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Responding to Insults, Criticisms, and Rebukes

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Insults, criticisms, and rebukes can be really painful! But – they often do help me to grow spiritually as God uses them to prune and refine me. I don’t have to be afraid of them – even if they are a bit unpleasant at first.

Let’s define the difference between these 3 concepts. All three of them can be challenging to handle properly:

  • An insult is a hateful comment intended to hurt us just for the sake of causing pain.
  • A criticism is a negative comment or observation that may or may not be helpful to us depending on the source and the content.
  • A rebuke is intended to be a constructive criticism given by someone who loves us who perceives sin (or some kind of lack) in our lives and wants to help us to grow in spiritual maturity.

Our flesh has a very predictable way of wanting to rise up and respond to insults, criticism, and even loving rebukes:

  • We want to defend ourselves.
  • We want to feel highly offended.
  • We want to fight back and retaliate.
  • We want to insult the person who insulted us.
  • We want to resent and hate the person who said something hateful to us – or at least withhold love from them.

To respond in a godly, wise way to a rebuke or criticism, Scripture says:

  • Do not rebuke mockers or they will hate you; rebuke the wise and they will love you. Proverbs 9:8
  • Like an earring of gold or an ornament of fine gold is the rebuke of a wise judge to a listening ear. Proverbs 25:12
  • rebuke the discerning, and they will gain knowledge. Proverbs 19:25b

We can thank someone we love and trust for rebuking us, then take their words to God in prayer and seek His wisdom about whether their words are true or not. If the rebuke or criticism has merit in light of God’s Word, we can repent to God and to the people we have hurt. If the rebuke or criticism is not Scriptural, we may not need to do anything with it, but rather just quietly discard it. Sometimes another person’s hurtful words are from the enemy. It is important that we not receive accusations or insults from him – but only receive truth from God into our lives.

To respond in a godly way to an insult, Scripture says:

  • Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 1 Peter 3:9
  • Fools show their annoyance at once, but the prudent overlook an insult. Proverbs 12:6
  • “Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man. “Be glad in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven. For in the same way their fathers used to treat the prophets.” Luke 6:22-23
  • Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Luke 6:27b-28
  • Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Romans 12:14
  • Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Romans 12:17
  • Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Luke 6:19-21

It helps me to realize that someone who insults me is most likely dealing with spiritual issues in their own heart – what comes out of their mouth is about their character, primarily. Jesus said:

A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. Luke 6:45

I can recognize that for someone to speak hatefully to me, there is an issue between them and God and they are walking in the power of the flesh rather than in the power of the Spirit – at least at that moment.  I can choose to pray for that person, to respond in the power of God’s love, and not absorb the hatred. I can see that this person may be speaking out of fear, hurt, or pain. I can see his/her need for Christ. I can ask God to help me bless that person if possible.

I do have to admit, if I am constantly getting negative feedback (rebukes and insults) from many sources in my life on a daily basis – I can be tempted to begin to doubt myself. It is more important than ever to stay in God’s Word and to hear His voice clearly. Ultimately, His voice is the only one that matters.

When Someone Is Sinning against Us:

Sometimes, it is best to simply overlook an insult. But if a person continues to insult us and it is someone we need to be around a good bit – there can be times when we may need to confront that person or say something.

Matthew 7:1-5 and Matthew 18:15-17 give us insights into how God may desire us to do this. I have a post about confronting our husbands here. A lot of this material would apply to confronting others, as well. (There are other resources at the bottom of this post, as well.)

There can be times, after we have dealt with any known sin in our lives, and we have respectful and privately confronted someone (with right motives in our own hearts), and then we brought someone else with us to address the issue with the person and they still won’t repent – that we may need to physically separate ourselves from a person if possible.  (This will look different depending on our relationship to the person involved – whether it is an acquaintance, a co-worker, a friend, a church member, extended family, a spouse, or a child. The severity of the sin against us must also be taken into consideration in our prayerful response.)

Sometimes, I try to use a much softer voice when sharing a concern, a rebuke, or a correction (i.e.: with my children). I don’t want to be out of control if I must confront anyone – but I want to be gentle as much as possible and to have all of the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control of Christ. Then the conflict may be an opportunity to showcase the love, power, mercy, grace, and truth of Jesus. It may actually draw people closer to me and to God.

God can give us His wisdom about how exactly to approach someone who is sinning against us  – when to remain quiet, when to speak up, when to offer a loving rebuke, how to speak (softly and gently, or more firmly) when to involve other mature believers, and when to create physical and emotional distance when someone continues not to repent. It is very key for us to remain sensitive to and filled with HIs Spirit so that we hear His still small voice and can quickly obey. Ultimately, He is the only one who knows exactly what we should do in every situation. For more on this issue, please check out Leslie Vernick’s post and John Piper’s messages below in “Resources.” (Always compare anything any human writer says to Scripture.)

SHARE:

How has God empowered you to respond in a beautiful way to an insult, criticism, or rebuke?

RESOURCES:

I would encourage EVERYONE to check out this free download of Andrew Murray’s book Absolute Surrender. You can also listen to it online, as well, for free. Murray explains how we can have God’s Spirit living full blast in our hearts as we completely yield all of ourselves to Christ.

Responding to Our Husbands’ Constructive Criticism

When My Spouse Is Wrong

A Wife Responds Beautifully to Her Husband’s Bad Mood

A Godly Wife Confronts Her Angry Husband Respectfully

Bitterness

Forgiveness

Marriage – Is It Only Forgive and Forebear – or Also Confront? – John Piper (a message for wives)

John Piper Messages about Confronting Others

John Piper’s Messages about Rebukes

Give the Blessing of Rebuke – John Piper

How to Interact with a Destructive Person – Leslie Vernick

Verses about rebuking

Sacred Influence by Gary Thomas has some amazing real-life examples of wives respectfully confronting/rebuking their husbands.

If you are experiencing emotional or physical abuse, this may be a helpful resource to prayerfully consider – Focus Ministries – This post about the difference between healthy vs. abusive relationships may be a good place to start. I have not read every post on this site – the ones I have read seem to be biblically based from what I can see. Remember, please check everything any person says against God’s Word. Don’t accept someone’s words unless you test to be sure it is in line with God’s truth. If you have serious issues in your marriage, please seek a godly, mature, trusted pastor or qualified Christian counselor to help you in person. If you are seriously not safe, please contact www.thehotline.org or the police or a women’s shelter near you to determine what steps you may need to take to get to safety.

33 thoughts on “Responding to Insults, Criticisms, and Rebukes

  1. I was just praying last night that I would learn how to respond to criticism, which often feels like it occurs daily and moment by moment (which I know it is not). Thank you for this helpful list.

  2. Thank you for this, April.

    Receiving rebukes well is something I continue to struggle with.

    When these rebukes come from my husband, particularly if he doesn’t do it perfectly (but who could?), it can be quite painful. One thing I find helps is to quietly accept his words, take my pain to the Lord, and often then, once the “sting” is removed, I can see the truth in what he said. And I can then go back to him and thank him for the rebuke.

    1. Seriouslyserving,

      Thank you for sharing this. I have learned to take a very similar approach.

      I don’t think that receiving rebukes well comes naturally to any of us. For me, it was a VERY tough road to learn to accept rebukes and criticism. I don’t think I have “arrived” at perfection. But I do try to welcome and embrace rebukes now – knowing God may be speaking to me through others’ observations. Pruning is painful, but it is worth it when God empowers us to bear much more fruit for the kingdom because of it. 🙂

      Much love to you!

  3. This is a good post for me today. I’m having a really bad day.
    On one hand, I can deflect a lot of criticism, it depends on the circumstances. I run and direct a homeschool theatre group. I get a lot of “helpful suggestions” from well meaning mothers. If their idea is good, I will consider it, but more often than not, I have to say no with a gentle explanation why. I have a lot of experience in this area and I pray about it a lot, and I have a lot of people covering me in prayer. So oddly enough, in this area, I can handle and deal with criticism. It gets hard at times, especially if I run into an overzealous mother, but with God’s help I can handle it.
    On another note, if my husband comes home from a rough day at work, and hasn’t decompressed yet, and criticizes me a little too harshly, I remind him “I’m not one of the guys that works for you…” That may sound disrespectful, but it helps him realize he’s still in work mode.
    Ok, on to my bad day. I’ve been eating right, running, and losing weight. I wasn’t really too overweight, but I’ve been toning up and feeling better about myself. Until yesterday. See, I hate, hate, hate, hate, hate any picture of myself. Especially since I read that the mirror lies, and cameras do not. So any picture I see is an accurate representation of what I look like. And I hate it. This makes me sound vain, but I don’t need to be beautiful, I just want to be normal. To blend in. It’s my issue, I get that. So yesterday we stopped by a fall festival at my friends church. She insisted on taking a picture of me and my husband. She knows I hate pictures, passionately, but she took one anyway. And then last night, she had the very bad idea to text it to me. To add to the cruelty, she wrote “beautiful inside and out, a great looking couple.” WHY would you do something like that??? It is like people want to rub my face in the fact that no matter what, I will always be fat faced and ugly. (I understand that to some, especially pretty people, this sounds weird. But if you could see me, you’d understand.) Seriously. I’ve even seen people stare at me at the grocery store, like they’re repulsed that I’d even think I deserve to buy groceries. It’s probably just the freakishness of what I look like. I wear a size 8/10, but if you saw a picture of only my face you’d think I weigh close to 400 pounds. I’Ve tried to make peace with it, but in order to do so I need to not see myself, so pictures are a bad, bad, bad, bad thing and I do not understand why people don’t get that and why they always insist on taking them. So I guess all of that to say, a camera is a terrifying nasty insulting critic that I cannot deal with.
    And it always leads to fighting because my husband gets upset if he thinks I’m upset. And I feel so badly that he is stuck with me and has to lie day after day after day, and try to love me, and that is a horrible burden for a good man who deserves a normal looking wife. Although he won’t admit it, I know he’s horribly embarrassed by me. I try so hard to keep all of these negative emotions buried, but he is so perceptive. Then he gets mad at me for having feelings.
    So I was feeling more positive, but today I feel like why even go running? I might as well give up, because nothing works.
    And I know this is wrong, and that God doesn’t make mistakes, and that God might be upset that I feel this way, but I don’t know how to stop when proof of the unnatural hideousness that is me stares back at me from every photo. I wish people would just respect my wishes and not take stupid pictures or force me into having a picture taken. I go to great lengths to hide and/or destroy all photos of myself. Which sometimes makes my family upset, which makes me upset, and I wish cameras had never been invented.
    So to the insulting critic of the camers, the glaring harsh reality, I do not respond well.

    1. Becca,

      I actually think that it can be a good thing for a wife to let her husband know if he is being harsh. That doesn’t sound disrespectful to me.

      I have never heard that a mirror lies but a camera doesn’t. I think it is possible for people to see a distorted image in pictures, just as much as they do in the mirror – i.e. someone with anorexia would still think she looks “fat” in a picture of herself even if she weighed 80 lbs. So – I don’t know that this is a true premise upon which you are building your expectations.

      Perhaps other people think you are beautiful and maybe this friend was trying to help you see yourself as she sees you – beautiful.

      I watched an interview with Brene Brown last night – Greg asked me to watch it with him. It was about her new book Rising Strong. She talks about something that we all do whenever we feel “emotionally triggered” by something someone did or said. She described how if Oprah (who was interviewing her) was to respond to her after the interview in a short way – that Brene would probably start trying to make up a story about what had happened to try to make sense of Oprah’s reaction.

      “Why did I come on this show? I knew I shouldn’t have come here. Oprah is obviously angry at me and doesn’t think I did a good job. She thinks I am really incompetent and worthless…” and the narrative would continue to build.

      Brene said we all do this. We take a situation where we don’t understand someone’s actions – and we try to fill in all these gaps with our own understanding, ideas, beliefs, and assumptions. Then Brene said – that is the definition of a “conspiracy.”

      She talked about how much better it is to go to someone when we feel upset about something and be vulnerable and say something like, “You know, I saw the way you responded to me about that, and I started thinking maybe it was because of this… but I wanted to get a chance to hear what was really going on. Would you be able to tell me what your response was actually about?”

      If we don’t take on a vulnerable position and bravely seek to understand more clearly, we can come up with some very wrong stories to try to make sense of things in our mind. Then those wrong stories become our assumed truth and we treat people differently because of the narratives we have embraced. When we seek to clarify what happened, we can come up with facts and build our thoughts on them instead of assumptions and guesses – that are usually wrong.

      She said we confabulate. This is a lie we tell honestly.

      Confabulation (verb: confabulate) is a memory disturbance, defined as the production of fabricated, distorted or misinterpreted memories about oneself or the world, without the conscious intention to deceive.

      I pray that you might allow God to help you sort through all of these stories you tell yourself and any confabulations to help you discover the real truth. I pray you will trash everything in your heart, mind and soul that is not of God and build your life on God’s truth alone.

      I pray for God’s radical healing and regeneration for you, my dear sister! Thank you for sharing what is on your heart.

      Much love,
      April

      1. Hi April,

        Thank you for your thoughtful (as always) reply. What you said is interesting and will take some rereading and processing (as usual)!

        I hear you, I really hear you, about needing to trash everything in my heart that is not of God, and build my life on God’s truth alone. BUT, I honestly have no idea how to do that, to force myself to do it. Part of me wants to, but part of me says “no no no.” If I look in the mirror or at a picture, myself says “who are you trying to kid? You do not deserve goodness. Freak.” I know it’s wrong, but it’s what it is.

        I thought about actually caving in and talking to a counselor. But to my knowledge, our church doesn’t offer counseling, and there’s no way I’m going to some doctor who is just gonna give me “medicine” I don’t need. I’d consider talking to a Christian counselor, but they’d have to be Christian at heart, not just claim to be. And around here, I don’t know of any.

        My husband was depressed and angry (rightfully so, I mean we suffered a pretty intense tragedy) for a couple years, and I stood by him the whole time and did my best to uplift him. Now that he’s better, I think I’ve finally let my guard down and allowed my feelings to surface. What frustrates me, is he said today, “you were happier when I was miserable. I feel like the happier I try to be, the unhappier you get.” And I had to tell him that during those rough years, I wasn’t as happy as I seemed, I was trying to be strong for him. What I don’t understand now, is why I had to be supportive of him when we were both hurting, and now that I’m having problems, he wants me to just “feel better! Stop acting that way! Stop being sad! Just be happy!” Doesn’t he think if I could just flip it on and off like a switch, I would? It’s like he thinks since he’s finally gotten his happiness back, everyone should be happy. Let’s just forget the years of pounding my self worth into the dirt. Let’s not talk about that.

        I know God created me. I know God doesn’t make mistakes. I know in His eyes, I’m not ugly. I know I was worth the blood of Christ. I know all of that logically. What scares me is why I can’t just live what I know and get on with things. I actually would prefer if people would just be real and stop trying to convince me of beauty I will never see and lies I will never believe. I feel stuck.

        1. Becca,

          What happened when you were reading Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free? Were you able to see some lies and see what God’s truth was, my sweet friend?

          The things you say to yourself are awfully toxic. Are you unwilling to let go of the idea that you don’t deserve love or goodness?

          What if you are right? What if you truly are a hideously deformed woman? Similar to the elephant man, maybe?

          What is true about you in that case?

          Do you not get to receive God’s love, your husband’s love, the love of your friends, and family – because of the shape of your head or face?

          Where is that idea from?

          Your worth does not come from external measurements of your body, my sister! It comes from God who made you. God created you – therefore you have worth. No, none of us are worthy of the love of God because we are all sinners. But we have great worth in Christ – not because we earned it or deserved it – but because God decided to love us.

          I believe that you will not be able to receive the love of your husband until you are able to receive God’s love for you.

          Don’t even the most grotesquely misshapen people qualify for God’s love? Did you see the picture last year, I think it was, of the baby born without eyes? Is that baby any less precious because of its deformity? Absolutely not! A baby is precious because it is a person made in God’s image. Every human is precious because we are created by God, in His image.

          Until you deal with the deep foundational fixed beliefs you have and are willing to ruthlessly question your core beliefs and compare them to Scripture and do the painful heart work – you will continue to be stuck.

          Much love to you!

          1. Hi April,

            I stopped reading the book some time ago. I forget why, but there was something about it that rubbed me the wrong way.

            All people deserve God’s love. For some bizarre reason, it is only myself I have issues with. I’m actually quite compassionate to others.

            I’ve been thinking on your other questions, and I’ll get back to you soon. Thank you for talking to me.

          2. Becca,

            I’m really sad you quit reading that book. I think it could have been a key to letting go of a lot of the distorted and warped thinking that keeps you stuck.

            Thanks for thinking about these questions. Until you are willing to really dig to get to the bottom of your motives and fixed beliefs and question them in light of God’s Word – you will be in this miserable place.

            Spoke with a wife last week who actually admitted she prefers being miserable and doesn’t want to receive good things from God or her husband, that she prefers conflict, tension, and feeling upset to receiving love from God and her husband. Breaks my heart.

            You are a daughter of God – so I pray you will be willing to treat yourself with the same compassion, kindness, and decency that you would use with your own daughter or with others.

            Much love!

            April

          3. Hi April,

            I really couldn’t remember why I stopped reading the book. So I hopped back on the kindle, and realized why. It was still on the last chapter I read. Chapter 27 “It’s up to us to determine the size of our family.” The author really attacks the reader in this chapter if they have any kind of birth control in their life, including natural family planning.

            I have always felt like a failure for only having two children. Amongst my friends and fellow homeschoolers, I am an abnormality. Most families I know have 4, 5, even 8 kids! Which is a blessing. But here’s my story.

            When I had my first son, I hemmoraged, repeatedly. I ended up having to have surgery to get the bleeding to stop. After a few years, we felt led to have another child. With the doctors blessing. We were blessed with another son, and after the delivery, the doctors told me it would be in my best interest to not have any more children. At the risk of bleeding too much. So we do our best to use NFP to not risk my life. I want to raise the children God gave me.

            I can hear the attackers now, “oh you should trust God, He will decide if you bleed to death or not.” Yes, I should. And I believe I do. And I believe God has blessed us with good doctors to help guide us.

            But after reading the chapter about how anyone who does any kind of family planning is an awful feminist who doesn’t trust God, well, that put a bad taste in my mouth for the book and so I stopped reading it. Parts of it were helpful and eye opening, and parts were offensive. The author is very opinionated, and at times she comes off as self centered. The are several parts where I felt she came off as self righteous.

            So, especially seen through my filter of inadequacy due to the fact that I was medically advised not to get pregnant again, (which the author seems to feel makes me a “bad” Christian), that part of the book made me angry and hurt.

            I also believe God is more powerful than natural family planning, and if He wanted me to have another child, I would become pregnant. If I were to get pregnant, of course I would carry and deliver the child, even if it was to endanger my own life. After discussing it with my husband, we decided not to get pregnant on purpose. If that makes me a horrendous person in the author’s eyes, so be it.

            Anyhow, sorry that was so long, but that’s why I stopped reading that book.

          4. Becca,

            I was told after my second child that if I attempted another pregnancy, it was very likely my uterus would rupture and both the baby and I would likely die. We decided not to risk it.

            You know what your motives are and why you are choosing not to have another baby. So – skip that chapter, my dear friend. I don’t believe she was talking about situations where it would be medically dangerous to have another baby.

            Whether you use that book to help you with the other lies you are dealing with, or you use another source – my biggest concern is that you face the fixed core beliefs you have about yourself, God, your husband, and marriage and compare them to the truth of God’s Word and get rid of anything that is not of God.

            🙂

            Much love!

            April

        2. Becca,

          I guess a few basic questions I would have would be – where do you believe is the source of truth? Your wisdom, your ideas, assumptions, fixed beliefs, your perspective of reality, insults people have said to you, and your feelings – or God’s Word?

          Do you want to know and receive God’s truth?

          What would you have to give up in order to have all of Him that you don’t want to give up?

          Is it painful to think about receiving God’s love, even though you don’t deserve it? (Because we are all in that boat!)

          What would happen if you truly trusted God and yielded all of yourself and your understanding to Him and stopped leaning on your own understanding, but trusted in the Lord with all your heart?

          There is major fear here. What is the deepest fear beneath your perception of yourself? What would be so awful if you received good things?

          Do you actually enjoy feeling miserable and loathing yourself? Does it feel safer to think negatively about yourself and others and God? Do you maybe think you can somehow protect your heart from pain or rejection by putting up those walls?

          Much love!

          1. Hi April,

            I just spent about an hour answering these questions and then deleted the whole thing. It was too long, and I guess kind of like the Brene Brown piece you referred to, I told myself I shouldn’t be sharing so much. I know it annoys you, I know it annoys your readers, and let’s face it, this is the peaceful wife blog, not the let’s all help Becca with her issues blog.

            Those could very well be my perceptions, or confabulations, but I don’t want to take up too much space.

            To answer a few things briefly. God doesn’t make mistakes. I know and believe that. So what I look like is what he wanted me to look like. I know and believe that. I don’t like what I look like, but that’s just too bad and I need to just suck it up and move on cause it’s getting old. Got it.

            No I am not happy being unhappy. That seems like a bizarre thing to even think. But I am terrified of telling myself untruths and running around acting all like “oh I’m so beautiful and wonderful” when I know everyone is thinking “oh here’s that fat annoying weirdo who has never accomplished anything worth doing.” No thank you.

            So is there fear? I guess so. I never looked at it that way.

            I don’t think negatively about God at it kind of annoys me that you’d even suggest that. If it weren’t for God, I’d have been gone a long time ago, and not able to look forward to eternal life in Heaven. If it weren’t for God and his blessings, I wouldn’t have my husband and children. I would have a much more negative thought process about everything. I know when I share my thoughts here I seem totally self centered, but I am actually pretty nice to everyone else, and I do try to share The gospel with others.

            Do I have a hard time accepting love? Yep. Why? I don’t know. Experience, I guess.

            Does it feel safer to think negatively about myself. Yep. And others? I do not think negatively about others. I think most people truly are beautiful and each one has something special about them.

            Do I think I can somehow protect myself from pain or rejection by putting up walls? Not entirely, but it’s better than no walls. It’s better than being naive. It’s better than facing the world unprotected by walls.

            In your post you mention when you get negative feedback from multiple sources you can begin to doubt yourself. Been there. Still there. And in fact, at the church we used to go to, they ALWAYS preached negativity. They always pointed out everything that everyone did wrong. Not personally, but I mean all the stuff about not being a “good” Christian. Like if you ever listened to a song with a drum in it, or wore pants to shovel snow in, or didn’t attend all four services, you might not really be saved. Legalistic? Yeah, kinda. We don’t go there anymore, but it took its toll. I’m not even doing the Christianity thing right! So on the one hand my extended family tells me I’m a religious freak, and the church was telling me I wasn’t Christian enough. I’m just not smart enough to do anything right.

            Okay, enough of that. This is getting too long again. Sorry.

            Thank you for caring!
            Becca

          2. Becca,

            Yes, that first paragraph with your assumptions about how I think and how my readers think does include confabulations. I’m glad you realized that!

            I – for one – am not annoyed – but am willing to do anything I can to help you find healing. That is my goal. I love you dearly and want to see you live in the abundant life that Jesus already died to provide for you.

            I wish I could somehow explain things more clearly. But I trust that God will continue to work in you to help you see all that He desires for you to see. 🙂

            I’m not sure it is possible to hate yourself and at the same time completely trust and love Christ.

            Why does it matter what other people think, my dear sister? Why isn’t God’s opinion of you all that matters? Couldn’t you be filled with thankfulness for the gifts He has given to you and filled with His joy – not because you are so wonderful, but because HE is so wonderful? No one can take that away from you!

            Do you believe that you are receiving all that God desires to give to you?

            Do you want to be able to access all of God’s love and all of the abundant spiritual life Jesus has already died to provide for you? Do you want to accept God’s love and your husband’s love – even if it requires learning new things and throwing out old ways of thinking?

            Are you willing to embrace the idea that self-hatred is not a virtue – it is destructive? And that receiving good things from God and others is not prideful or sinful?

            Your walls are not really protecting you, my sister. They are destroying intimacy between yourself and Christ and between yourself and others. When we are vulnerable, we can get hurt. True. But you think you are protecting yourself, and yet, you are constantly hurting now. Your walls are actually repelling God and people from you and creating more pain. They don’t help you. They hurt you.

            I am really glad you are not at that church anymore! Yikes!

            I love you dearly, my sister. I believe God has big plans for you – as you are willing to trust Him and let go of control and your own wisdom.

            Much love!
            April

  4. Dear Becca,
    I am praying for you, right this moment, as I sit in front of Jesus in church, listening to my husband’s music rehearsal.
    You ARE beautiful, Becca. Your husband married you. He loves the adoring eyes which look at him with affection snd respect. He loves the tender lips which kiss him goodnight each night of each year you have been married. He loves your beautiful smile and the mouth which whispers “I love you, honey,” to him when he’s feeling down. He loves the arms which hug him and the hands which hold his hands. He loves the body which allows him to become one physically with you and which bore his children. He loves YOU, Becca. All of you.
    Rejoice in the priviledge of being loved. Love him back freely and let your beauty shine…
    God bless you.

    1. Organiccatholicmom,
      Thank you. That was an incredibly sweet thing to say, and I appreciate your prayers very much. Thank you so much.

  5. Dear Becca,

    I actually heard that cameras add about 7 kg to one’s weight, besides, pictures are 2D and we are 3D.
    When you look at a person, you tend to view him or her as a whole, not just their appearance.
    Once I had a trainer at work, and when she entered the room, we felt a bit uneasy as her face was so wrinkly and she looked йгшеу different of what one could expect. Moreover, we were suprised to find out that she was in her 30s, though she looked she was over 60 (probably some genetic issue), but you know what, after five minutes the whole group was literally in love with her as she was so radiant, so optimistic, so upbeat and interesting, and wherever we went with her, we saw that people absolutely loved her. Her personality was so vibrant that she appeared beautiful to us inside and out 🙂

  6. One thing that helps me when I’ve been wronged is to remember that truly, the people who are doing this have been taken captive by Satan.
    2 Timothy 2:24-26: “And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.”

    When I remember that it is only God’s grace that I am where I am (and truthfully, should be much farther along!) and only His grace that I am not still a captive of the enemy, it helps me to see that I could just as easily be in the other person’s shoes, being the one criticizing, blaming or just flat out being mean. And, of course, sometimes, I’m the one who has participated in treating someone unfairly or unkindly. :/

    Of course, when there is deep hurt, sometimes, it takes me several days – or longer – to remember this truth, but when God reminds me again, the hurt seems to dissipate very quickly. “There, but for the grace of God, go I.”

  7. I’ve learned, as a professional, to really ask for and welcome feedback/criticism. No one is more invested in seeing me improve in my job performance than me! But it does take time and intentionality to learn how to hear the hard stuff, sit through it, let your defenses rise and then fall, and then sift through to find something useful. I was criticized at work the other day by a staff member who felt one of my interactions with a young student was “harsh.” My perception was that it was “firm,” and it was dismaying to hear my work criticized and that someone thought I was harsh! I did not like that but I had to stop and think, “if this person thinks I was harsh, maybe it appeared that way to others,” even though my intention was to be firm. I need to think about how my actions are looking to others, and possibly soften my approach even more.
    Once you learn how to do this approach though, you gain two benefits – first you get really really useful information that you could not get any other way, and second, you are able to dismiss the criticisms that really turn out to be just jealous jabs and snarkiness. Win-Win!
    I really, really, REALLY appreciate it when I ask my husband to be honest and he tells me something I am doing that is not admirable. He chooses his words very carefully, but it still hurts a little (of course). I know, however, that he does the hard thing and comes out and tells me the truth because I truly value his honesty and he’s the only one I can trust to be really honest. Only your best friend will tell you when your ____ is showing, right?
    On a related note, April, I have always admired how you consistently validate your commenters’ pain and distress, before you gently confront. I had an opportunity to practice the same when I was on (stupid) Facebook and somehow ran into a discussion with an atheist! Although he loudly ranted and proclaimed he just didn’t believe in God, it was obvious that he had a lot of hate for Christians. Every time he tried to start an argument about Christians and history and Bible verses that he memorized (like stoning in Leviticus), I kept trying to be peaceful and bring it back not to Christians but to Christ, not to memorizing the words in the Bible, but living out the words of God.. .Finally, I came straight out and asked him why he hated Christians, and he told a story of having been hated, abused, and ridiculed by others while growing up in a Christian family. No wonder! I just apologized for the mistreatment he had endured and wished him peace….but I had to keep thinking of how you might have handled it. It was hard not to get sucked into an argument, but you can’t beat people over the head with the Word of God, that’s not why God wrote it.
    Thanks for another very helpful post.

    1. Marked Wife,

      Love how you have learned the blessing of receiving feedback and criticism graciously and allowing it to help you grow! That is awesome!

      I try to empathize with people’s pain before attempting to ask questions to clarify or to point them to Christ. I want them to be able to feel God’s love for them through my words – which can be tough without being able to hear tone of voice and see facial expressions. But I have learned a lot the hard way in the 36,000 comments on this blog! I pray God might speak through me and be glorified.

      I love how you approached this man. Thank you for sharing God’s love with him! That was beautiful. 🙂 I pray God might draw him to Himself!

      1. “I try to empathize with people’s pain before attempting to ask questions to clarify or to point them to Christ. I want them to be able to feel God’s love for them through my words”

        You are very successful. 🙂 I hope to learn to do the same.

  8. On one level, it either comes from God or it doesn’t.

    “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” John 10:27

    When we develop discernment, we know that messages we hear only come from God or the enemy–in the latter case, much like when Jesus said to Peter, “get behind me Satan.”

    It might not be so black and white–but it’s the Lord who speaks to us through what we go through, in some way or another. Praise the Lord. 🙂

    1. JC,

      Thanks so much for this. 🙂

      I pray we might be able to clearly discern God’s voice from Satan’s voice. How I long for us to embrace all that is of God and to reject all that is not from Him. Imagine what our lives would be like!

      🙂

  9. Thank you so much for this post. I just recently found this blog while I was looking for something to read that would help me with my current struggles in my young marriage. I dont take rebukes from my husband very well when most things he does seem to be foolish. Thanks again for the insight. This will help me improve.

    1. Betty,

      I don’t know your situation – but do keep in mind that if your husband is suffering from a mental health disorder, an active addiction, or is not in his right mind – you will need to take those things into account as you consider his rebukes and criticism.

      Are you safe?

      Would you like to talk a bit about what is going on?

      I pray for God’s wisdom for you!!!

  10. I had a long talk with a pastor last week and kind of laid out all of my usual concerns about the condition of the church’s ministry to men–I made a huge effort to be respectful and friendly. I was about “gathering information.”

    I don’t go to his church but I visited a small bible study a few times that he leads. I laid out all my general concerns about the status of marriage and what kind of support exists for men in various distresses. Proverbs has a number of distinct descriptions of good vs. harm that a wife can do to her husband.

    I think it’s interesting that you refer to Matthew 18:15-17 because I am reminded of how I’ve never known a church to practice this (handling disputes between believers) like the Bible clearly says it’s supposed to do.

    In his view the very idea of being concerned about the harm that can happen to a man in marriage is “selfish.” My takeaway was that I just wasn’t supposed to care.

    I’ve heard pastors give sermons to this effect, too, like ideas of forgiveness really amounts to not caring about sins committed against us, like that conflicts with the idea of “doing for others.” I understand that forgiveness is a two-step process of knowing that the sin and the damage matters, and then releasing the debt. And the church is supposed to support its members, care about and respond to harm and distresses and injustices, not just showing up with a lecture on how to forgive; forgiveness from the heart is of the utmost importance! And “treat him as you would the pagan” is actually a loving thing, with forgiveness of the heart, but the relationship is not restored until repentance takes place.

    Yeah, I was tempted to get very depressed over that, but the Lord spoke very strongly to me: “stand your ground,” on the whole issue in general. Proverbs 31 was written to men from a woman, and ends with “she does him good, not harm, all the days of her life.” Of course men are supposed to care. And so is the church–which was something I was trying to collect information about. :

    That’s something your message (April) portrays so well that is so often done wrong: a well-rounded message of what forgiveness really is, “righteous indignation,” sin against oneself mattering, forgiving from the heart and acting in grace toward everyone. It’s HARD to find that portrayed correctly in any ministry I’ve seen.

    As far as marriage is concerned, sometimes I really do think of how great it would be to serve a woman without a fixation of “what can I get.” Just treasuring her, responding to her needs in sensitivity, imparting whatever I have, bringing her along on the most meaningful journey I’ve managed to make out of my own life. 🙂 But I have to stop and wonder, how will I deal with it when something hurts? That thought has always been daunting to me–and seeing how hurting husbands are treated (or not treated) tends to reinforce the point.

    I think I do understand married men like this in general, though. And I know that he can’t give to other men what he doesn’t have and is in too injured a condition himself to be able to impart love effectively. In the end, of course, it’s true that the Lord can make me stand and fulfill whatever He wants through me regardless of the condition of my surroundings.

My grandmother is on hospice and won't be with us much longer (11-30-16). I will get to comments when I am able to but I need to be with family right now. Thanks for understanding.

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