occasionally!). I won’t go further into that subject – but I seriously do think men/friends need to be aware of hormones and cycles and their effects on a woman AS WELL AS the fact that I believe there ARE cases of serious hormonal deficiencies and imbalance – as in CLINICAL REASONS for mood swings, etc. Unfortunately, those of us who have to deal with these things will have a harder “row to hoe” as they say. (and no, I never intended to even GO THERE with this subject at all … THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE ABOUT LOVE – and I’m chasing rabbits.)
Soooooooo, let’s look to our logical, steady male commentator Matthew Henry about this subject instead:
He very succinctly and reasonably says, “[Love] does nothing out of place or time; but behaves with courtesy and good-will towards all men.”
Think of behavior that IS seemly and becoming. It acts appropriately, politely, attractively, and well-mannered. Love knows how to behave IN PUBLIC and IN PRIVATE. It doesn’t let a bad mood ruin EVERYONE’S day. Sometimes that means FAKE IT TIL YOU MAKE IT and ask God to help you MEAN IT.