I have allowed myself to become like Mrs. Bennett from the overwhelmingly popular novel Pride and Prejudice. It is true. A few years ago, my daughter had the privilege of playing the most coveted female role ever, Elizabeth Bennett. As I sat there (bursting with pride, I might add) I found myself fascinated with Mrs. Bennett. She’s such a fun character to laugh at…that is, until you realize that you have become like her!
The first characteristic I noticed in poor Mrs. Bennett is that her only ambition is to see her children married well. I must admit that as my children are approaching marriage age I have found myself often dreaming up imaginary romances for them. Unfortunately, I have directed their eyes to many an eligible bachelor or bachelorette rather than directing them to focus on God. I have prayed for my children’s spouses, whomever they may be, and I don’t want to ruin any of the plans God has for them by distracting them from what they should be focusing on: God’s desires for their life.
Next, I noticed that Mrs. Bennett’s nerves were always shot. Whatever happened in the Bennett home, she was either in spasms of terror, the depths of despair, or squealing with delight. Consequently, her husband and adult children and her entire neighborhood never took her very seriously. Unfortunately, I feel it incumbent upon myself to inform you…that I have found myself highly emotional at times. Proverbs 31 speaks of a woman who is clothed in dignity. This woman is a very sensible woman, not moved by her own circumstances, but easily moved in compassion for the circumstances of others.
Mrs. Bennett is about as discreet as Howard Stern. She does not follow any protocol, and her outbursts of emotion are an embarrassment to her entire family. She drinks too much, eats too much and talks too much. The only thing she does not do too often is think. How often have I spoken before I thought things through! I am sure that I have brought embarrassment to my family and myself more times than I care to remember. Discretion is defined as the quality of behaving or speaking in such a way as to avoid social embarrassment or distress. “As a ring of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a lovely woman who lacks discretion.” (Proverbs 11:22, NKJV)
Lastly, I find Mrs. Bennett to be quite the worrier. At one point she even imagines that Mr. Bennett will be killed in a dual and that she and the girls will be turned out of the house by Mr. Collins. I have been ravaged by irrational fears from time to time, and never once has any of them come to pass. Worry about the future brings discontent to the present.
Though Mrs. Bennett is a rather likeable character, she is not to be admired or taken seriously; and certainly not to be imitated. She, in fact, is almost the direct opposite of the Proverbial woman. God’s Word transforms and changes us, where we cannot change ourselves. Therefore I will endeavor to allow His Word to change me into His likeness….even when I have been looking a little like Mrs. Bennett.
Rev. Deb Koster
Rev. Dr. Rob Toornstra