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Be True to Your Word – Guest Post by Nina Roesner

 

respectdare18

From April:

I’m so excited to welcome Nina Roesner (author of The Respect Dare) to the blog to share with us from her new book! What an honor to have you, Nina. 🙂 God has used you in powerful ways in my own life on this journey to become a more godly woman and wife. I’m glad you are also addressing parenting issues, as well.

FROM NINA:

 Do you ever wish you knew what to do when your teen or tween is mouthy? Does that bother you like it does me sometimes? Do you ever feel like your teen or tween thinks you work for them? Do they ever get bossy and directive? “Take me here, take me there,” it can be non-stop driving!

Sometimes we forget to respect ourselves – and then we’re modeling the wrong thing.

I’m really honored to be back here sharing a dare on Peacefulwife.com! This story is from our new book, With All Due Respect: 40 days to a more fulfilling relationship with your teens & tweens (Thomas Nelson, 2016). I’ll be chiming in now and again today in the comments! Stay tuned til the end and we’ll tell you how to grab MORE parenting tips!

 

Dare 18: Be True to Your Word

 

“All you need to say is simply let ‘yes’ or ‘no’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.”

—Matthew 5:37

 

She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.

—Proverbs 31:25

Loretta and Jacob pulled into the driveway. Immediately Jacob scurried from the car and commanded, “Be ready in ten minutes! And I’m hungry. Make me a sandwich!”

Hmm . . .

Loretta wondered if aliens had abducted her fourteen-year-old and replaced his brain with someone else’s. Her family never treated each other like that. Loretta decided not to respond while she was irritated and instead chose to wait before addressing the issue. Giving herself that time helped her stay calm.

“Thank You, Father, for this opportunity,” she whispered.

Knowing that teenagers are frequently in phases of hormonal flux, she also chose not to take his behavior personally. Loretta sensed the Lord’s prompting for a teachable moment, and instead of carrying out her son’s request, she went upstairs, lay down on her bed, and started reading a magazine.

Jacob burst into her room. “We have to leave! We’re going to be late. What are you doing? Where’s my sandwich?”

Oh my. Father, help me be Your love to this man/boy.

It was time to push the reset button.

“Jacob, I love that you have all these friends and fun things to do. I usually enjoy taking you places, and I love to see you spend time with your friends. However, I have noticed that you have been increasingly bossy the last few weeks, and though I’ve talked to you about this a few times, you haven’t changed your behavior. As a result, I’m not going to make you a sandwich, nor am I going to drive you over to your friend’s house. You can go, but I won’t be the one getting you there. If you want to walk, that’s fine,” she told him.

His mouth fell open, eyes wide. “But . . .”

Then she got up, left the room, and went out the front door to get the mail. She knew he needed to chew on what had just happened. She chose to give him space to process.

When she came back in, Jacob was waiting. “You’re right, Mom. I’ve been really rude and bossy. I’m sorry. I haven’t been respectful, and you don’t deserve to be treated like that. It must make you feel like I take you for granted. I really appreciate your driving me around and stuff. Will you forgive me?”

“Of course I forgive you. Thank you for understanding how I feel. I do feel taken for granted. I don’t want to feel that way in our relationship, and your apology and how you treat me in the future will impact that. Thank you,” she replied.

“So can we go?” he asked.

“Honey, you can go, but like I said, I’m not going to drive you over there. Let’s see how things go, and maybe tomorrow or the next day I’ll feel like driving you around again.”

“But you forgave me. I’m confused,” Jacob replied.

“I love you and I do forgive you, but there are consequences.”

Jacob eventually managed to talk his friend’s mom into coming to get him, and when he returned, he was a kinder, more respectful, gentler young man.

Bottom line: Say what you mean, mean what you say, and keep your commitments—this will change your relationships!

There is a line we walk daily as we interact with our children between respecting the temple of the Holy Spirit (ourselves) and serving our family. Sometimes our children don’t fully understand our role in their lives, and expectations can creep in that don’t lead to mature behavior. It is important that we don’t allow our children to manipulate us into getting their way. Once we state that we are not going to do something, we shouldn’t let them tug on our heartstrings to make us back down on our decisions. Simply let your “yes” be “yes,” and your “no” be “no,” without emotion. Accept their apology, but once you’ve stated a consequence, follow through. This will give them time to process their mistakes.

Remember, too, that it is important to develop your own relationship with God so you know how to handle the situations that present themselves to you daily. If you stay connected to God, you’ll be wise to the enemy’s lie that you are a doormat when you serve. As a mom, you have the opportunity to gently teach the next generation to respectfully treat you with dignity.

 

What About You?

  • Do you ever feel taken advantage of in your family? Is it by your kids or in other relationships? If so, what might you do to push the reset button and set some healthy boundaries for yourself? Remember, boundaries are for you; they aren’t punishment for other people.
  • What do you think of the way Loretta handled the situation?
  • Notice Jacob called his friend’s mom to come get him. How would you have felt in that situation? If you saw the mom the next day and she complained about coming to pick him up, what would a healthy response—one that respected her and honored your boundary—look like?
  • Do you have difficulty letting your “yes” be “yes” and your “no” be “no”? Explain.
  • How do you generally react when your child makes demands of you, or are your kids considerate of your time? Do your reactions need to change? How?
  • Is your relationship with God so close that you hear His voice when opportunities for a reset present themselves? Discuss what might need to change in order for this to happen.

Pray with me?

Heavenly Father,

I will admit that at times I have allowed my children to take advantage of my generosity. Sometimes I feel I need to always respond to my children with love, so I continue to take them places and acquiesce to their requests when, in reality, I need to be teaching them how to respect others, especially me. Lord, am I modeling self-respect in these situations? Is there something I need to be doing differently rather than always responding to my children’s demands? I love that You know me, Lord. Give me strength to teach my children rather than just meet their needs.

Give me the strength and wisdom to hold fast to the boundaries and rules I have set for my children. Help me teach my children to trust that I will do what I say I am going to do. Let them learn from me to have integrity and be true to their word by letting my “yes be yes,” and my “no a no” – I need help with that!

May my prayer be Psalm 139. O Lord, You have searched me and You know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; You perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; You are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue, You know it completely, O Lord. You hem me in behind and before; You have laid Your hand upon me. Where can I go from Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence? If I go up to the heavens, You are there; if I make my bed in the depths, You are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me, Your right hand will hold me fast. For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

Lord, help me respond to my children well, modeling the truth that You fearfully and wonderfully made me.

In Your Son’s name,

Amen.

So what about YOU? How did you experience today’s dare? Looking forward to seeing you in the comment section!

And if you want more stories like this, feel free to sign up for them on our website at www.GreaterImpact.org We’re giving a book away to the 307th person who signs up for more marriage or parenting tips today! We’ll mail you a signed copy of the book!

Love to you,

Nina

FROM PEACEFULWIFE

Related Posts:

Let Your Yes Mean Yes and Your No Mean No (in your marriage)

25 Ways to Respect Myself

Healthy VS Unhealthy Relationships

Join The Peacefulwife for The Respect Dare – Expectations (for marriage)

Reminder:

There are about 24 tickets left as of this morning to the Peaceful Wife Conference in Branson, MO this coming Friday and Saturday. If you want to register, please click here or on the button at the top right of my blog. The cost is $25 per person which includes lunch on Saturday. All women (and teenage girls) are welcome regardless of marital status.

75 thoughts on “Be True to Your Word – Guest Post by Nina Roesner

  1. This is really good! I have struggled with this as I have 2 teens in my house and with marriage struggles too. I have been very much led by God to learn how the gift of “consequences and boundaries” can increase respect for each other and draw us all closer. I’m so grateful to have learned respect from Nina and April as a form of love due to the marriage issues, but I can also be thankful that those same lessons have spilled over into helping to deal with the teen issues. I would have been very steam rolled had I not had to learn this. God knows our next steps, I think He was preparing me through those fire trials to learn how to handle even more than a marriage, but ANY relationship. Thank you so much for your wonderful insight.

    1. 100% of any good you see in me, beautiful, is our Lord! He is so good – and He leads well. I’ll be doing a series on conflict on the blog soon as part of our launch for the book!

      Love to you,
      Nina

      1. Nina,

        So true! Anything good in any of us is totally a God thing. 🙂 Looking forward to your series on conflict! Thanks so much for contributing this post today. I know it will be a huge blessing to many wives/moms.

  2. Just in time. I’m having the same problem with my children. Last night, my older two decided to laugh and cut up instead of getting ready for bed in a timely manner – so I decided to not allow them to stay up and watch a movie with me. I felt like a horrible mom for being upset with them and not spending time with them. We don’t get a lot of time together, and I was looking forward to it just like they were. This makes me feel better about my decision last night – and re enforces the insight I had this morning about having self respect and modeling that for my children.

    1. Jessica! So glad you are here! And my mother’s heart goes out to you – I get it. I want the same things, and I just want to encourage you that the decision you made in the short will give you a great harvest in the long. Way to steward your time with these people! I personally know how hard some of these decisions are, but applaud you for standing for Him. 🙂
      Love to you,
      Nina

  3. Thanks for this! My children are still young, but it’s good to reflect on the importance for following through even now. For me, I can find it difficult to follow through when the consequence I have given is too harsh, and then I feel badly and give in. So I need that pause, like you said, to seek God in the situation rather than give a strong consequence out of frustration. God bless

  4. Jenny,
    You are wise! And 110% spot-on – it starts when they are little, but follow through is huge. HUGE. And can I just offer one small other thing that might help you? I don’t know if it will, but it helped me a lot to know what I was majoring it – we “majored in the majors and minored in the minors” meaning, knowing what boundaries, rules, principles, whatever you want to call them, were “firm” and which others were “negotiable.” When my kids were little, bedtime was both. 90% of the time, it was firm. When something special, like a visit from gramma and special outing that kept us up a little later happened, it was clearly an exception.

    I know you’re smart and can tell which things need to be non-negotiable and which can be flexible. And so I just want to encourage you to PAUSE soon, and with your husband, pound out what those things are – post them on the frig, and stand together. 🙂 You’ll be friends with these kiddos when they are 25.

    1. Thanks for the tip:) And for the important reminder that they don’t have to like what we do now, but they’ll understand when they’re older.

  5. I cannot tell you how long I struggled as a Christian mom, unequally yoked, to figure out this truth. I spent years, yes years, internally wrestling with how to raise my kids. As an unbeliever, my husband was not one to willingly jump on board with any kind of consequences/boundaries with our kids. It was left to me, which was hard. And, then I would question whether I really was a bad or mean mom for not catering to my kids’ every desire. I knew Christ lived in me, and I struggled with how He would handle certain situations. If He was loving and merciful and “turned the other cheek”, did that mean I just kept ignoring bad behavior? I was so confused for so long. Which led to a lot of mixed emotions in me….which led to resentment and anger too many times.

    It wasn’t until I went through a crisis in my marriage that I can see the truth so clearly now. Boundaries are necessary and good and the most loving thing to do for everyone. I used to think that suffering for Christ meant that let others walk all over me. Now, I know that suffering for Christ might mean that you’ve told the truth in love, set a boundary and are suffering because of the fallout. I look at all of those verses so differently now than I did for the years when they caused confusion. Now, I am no longer confused and it is so freeing!!!!!

    Boundaries are a very new concept for me and I realized the other day that I was feeling really irritated at my teen daughter. As soon as I remembered “boundaries!”, I calmly stated that I had realized that her behavior was causing a lot of tension in our relationship and that, for myself, I wasn’t going to be able to meet her in her desires as long as she was operating in that manner. The atmosphere changed *immediately* in my home that day and chores and conversations were carried out pleasantly.

    I know I will be tested on that — at some point soon, she will forget and I will have to make the hard call of sticking to my boundary….

    Great post, thanks — and thank you, Father, for bringing us into more and more of Your light and truth!

    1. CIC,
      This is awesome! Thank you SO much for sharing what God has shown you. I would love to share this as a FB post, if you believe God would like for you to share it anonymously.

      Praising God for what He is doing in your life!!! 🙂

      1. Yes, April, you can share. Thanks so much! And praising God for what He is doing through you & your ministry and in all of us! We are children of the light! He will bring us out of the dark and confusing places in our lives and minds.

        1. ContentinChrist,
          I love that God’s Light melts away confusion and brings clarity and His wisdom. Such a blessing to get to watch how He uses the Light from one person’s life to touch and illuminate many others.

          Thanks for allowing me to use this.
          Much love!

    2. You are making me think a lot lately CiC.

      A lot! That is a good thing 🙂

      I want to repost what you wrote in another post because it needs to be repeated…….

      “As far as losing yourself for the sake of Christ… I think we have to remember we don’t go around looking for those opportunities. God is the One in control. As we can all attest to, our faith is and will be continued to be refined…. It is in the moments of more intense heat where our faith is being put to the test…. “Are you willing to give this up for Me?” . And for those who are truly new creations in Christ, the answer will always be a humble and broken “Yes, Lord.” It might take different amounts of time for each of those surrenders, but God is the One who is committed to finishing the work He began in us and will assure that the answer, for our good and His glory, will eventually be “Yes, I want You more than this thing or person.”

      But, Christ’s sacrifice was for the good for us. He didn’t sacrifice His life so we could remain unconfronted or living in our sin. I think that’s where the enemy likes to mess with our heads with this idea of sacrificing for others.”

      I have been thinking a LOT on this. A lot. Heaps. Lol, am I getting the message across?
      I really think that God is trying to teach me something here!
      My ears are open Lord, help show this stupid man what you want him to see!!!!!!!!!!!

      How to respect oneself. How to respect another. Boundaries. Inappropriate boundaries versus appropriate boundaries………………hmmmmmm

      Keep writing sister! HH

      1. Wow HH thanks for reposting her comment—I must have missed that one along the way, and I must share that THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT GOD HAS SHOWN ME OVER MY WILDERNESS TIME!!!! PRAISE GOD!

        It is so true—– That is where we end up—that place of surrender—– wow. I am in AWE at what God is doing here in all of us at the same time—— it is truly knitting together the Body of Christ!

    3. Oh amen, beautiful! Boundaries are so important – and the way they are executed can either build or destroy relationships! Sounds like you have a handle on healthy and holy now!

      He IS working! So good!

      Love to you,
      Nina

    4. CIC, Wow, I never knew you went through this! I am literally going through this myself—word for word what you described as your former struggles with raising your kids!!! TY LORD! Someone understands to a T what I have been going through—and just like you— no coincidence 🙂 — Ever since I started counseling and really read the Boundaries book, I saw how I was not setting boundaries with my son but just trying to control him and when he didn’t do exactly what I wanted, I felt I was not measuring up to the standards in the Bible and it was ALL on me to make my child behave every second of the day. I also learned in the wilderness something that changed my mind profoundly—- How can I expect from my child what I can not control in myself?!?! THAT PUT ME IN MY PLACE IMMEDIATELY! I realized that I had been expecting perfection when I can’t even make myself perfect. Ever since I’ve been back home, I’ve been practicing the choices/consequences thing with my son and so far it’s been going great. I have also been able to just let it go when he says/does something in his flesh—- I have realized in the wilderness that all that is, is a tactic of the enemy to get myeriled up and to act in MY flesh and to wage warfare carnally…instead of spiritually.

      Anyways, What I am trying to say is, WOW, You literally explained what I’ve been going through for so long up until recently as well—- and I believe God is speaking to me through you here to my heart, not only to confirm what He’s been showing me privately, but also to lead me to an older woman who has been through this already and who can teach me how to love my child 🙂 I prayed about that in the wilderness!

      I am grateful for ALL the wisdom here from April, Nina, and any commentor about these issues! 🙂

      Wow Praise God! 🙂

      Blessings and Love,
      Amanda

      1. Amanda, yes, can relate to so much of what you shared here! I would be happy to talk more about the things God has shown me in regard to parenting if you’d like. But you are learning things earlier than I did. That’s awesome!

        It is very freeing to realize that we can’t control our children or guarantee outcomes, even though everything in us wishes we could figure out the “secret code” to doing so.

        It’s very humbling to realize that we can point our kids to Christ, let Him love and train them through us, but in the end we have no power over their souls or salvation.

        Boundaries still working beautifully over here with my teen daughter. Haven’t had to remind her since, only raised my eyebrows once when she reverted back to some whining the other day and I guess that was enough to remind her. But, I know that boundaries don’t always yield the positive results we are hoping for. It can be very hard to stock to a healthy boundary when you are feeling the strain of some relational fallout. I felt like I needed to include that statement bc I would never want anyone to think that boundaries are about getting what your want or controlling outcomes! But, in many cases, I do believe they help facilitate positive growth and change in situations that seem to be stuck in a negative cycle.

        Oh! Wanted to say that I am really trying to be mindful of the spiritual battle that is reality when there is confusion or conflict in relationships. You talked about the enemy trying you get you riled up and react in the flesh… Yes! This is definitely a big part of what God has shown me through this time.

        Love to you and hope all is well.

        1. CIC,
          Thank you so much for your insights God has shown you—- I am exactly at this juncture where I know I have no power over the outcomes, and that all I can do is be a living example and point my son to Christ in all things! There was such a hold on me though for so long where I just couldn’t shake that thought that it was ALL up to ME! I feel so immature sometimes…… like I should know better how to handle situations and things. But lately, even though my son is only 7, I have been able to ask him in times that I feel I am being too overly protective, etc….I’ll say….Am I being too overprotective right now? And he knows if it is yes or no—for example if i ask him if he washed his hands after he went to the bathroom or things like that—- or if I tell him to be careful when he is about to do something he is definitely capable of doing—-it has opened doors of communication and I think he is seeing that I really want him to grow and learn to be responsible! The 3 weeks away from me did wonders. He spent most of the time with my father, and he learned so many new things that he wasn’t willing to do before like learning how to swim, go down the reallly big slide, go off the diving board—— I am so glad things are moving in a positive direction over here!

          I seriously think it has the most to do with whether I am being controlling or not—— if I am being controlling and not even realizing it—the reactions I get will speak for themselves!!!! If I am being pleasantly self-controlled in any situation—– the reactions speak for themselves as well!!!

          If you are interested in speaking sometime more privately, please feel free to email me at: manduhhh12@yahoo.com! Totally up to you! 🙂

          Thanks so much!

          Love,
          Amanda

  6. Hi Ladies, my presence here has been spotty as we’ve been going through an incredibly difficult time in our family. I’m trying to catch up, and climb back out of my self induced “pit.”

    My MIL is very sick, with severe heart failure. She’s 65, so still kind of young, and terrified. She’s had several procedures. We have been spending countless hours each day at the hospital. My husband’s family has so many deeper issues (most of which we stay out of). To make an incredibly long story short, my MIL hasn’t had a whole lot to do with my husband (he is the oldest, and the only one who is financially stable and independent) in recent years (mostly because she doesn’t like that he doesn’t enable her the way her other children do). So he has been hurt by that, understandably, but now that there is a crisis, she wants him around 24/7. He has been very good to her and really standing by her through this, but he also needs to go to work at least some time in order to keep making a living. She also wants me around to change muni ate with her doctors, as I have the most understanding in this area. I am happy to help her in this way, but I also need to see to the needs of my children. It’s been hectic. I get that this is life, but selfishly, my oldest is getting ready to go away to college, and this is not what we’d thought his last summer home would be like. So it’s been rough, and while we have been praying, and praying with her, and trying to be strong and communicate with one another – we have also been feeling the weight of it all and a times we both feel just plain worn out.

    At times my husband gets incredibly snappy and screams at me. I understand he is very upset about his mom, so I try to give him grace. But it gets hard. He also manifests most emotions as anger, and that stinks, too.

    I find myself regressing into feelings of unworthiness, being ugly and unloved. Believing all the lies I’ve been trying to fight.

    @Amanda, you keep referring to your wilderness time. I’m curious – is that literal? Did you actually go into the wilderness and spend time with the Lord, or is it a metaphor?

    @CIC, I find the boundaries thing intriguing. I’ve never really looked into it because I always felt it was the latest Christian book “bandwagon”. But I don’t know much about it. I have also always felt the most Christian thing to do was to let people walk all over me, to worry most about their happiness, to make myself of very little importance.

    On a different note, I do have boundaries with my kids, because I’m the mom and that’s how it should be. However, I do find myself, as they are now teens, getting upset and feeling personally responsible if they make a poor choice. My husband gets upset that – as he says – I take the blame for everything – but I usually feel that a “good” mother would have raised kids that make good choices. And my kids do make good choices, but they’re not perfect, and when they screw up I feel it is because I must have done something wrong as I raised them. I already struggle with never being “enough”, and this is one more area in which I can feel like I’m just not doing good enough, trying hard enough, making the grade.

    I can see I have a lot to think about. Lately I haven’t even had time to think. I NEED to find a way to find some time to focus on the Lord and to get back on track.

    1. Praying for you Becca!

      It is a bit of both—- i literally went to the middle of nowhere North Dakota for 3 weeks to visit my husband by myself. He worked 12+ hrs a day while i stayed home all alone with no car, ppl, internet, or tv—- all i had as my phone, books, journals, and a bike for random exercise 🙂

      I hope you take the time to get alone to refresh….. it is the most necessary thing to sit at Jesus feet!

      Blessings,
      Amanda

    2. Becca,

      I’m so sorry to hear about how difficult things have been. It sounds very stressful. It is wonderful to hear from you! Praying for God’s wisdom for you and your husband and for time to have your soul restored by time alone with Jesus, my dear sister. So glad you know what you need. I pray you will be able to find that time in all the craziness.

      It can be tricky to find the balance between the fact that we are to teach our children well and be responsible for how we raise them and yet we are not responsible for their choices. Praying for God’s clarity for you in this area – and for all of us! I think that is a struggle all moms face.

      Much love to you!

  7. This lays heavily on my heart when y’all start talking about learning to respect yourselves. I don’t believe this as a biblical way of thinking. The concept is faulty. I hope to say this as respectfully as I can, as my heart is truly concerned, not condemning of those of you who strongly disagree with me.

    When the bible speaks of showing consideration to others the way we do to ourselves, the point there is not that we need to consider ourselves more. It’s a given that we consider our own needs. We generally think of our needs day, noon, and night. We all are naturally concerned for ourselves more than anything, even while we may act like doormats. A lot of doormat behavior comes from fears, or not understanding our responsibilities. No, we are not called to be passive doormats–no, no no! But the answer is not to take more concern for ourselves, but to stand for God’s glory and for righteousness in our own lives and in the lives of those God brings to us. Our lives are no longer our own, but we are Christ’s and we live for Him, and for Him being magnified in us.

    In the example of a tween or teen needing to suffer consequences of a selfish heart–I strongly agree that is right and good. Yes, we are to teach those under our care and authority to become respectful, obedient people under authority. But the point is not so we model respect for ourselves. May that not be the lesson. It is to learn obedience to authority. We as parents are under the authority of God and Jesus Christ. We always will be under authority, and those who don’t learn respect for authority cannot please God.

    Does this make sense to anyone? Do y’all see the difference in the mindset of what I’m clumsily trying to articulate? How it still does not allow for doormat behavior, but points our hearts toward focusing on Jesus instead of ourselves??

    This pains me to say that often when this subject of self-respect comes up the focus seems very me-focused. I matter. I am important. I have rights. I don’t see Christ being magnified in that and I don’t see where, biblically it is supported. I don’t see it as part of church history theology. Are we as believers now more enlightened because we needed to respect ourselves more, all along, but the church fathers missed that?

    1. J,

      But – I think the issue may be that we could have different definitions of “respecting ourselves.”

      I didn’t talk about this concept at all for the first few years of my ministry because – to me – it was obvious that we (all believers) could have dignity in ourselves and that we are allowed to have and articulate needs and desires. It never occurred to me not to participate in decisions, share concerns, address sin that was happening against me, ask for what I needed, etc… I thought all women knew how to do that.

      But there are women who are at the opposite spectrum of myself (I tended toward control and disrespect, they tend toward being completely passive and giving up their personhood) who need to hear this message that they are legitimate people, too. They have embraced a message that they are worthless, that they don’t matter, that they are not allowed to have ideas/personalities/needs/opinions/dreams/desires. They truly believe that everyone else is much more important than they are. They need to hear that they have needs and that is okay, that they have desires and that they are allowed to ask for things. They need to hear that they are included in the sphere of legitimate human beings. That is what I am talking about when I speak of “self-respect.” That we acknowledge that we are real people who can receive God’s love and His truth just as much as anyone else. We can acknowledge that we have worth because God made us in His image and because He loves us and because Jesus died for us.

      I don’t see where that message is unbiblical – so I think I am confused.

      Now, if someone means, by the term, “self-respect,” that people are to be selfish, to only look out for self, to exalt self above God, etc… that is a problem. That is not what Nina is advocating and it is not what I am advocating.

      I’m thinking that this term is a trigger for you because of something maybe that you were taught in the past? Could that be possible? I’m glad you brought up your concerns. I think we are looking through different filters at this issue – but I’d be glad to hash through it together. I think we actually agree – but we are using different terminology. Does that seem like maybe what could be happening?

      Much love to you!

      1. April,

        Thank you for your response!

        I see where you’re coming from but I think we disagree in part. I know I’ve tried to explain my view on this subject before, and thought I’d give it one more shot before laying it to rest. It seems we will probably see things differently even if I elaborate. I don’t believe I have a trigger reaction because of skewed teaching. Honestly. But maybe God will show me otherwise, at a later time. I think I just have a different view based on my studying. It’s okay.

        1. J,

          I am totally open to you elaborating. Perhaps I am misunderstanding something. That is definitely possible. I want to be able to hear your whole perspective on this important issue. 🙂

          Much love to you!

      2. J,

        Maybe you have thought through a different way to share this message for women who think they are worthless and unlovable by God and that they should be abused and mistreated? I’d love to hear your approach in greater detail. 🙂

        1. J,

          I do want to say – that just because I share my needs and desires with others, does not mean my needs and desires are the most important thing. Jesus’ will and His glory comes first. We do not set ourselves above Christ. There are times when we set aside our needs and desires, but we do so from a position of meekness and strength in Christ, not from a position of being sub-human, worthless trash. Apart from Christ, there is no good in me. But when He is in me, all of His goodness fills me. It is ALL about Him, not about me. The way I interact with others is about loving God and blessing others. It is not about getting my way.

          To me, “self-respect” is about being willing to receive good things from God and from others and it is about being a godly steward of the personhood, life, talents, abilities, and resources God has given to me.

          And yet, I believe there is a balance where I have liberty to ask my husband (and others) for things I need and want with confidence, just as I can ask God for things with confidence. Confidence in Christ – not arrogance in myself. That doesn’t mean everyone has to say “yes” to me all the time. And my needs are certainly not the only consideration. But my husband does need to know if I am sick or hurting or if my blood sugar is getting low. And he likes to know my preferences. I want to know his needs and desires, too. And I want to know my children’s needs and desires. I think we have a responsibility to share of ourselves authentically. But it is a sharing of our new selves in Christ.

          I agree that the Christian life is not about “my rights” – it is about God’s kingdom. There will be many times that I will lay down my life, my will, my needs, and my desires selflessly by the power of God’s Spirit living in me to benefit and bless others. But it is not because I put the approval of others first. And it is not because I think that humility means degrading myself or sinning against myself. It is not about idolizing other people and exalting them as being equal with God.

          I appreciate your willingness to have this discussion and am hopeful that we will have a moment where things click so that I can better understand.

          Much love!

    2. Maybe it would be more biblical to say we have our boundaries, but not primarily for us, but for the example or discipline of others (ie. our children)?

    3. J,

      Yes, I actually kind of agree with you and see sense in what you are saying……I’m going to ‘externally process’ this for a minute 🙂 (as someone who doesn’t have the answer yet but is thrashing through this myself).

      BTW, I LOVE the way Nina wrote about dealing with the teenage son….he learned a lot through that!! To me, the mum was demonstrating true love for her son and it was motivated not by her own desires but by a love for her son. She was teaching him to value others.

      The word ‘Respect’ (from an online dictionary) means: a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements OR due regard for the feelings, wishes, or rights of others.

      So ‘Self Respect’ could mean: a feeling of deep admiration for myself elicited by my abilities, qualities, or achievements OR due regard for my own feelings, wishes, and rights.

      If I were to take that first definition I would basically call that PRIDE!!!!! I am good, I achieve a lot, I have many good qualities etc. This is totally a world view and flies in the face of scripture IMO (all your righteousness is as filthy rags, there is none that do good, no not one, etc).

      However, if I consider the second definition of respect I can kind of see how that is a good thing. I have due regard for my own feelings, wishes and rights (emphasis on the ‘due regard’). To me, this becomes a matter of ‘self worth’ rather than ‘self respect’.

      If I am honest, rightly or wrongly I am probably one of those people who ‘bristle’ at the concept of self respect.

      However, when I think of self WORTH a very different picture comes to my mind…..I think that I am SO loved by my creator that He planned on sending His son to demonstrate that love before He even made the world! I think that I am so worthwhile that He considers me to be espoused to Himself, a child of Himself and an heir to all that is. My worth and value is IMMENSE and I am starting to be able to value myself as God values me. I am worth God’s time! Wow 🙂

      Our lives are not our own, YES, but why are they not our own? Are they not our own because God wants us to give them up in some desperate denial of our own created need to be loved, to be wanted, to be cherished and so forth? NO!!!! They are not our own because Christ bought us!!!!! He said to us “You are worth SO much to me that I want to give everything I am to have you”. This, to me, creates in my heart a sense of value and self worth. Without this deep knowledge of my value to God through Christ, I do not believe I am able to value or respect others above myself. I am convinced that we cannot give what we do not possess, but when we posses the knowledge that we are of infinite worth to God then it becomes easy to value others and see their worth.

      TBH I think the issues lies in my/our understanding of the term ‘respect’. I am a high achiever, most aspects of life came ‘easily’ to me and I ‘respected’ myself (according to the first definition) so much because of my abilities, achievements etc. Other people looked up to me because of them but also envied me, hated me, though I was arrogant and so forth (but I couldn’t see that then). I was also horribly trapped because without those achievements I was nothing. When God in His mercy showed me how little value my achievements truly had but then how valuable I was and how much I was worth to Him, my ‘self respect’ per se disappeared but my ‘self worth’ went through the roof!

      I totally agree that God is the absolute authority! I have long felt that God is the absolute authority but I have not wanted to surrender to Him. But the more I understand how valuable I am to Him the more I WANT to surrender to His authority and leadership.

      Oh. My. Goodness………a big lightbulb just went off for HH just now about why the Lord tells us to love our wives as Christ loves the church…….crikey that’s powerful……..hmmm.

      In Christ, HH

      PS. I think this discussion is getting to the crux of the scripture “Seek to save your life lose it, lose your life for my sake you find it”

      1. Humbled Husband,

        I really appreciate your insights into this discussion. You know, the definitions we are using of various terms are so critical to our communication! I, too, would be repulsed by the thought of teaching “self-admiration.”

        When I talk about wives respecting our husbands, many women get very offended. Largely, because I think they are imagining that I mean they should worship their husbands. Of course, that is not at all what I intend to say!

        So I am really glad we are having this discussion because the word “respect” can mean so many things – kind of like the word, “love.” Different people would also have very different ideas of what “self-respect” means or “self-love.”

        When I speak of “self-respect” I am not speaking about sinful pride in self or arrogance – but about a willingness to reject the lies of Satan concerning my identity and worth and a willingness to embrace God’s truth for me and what He has done for me.

        I wonder if there is a better way to describe that, perhaps?

        Thank you all for hashing through this topic with me! I appreciate it greatly. 🙂

      2. This really made me smile today, HH. You very eloquently churned out both sides of the word “respect”. I fully agree with your discussion. I think self WORTH is a much better description anyway. We are so loved by God. “You are carved into the palm of His hand” , and ” every hair on your head has been counted”. God is the only one big enough to love each and every one of us.

        In counselling last week, my counsellor suggested that I contact my pastor for some spiritual guidance. I broke down in sobning tears at the thought of asking to meet with him. When he asked me why I was crying, I said that I know that pastor is very busy, I belong to a large church, and I chose to “pay” for help from a counsellor so that I was not a burden to him or others. Wow. I was surprised at how emotional I felt about seeking help from a busy pastor. My counsellor explained to me that it is his job to tend to his “flock”. Not to be afraid, and to call him. So I did. He called me back within 1/2 an hour to see what we could talk about before we could meet face to face. I still get choked up thinking about it even now. I wonder how many of us feel the same about God. That He is too busy to bother with one sheep in His vast flock, so we don’t “bother” God with our pain, hurt, desires, frustrations and questions. But scripture states that He will leave the 99 and search for the one lost sheep. We ARE that valuable to Him! As we grow in confidence that God REALLY IS there for us, always, then we can step out into this world with the armour of God knowing we are not alone, we have a friend who will never leave us, a Father who gently guides us toward that which is for our good, and peace and joy. Having self worth helps us know WHOSE we are, rather than WHO we are. We are God’s children. Anyone with children knows that you don’t love one less than the other (or shouldnt, anyway). Each one is precious, unique and loved. God is just that unimaginably omniscient to have millions of children…the Great Father!

        Thank you for the cognitive challenge, today, HH, it’s always a pleasure to have your insight here!
        Blessings and prayers for an unexpected breakthrough for you, my brother. In God’s name we pray!

        1. LMS,

          Ah, yes I can understand your reaction in crying about asking the pastor for help. I think we all have a natural tendency to feel as though we have to ‘earn’ time/affection/help from other people but when someone actually gives to us voluntarily and willingly it is very humbling and emotional.

          I think this can be based in three things, firstly our pride (I shouldn’t need help), secondly a poor sense of self worth (I am not worth help) and thirdly the fact that there are unfortunately very few people who want to help just because they love us (so we build up a picture that people are out to ‘get’ something from us by helping us).

          When someone wants to help genuinely out of love it can take us a very long time to trust them! And it takes a very small thing for us to pull back in fear from that person if they make a mistake. My DW sees every expression of love that I show as ‘manipulation and control’ because that is all she understands (and to be fair that is all she knew from me to begin with). She cannot see that I actually genuinely love her and want her blessing.

          Thank you for prayers for a breakthrough. DW is making moves that indicate a desire for increased levels of separation and permanency of separation. I very much enjoyed Bel’s poem. I have stuck it to my wall and thought about it a lot.

          HH

  8. Hi April,

    Maybe it is as simple as using the term self worth instead of self respect to convey what you are trying to share about valuing oneself? What do you think?

    I can definitely see that respecting OTHERS according to the definition I posted is a good thing (for their abilities, achievements etc). In fact Proverbs 31:30-31 says exactly that! “A woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.” But I would imagine that a godly woman would accept that praise recognising the gifts given to her from the Lord.

    Yes, love means many different things to people also.

    HH

    1. HH,

      Perhaps that terminology would be better and cause less misunderstanding. I appreciate your insights and will prayerfully consider them. Thanks!

      And thanks so much, J, for bringing up this topic. I am grateful! Discussions like this help me understand how people may hear me and help sharpen me.

      1. April, you are welcome! I think it would be impossible to present something in a way that everybody understood exactly what you intended to convey every time. I actually was helped myself by writing it out and thinking it through.

        Your conference is very soon. Praying for it, you and all attending. HH

    2. HH and April,

      Thank you for your responses to my comments. I really appreciate your thoughtful and kind words.

      Self-respect and self-worth sound like the same thing to me, though.

      It’s so hard for me to clearly articulate my thoughts. My brain almost blew up the other day after trying to respond to April and I finally decided to step away. (laughing now) This is not my strong area. But I will try to add to what I’ve already said before I feel depleted again. 😊

      We have value to God not because of our worth but because of Who He is. He does love us and there’s great joy and confidence to be found in that! The Almighty God Who created and sustains the earth loves us! That releases us from focusing on ourselves and to live for Him, trusting in His empowering us to do the things He calls us to do.

      To those who struggle with being doormats, God has not called us to a life of passivity. We have a responsibility to speak up in a respectful, winsome, timely manner when righteousness is at stake. It may sound like a subtle difference in thinking from self-respect, but standing up for righteousness sake takes a self-centered focus–and turns it to a Christ exalting motive.

      Now, I know this can be over-thought and then someone might say, “Well, can I ask for my needs to be met in my marriage?” Um, ya! But we can’t demand it. There is no scripture that I’m aware of that says we cannot tell our spouses the things that please us. We have that liberty to make our desires known and then humbly, joyfully, and gratefully accept when it’s given.

      To walk around focusing on how ugly we are, how inadequate we feel, etc.. is not God pleasing. That is a discontented heart that believes happiness is found in those areas.

      I disagree with the idea that we must think well of ourselves (in any way) in order to love others. God loves us and He calls us to love others. Christ set an example in how to do that. We are poor lovers of others when we are focused on ourselves, whether with positive or negative regard. Loving others requires us to focus on the needs of others and then looking for ways to bless them. When we are finding our greatest affection in Christ, and we are satisfied in Him and understand Him better, it is a lot easier to look for ways to give of ourselves because we stop looking at others as a means to fill us up.

      With love to you!

      1. This is an interesting discussion and I hope we can keep the conversation going… it is making me think a lot and I think it’s an important discussion to have.

        I can’t type a lot right now, but I did want to include this link that, I think, relates to this, although the focus is on the “dying to self” phrase. http://stevecrosby.org/spiritual-abuse/dying-to-self

        I’m having trouble sorting out my own thoughts in this (totally relate to your statement, J, that you felt like your brain was going to blow up!), but I do seem to agree more with the way April and HH are explaining how they see this issue.

        I would love for others to read the above link and weigh in with their thoughts.

      2. Hi J,

        Haha my brain is exploding too! I will be thinking deeply about this over the next few days 🙂

        CiC, thanks for that link. I am going to read through it and look up all the scriptures.

        I reckon this is an awesome topic and discussion.

        Love to all, HH

        1. Got it! I’m so sorry you haven’t been able to comment. Not sure what was going on. But I am glad this one got through! I hope to respond to your comment on Nina’s post in the next day or so. I am trying to catch up from all I missed while we have been out of town.

          Much love!

        2. CIC,

          Ha! Now that my comments are going through again.😉 I did read the first article you linked to. Just the description in the author’s first paragraph took me aback. Waaay aback. That is a frightening description. I’m not even sure what to say about it. I’ve not been in an environment like that before, praise God. Have you?

          I read some great articles by John Piper over the weekend that I found very thought-provoking and challenged and changed my perspective somewhat. He made so much sense in light of how I understand the Bible. He uses the words self-love and self-esteem. Don’t get hung up on that if you’re tempted to because I think what he says is very relevant to our discussion. If you’re interested, it’s here:

          http://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/what-s-the-difference-between-self-love-and-self-esteem

          I barely scanned the second article you linked to and have already have some feedback to share but will hold off until I read it when I’m not rushed.

          Thanks for contributing and joining in. Love to you!

          1. J, you know, I am really starting to think that, like April says, we all hear things through our own filter. As I read that first article I linked to a few months ago, there were so many things that resonated with me. I did go to school in a very legalistic setting and my mom was pretty legalistic, I think, for most of my childhood years. I think she has just begun to understand God’s grace differently in maybe the last 10 years or so, but we still view some things very differently regarding law vs. grace. Well, and now that I think about it, my personal opinion is that there is a lot of legalistic teaching in churches and that the body of believers is starting to understand in a fresh way God’s grace. Now, I know that will immediately set off a bunch of warning bells in some people’s minds (I know because I’ve experienced that reaction enough to know that it’s probably going to keep happening!)

            I do think growing up in a legalistic setting just messes with your thinking in general. It can sound so good and look so right, but be so twisted and damaging in so many ways.

            In a legalistic setting, you are always on guard. If you’re pretty, don’t be too pretty and tempt the guys, it will be your fault. If you’re talented or gifted in any way, play it down and maybe don’t even use your gift lest you fall prey to pride. If you are naturally a leader, that won’t do as a woman, because you should be meek and quiet. Add on to that a lot of the Christian teaching out there geared to women about submission and I just took on and believed lies that I know are from the pit of hell now.

            As I have grown in my awareness of the extent of the love God has for me — not because of who I am or what I have done, but because He sovereignly and for His good pleasure chose to do so – I have been set free more and more from these lies I have believed.

            I honestly don’t even know how to articulate or put into words the thoughts going through my head, but I do know that I can speak from my own experience.

            I was affirmed very, very little as a child – my gifts, my personality. I do remember my parents doing more of that for me as I got into my later teen years, early twenties. It was a very performance-based/obedience-based type of relationship.

            I think that had to carry over and affect me and the way I viewed life. I don’t know how, but I guess it did.

            I don’t know when this happened in my marriage, but I do know I got to this point where I thought my husband was so good and I was so bad. I started to see myself as a failure as a wife, as a mother, as a homekeeper, etc. I had such a low view of myself that I think that somehow affected the way my husband saw me (he began to see me the same). I think most of my closer friends and family would say that I have been very hard on myself. I remember when one of my friends said I was a perfectionist, I thought there could be no way, but I guess it makes sense. My tendency is to have a very high view or ideal and if I can’t reach it, I either give up and don’t try at all or I get down on myself because I couldn’t match that ideal in my head. However, this has gotten waaaayyyyyyy better as God has been setting me free in the beautiful steps that He is taking me through. Honestly, for the past few years, I have felt that my main work is to just rest in and get a grasp on God’s love for me so I have been somewhat lax about certain things in my life because, for me, that was the healthier thing to do. I focused on loving others well in relationship and let go of some of the things that we women think are uber-important in life, but maybe aren’t so much.

            So, as God started to set me free from this idolozing of my husband that I had going on, and as I started getting stronger in who I was in Christ, I also very much heard him whispering to me that I had value and that He was not ok with the way my marriage was operating and how I was being treated in certain ways. I can’t even begin to tell you how healing that was for me. It was a sense that I kept hearing in my Spirit over and over….I had value. Wow. I had never thought of myself like that. Or at least not in the way that God was/is revealing it to me now.

            Somehow, through all of this, I’ve just come to a greater understanding that the way God made me is GOOD and that my personality is GOOD and that the gifts that I have are GOOD. The way I look is GOOD. The fact that I’m not super-organized is GOOD and just part of the way God made me. I can see that, even though I’m not super-organized, I am stronger in handling relationships with others. These things are a part of the way God made me, they are not because of something I have done or don’t do. These are things that have been a part of me always. So, I esteem or respect those things now and I did not understand clearly before that I didn’t have to feel guilty for not measuring up to a certain standard that isn’t from God, but is from Christian culture….and that I could celebrate who I am and who God made me to be in Him. To me, that is what I think of when I think “self-respect”.

            I think we can love others whether God has given us this awareness or not…..I think if we have the life of Christ in us, we are compelled to love others, we have compassion when they are hurting, etc. It is just who we are now! But, I think as with so many things in the Christian life, when God brings new and deeper revelation into certain areas in your life, it expands and broadens how that love looks like as compared to before. For me, that meant learning that love doesn’t mean absorbing others responsibilities or trying to protect them from pain, but that love steps back and lets that other person grow through those hard experiences when necessary.

            Speaking from my own experience, I feel like a human more “fully alive” than I did six months ago and I find it incredibly interesting that even as God was dethroning my idol and giving me more of an awareness to see that He alone will ever satisfy my heart fully…..He was also growing me in this awareness of being literally delighted in being the kind of person He made me to be.

            I can’t theologically nail it all down by any means. But, for me, I think it directly correlates to the fact that we are made one with God. We are in union with Him. In perfect union. When we died on the cross with Christ, as Steve Crosby says in that first article I linked to, our personalities didn’t die, our inherent likes and dislikes that are neutral didn’t die, our gifts didn’t die…..but our sinful ego-self died. But, God wanted to dwell in PEOPLE!!!! We are the crown of His creation and He is pleased with us! We were made for His pleasure and we find pleasure in Him!!!!

            You know, I’m thinking about Becca now (Becca, I hope it’s o.k. that I bring you into this conversation). She has basically said that she had negative words spoken over her for much of her childhood. I think of HH — who has eluded to the idea that he was in a church denomination that might have had some false teaching, which a lot of, I believe, just feeds into this “worm theology” that the article spoke about, that we are worthless creatures.

            This brother and sister both struggle with the same kinds of struggles that I’ve gone through. I can so relate to them. Maybe for some of you, it is just difficult to understand the words that we are using when we talk about this new “self-respect”. Maybe we don’t have the right words. 🙂 But, I don’t think anything negative at all about the word “self-respect”. Someone who has a godly self-respect will not be trying to bring honor to themselves, but their godly self-respect is even more glorifying to God than a person who is operating under the lie that they are worthless creatures who shouldn’t even be here and that everything about them is wrong. They understand who made them, and are living – “fully alive” to the glory of God.

            But, at any rate, what I do know is that God has set us free in Christ and as we begin to believe and trust what He says He has done for us and who He is in and for us, we will see the reality of that freedom more and more in our lives. Thank you, Jesus!

          2. Hi CiC,

            Heh, that sure set off a bunch of ‘warning bells’ in my head :p I see so many people claiming God’s ‘grace’ living in blatant sin…..for example a couple of lesbian girls living in a lesbian relationship attending a local church that is showing them ‘grace’ by giving them leadership roles within the church…..that is surely a twisted understanding of grace in my view.

            And yet, as you say CiC, I definitely grew up in a legalistic church environment. My folks pulled us out of that church eventually but I absorbed a lot of it. I recall teachings such as the KJV is the only true bible, you must pray using only thee and thou or your prayers are not acceptable and STUPID stuff like this that I have now completely rejected. But, it is very difficult now to find my way forward and understand truth.

            I have read that Steve article several times and each time pulled away from it in my heart strongly (just being honest here). I do identify with the worm theology.

            I am naturally a very talented person and I know I am, I am artistic, have a high IQ, scored well in every sort of test, still hold unbeaten records for sporting achievements at the school I attended, was the lead singer in musicals, had much female attention etc. And my talents were very much affirmed by my parents, in fact I probably did so well because of their affirmation. My acquaintances say of me that if I want to do something I will find a way to do it. My wife says of me that the biggest mistake she made was marrying an Alpha male (ouch). But, these ‘talents’ destroyed me and DID cause tremendous pride and I do not truly understand how to value them (yet) in an appropriate way.

            At the moment EVERYTHING that defined HH has been wrapped up into a bundle and rejected by the one I love the most. So my sense of self worth has taken an absolute beating and I am very low. Focusing on what I am worth to God is the only thing that helps.

            Mmmmm. Lots of random thoughts there. HH

          3. May I please ask a question about what people see as legalism?

            This is my understanding at present 🙂 Legalism is essentially people trying to please God in their own strength by making laws to contain the sinful nature. It doesn’t work, I know, I tried.

            One of the ways people seem to deal with this is by ‘throwing out the law’ and saying ‘we are not under the law but under grace’ and using this as an excuse to justify clearly sinful things.

            However, Romans 7 tells us that the law is good, just and holy and Galatians tells us that it is a ‘schoolmaster’ to bring us to Christ. It basically teaches us that we are far short of God’s standards and glory and in doing so points us to the only perfect one, Christ. In that sense, the law has a specific purpose even still, to point us to the only one who could fulfill it.

            To me the freedom that Christ brings is not the freedom to do whatever we want (You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. Galatians 5:13) but rather the freedom and ability to live out the righteous life God has called us to.

            To me then, avoiding legalism is not distancing ourselves from the truth and righteous standards as found in God’s law, but instead acknowledging that we fall far short of these laws and seeking and enjoying the power and presence of the Holy Spirit to walk as God intended.

            Also, to me, when Paul says “in my flesh dwells no good thing” he is NOT saying that our physical hunger, our sex drive, our appreciation of beauty, our enjoyment of friendships here are bad things. This is another distorted view of holiness in my opinion, and one that I have struggled with for a long time. He is talking about the distorted ways we perceive these things due to our marred relationship with God. And restoration of that relationship through Christ restores these things to their right and proper place, to be enjoyed fully as designed.

            Am I near the mark do you think? HH

          4. HH,

            Anyone who is using God’s grace as a license to sin is in just as much error as someone who insists we are still under the law as Christians.

            Paul’s words on the matter of licentiousness are pretty clear…. however, I do believe it’s true that if you’re teaching the grace of God in a correct way, you will be accused of teaching licentiousness. Paul was – or at least was misunderstood (puts those who teach it in good company!) and I see it all the time when this subject is brought up.

            I agree with what you wrote, also, HH.

          5. Actually, HH, I think I want to explain how I see things a little differently on a couple of the points you mentioned now that I re-read your comment but I can’t right now. Hope to reply tomorrow. And hope you are doing well and experiencing God’s peace.

          6. Hi, HH!

            Just wanted to talk a little bit more about how I view legalism. I agree that people can create laws, as you said, to try to contain the sin nature. But, I also think there are many who are even trying to just follow the NT commands in their flesh – and that can also be legalistic – and in fact, many times seems to lead to twisting verses to fashion an idea/rule/command that God never intended. There are a lot of people out there who claim to be born again who have done to the New Testament the equivalent of what the Pharisees did to the law.

            As the Word says….they stumble over the stumbling block, Jesus. It is very hard for us humans to accept that there is nothing at all that we can do to add to the finished work of Christ and that we also cannot sin ourselves out of our union with God. The obedience that follows the new birth is a fruit and evidence that the Spirit is living in you and has changed you. The obedience is an outflow of the new creation life.

            Anyway….I don’t even know if some of what I’m saying relates to what we’re talking about, but I guess the main thing was that I think many people even use the Bible and not necessarily their own made up laws to try to contain the sin nature. Their focus is to try to contain the sin nature by following God’s commands, but God says that our sinful nature was crucified and buried with Christ. It’s dead and we can try to follow all of the NT commands in an effort to be obedient and contain the sinful nature, but the Christian’s first order of business is to really come to grips with and start believing that God took care of our sin nature and to reckon it as so. I know the first thing that comes up usually is “But, I still sin and so do you, so how can you say the sin nature is dead?” Now, we are getting into a whole other subject so I won’t elaborate much more on this except to say that I think there is a difference between our flesh and our nature. Our sin nature has been dealt with by God, but the Spirit and the flesh do war against each other.

            O.K., so the next thing that I wanted to say was that I think the freedom of a Christian also includes freedom from having to live by a set of rules or commands to earn salvation or even following rules in a desperate kind of sense to try to please God (hence, Paul’s warning to the Galatians not to be burdened again by a yoke of slavery and his encouragement for them to stand firm in their freedom – he was talking about slavery to following the OT laws). The freedom of being loved by God with no fear of separation anymore…..and yes, definitely our freedom includes being set free from sin and its curse.

            I love your last paragraph about how that verse “in my flesh dwells no good thing” used to trip you up and how you see that now! That is super helpful to me and I, too, have been tripped up over that verse! Thank you for that!

            O.K., must go – hope you all are doing well!

          7. CiC, I agree that the NT can be used in much the same way as the OT. HH

            Circumstancially, things are getting worse daily.
            I think I am going to break soon. I feel like I have learned the lessons God has been trying to teach me and I have constant reminders of His daily grace but things are getting so much harder. I fear this trial will not end. God may call me to bear a much harder cross than I realised.

          8. Humbled Husband,

            I am so sorry to hear that things are getting so much worse! 🙁 How that pains my heart!

            I hope to get to pray in detail on the blog tomorrow but I will pray right now.

            All,
            Let’s surround Humbled Husband and his family in prayer and all who are here who are hurting deeply and their families.

          9. Oh, HH. I’m so sorry, brother. Will be praying for you for strength, wisdom, and peace and for God to supernaturally lift your spirit above the circumstances and give you unshakeable joy in Him.

      3. J,

        I completely agree with all that you are sharing. I never want anyone to hear me say anything other than that Christ should be exalted first and that our primary focus is to be Christ not self.

        I will continue to pray about how to approach the issue of women who abuse and sin against themselves and who refuse to receive the truth, love, and grace of Christ and how God might most desire me to address those issues in ways that completely honor Him an don’t create confusion.

      4. J,

        I guess to me, talking about “respecting ourselves” is about thinking of ourselves rightly in accord with God’s Word. I do think we have to think about ourselves and who we are and what we are. I don’t think that will be the primary focus of our lives, at all, when we are in Christ. But I think we have to know our identity and that we have to know what Jesus has done for us and His promises for us and we have to be willing to receive His work on our behalf.

        Yes, loving self and respecting self are things that Scripture assumes to be a given about people – the command “love others as yourself,” for example. But there are some people who hate themselves and sabotage themselves. It is not a matter of that I think people should think they – in and of themselves – are awesome. No, we are all wretched sinners apart from Christ. But I need a way to explain to these women who are believing so many lies of the enemy about themselves how to think of God, themselves, and others rightly in accord with Scripture. I don’t really care what terminology we use as long as there is a clear understanding.

        I don’t think we can find our greatest affection in Christ until we receive all that He has done and said for ourselves and we acknowledge that God’s Word applies to us and His promise applies to us just like these things apply to others. I have to be able to acknowledge that I am a person created in God’s image and for His glory – as all people are. What do we call that if not “self-respect”? I can acknowledge that my body is God’s temple, for example. And I need to treat my body with respect because it belongs to God. That is a form, in my view, of “self-respect.” But it is God-serving self-respect not self-serving self-respect. There is a big difference between the two – to me! Modesty is a way of showing self-respect – respecting that God intends for my body and my sexuality to be used for holy purposes not for encouraging lust or for encouraging sin. To me, being a godly steward of my body, life, finances, and all the gifts God has given me could be under the category of “self-respect.” Right handling of everything God has given me to manage.

        Here are verses that – to me- demonstrate the concept of godly “self-respect” that I – and I believe, Nina, are attempting to communicate.

        Thank you so much for the discussion and for helping me try to better understand different angles of this issue. 🙂 If there is a more accurate or better way of explaining these important concepts, I am completely open to hearing them.

        1. April,

          I love you so much! Thank you for talking about this with me. My brain is absolute mush at the moment but I will respond another day. I have a lot going on. Sending you a big hug!! And a sisterly kiss on the cheek! x

          1. J,
            I totally understand. No rush. I love you dearly, my sweet sister. 🙂 Thanks for stretching my mind and soul about this and for sharpening me. 🙂

        2. April,

          This has been a super important discussion for me. It’s caused me to think hard, challenged me to read more, and I’ve gained greater understanding.

          When we started this discussion, I looked up several definitions and synonyms for the word self-respect. They all appeared to have the same meaning as I’ve always understood them. It has felt like we’ve been trying to take a word that has had a common understanding, and trying to give it a new definition.

          I remember when pop psychology was new and really big in books and radio talk shows, and it started creeping into the christian book stores, too. I bought into a lot of it when I was young. Now, our society embraces many of the concepts that are very self-centered and self-glorifying.

          When you said, “thinking of ourselves rightly in accord with God’s Word”, I was jumping up and down on the inside, saying, “Yes!” “That’s it!!!” Perfect!!!

          I think we’ve been trying to find a word that will rightly line up with the Bible on this topic and I don’t think it exists. In my mind, it’s far better to use a phrase that is fitting than to look for one word. Clarity above all else. Right??

          When HH (Hi! HH) quoted me back to me, I initially thought I was being mis-quoted. I laughed when I realized I had said what he repeated about our having value to God. It started a conversation with my husband about why God values us. I came away with these helpful thoughts…April, you have probably used these same verses in previous posts…

          In Genesis 1, after God created man, among all the other things he created that day, He said in verse 31, “God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good.” We have value to God because He created us and He said His creation was very good. He values us. We were made in His image. (I get a sense of awe over that.)

          Each one of us is unique and designed in very distinct ways. CIC, you already did a great job talking about that. I agree with you!….To think how many people have been created and have yet to be born, and yet no two are exactly the same–it speaks of the grandeur of God, doesn’t it?? And also, His intimate involvement in each and everyone of us. There’s not a single one of us He designed and then thought, “Oops! I didn’t mean to do that!” His purposes are always good and very intentional.

          Luke 12:6-7 “Are not five sparrows sold for two cents? Yet not one of them is forgotten before God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear (how very comforting those words are!); you are more valuable than many sparrows.” Yes, He values us! We are loved!

          I wish I could find it again, but alas, I cannot. One night recently, I was struggling with my sins of the day. I slipped into that familiar trap of self-flogging and was unable to embrace 1 John saying, if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. I was experiencing my own proud unbelief. I fell upon an old hymn online that I’d never heard before. The words were written based on the parable of the lost sheep (Luke 15:1-7). There was a line that so beautifully spoke of the shepherd finding the one lost sheep and gently carrying it over his shoulder to bring it back to the fold. I broke down crying as I read along. Somehow this image of Christ as the Good shepherd lovingly taking us as His little sheep when we have wandered far from Him, and gently carrying us on His shoulder was so endearing. We each have value to Him. He pursues us each individually to bring us to salvation, and also to draw us back when we wander far away. Ohh, what a Savior!

          This comment is all over the place, I suspect. But it’s among friends, so….

          Love to everyone.

          1. J.,

            I hope to write much more later… But it is frustrating that we are limited sometimes to using words that may mean something very different to other people. I feel that way about the word, “submission” so very often and wish there was another word for it. Other words, too, can mean so many different things to various people – love, honor, forgive, trust, intimacy, connection, friendship, rest, prayer, church, worship, Lordship, family, marriage, etc…all of these things can mean very different things to different people. That is frustrating because it makes it difficult to communicate clearly.

            I was thinking today about how we could “not think about self at all” and I don’t think that is possible, or even good. Yes, we focus on Christ and on loving and serving Him and others. But I have to be aware of myself. I have to make decisions about my life, my thoughts, myself, what I wear, how I spend my time, who I am, who I want to be. I can’t just imagine I don’t exist. I do exist and I have a specific identity given to me by Jesus – so, to me, the question is, how do I use all that God has given me and think about all He has done for me rightly. Maybe that is a better way to describe it. That would work for me. I pray God will give us clarity on this! 🙂

          2. April,

            I’m replying to your comment that I think will appear below. ( When you post a comment and there is no reply button, is that because you don’t want a reply or because the blog is simply set to do that? Just curious.)

            We can’t pretend we don’t exist and try to never think of ourselves, or be neutral about ourselves, or however else to say that idea. We matter to God and we have distinct personalities and have to negotiate needs in interpersonal relationships to create harmony and intimacy. That’s how I see it.

            There’s also joy to be found in delighting in the way God made each of us. An that I thought of from my life….One of the things that I enjoy because of God’s design of me is making pretty things with my hands. If I can be creative even in some small way each day, I’m energized by that. I don’t mean to be boasting as I tell you I frequently thank Him for the joy I receive in His design of me in that way. For someone else, it might be something entirely different and their joys would do nothing for me in my life because I’m not wired the same. But those distinct designs are gifts of tender kindness to us, means to marvel at His love and endless creativity, along with revealing other of His great and marvelous attributes.

            We do matter to Him. I say that in case my earlier comments have appeared to imply something else.

      5. Hi J,

        Thanks for continuing the discussion!

        I think I can see a point we ALL agree on without need for any discussion, and that is that it is DEFINITELY not God pleasing or healthy to walk around focusing on our ugliness, discontent etc 🙂

        I suspect that I actually do understand what you are saying. I kinda think you may be thinking that I am saying “God thinks I am worth something because I am important in my own right, or I have merit in my own right”. We don’t. Heck, He created us and ALL glory and merit belongs to Him and Him alone. Glory belongs to the Creator not the created, in much the same way as a painting is a reflection of the painters skill, not the paint.

        But to my half fried brain it actually seems to me that you ARE saying the same thing as I am……you are saying “When we are finding our greatest affection in Christ, and we are satisfied in Him and understand Him better, it is a lot easier to look for ways to give of ourselves because we stop looking at others as a means to fill us up” and I am saying “When we posses the knowledge that we are of infinite worth to God then it becomes easy to value others and see their worth”……..to me we are both saying that when our worth and identity is bound up in Christ and His love we are free to give to others…..we are both saying that we need to be filled with Christ before we can truly give to others, which in my humble view is the same thing as saying that if we AREN’T finding our worth in Christ we cannot truly give to others. I can’t give you a hundred bucks if I don’t have a hundred bucks to give…..we love Him because He FIRST loved us!!

        To me, the more I understand my worth to Christ (not because I am anything in myself but because HE considered me worth dying for), the more content I am and the LESS I think of myself. I see it kinda like if I’m really hungry then I am pretty much going to be thinking of food until I eat. Then after I eat I don’t think of food anymore because I am full. I have a similar spiritual emptiness and need to be wanted, cherished and valued. Jesus appealed to that need when He said “come unto me all you who labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest”. When I am full of Christ’s love I don’t think about that need anymore because it has been met, then I actually want to and am able to meet others needs. Trying to meet others needs without having our own met is pointless, that’s like a starving person giving food to another person, all he will think about is wanting the food himself!

        To me, this statement “We have value to God not because of our worth but because of Who He is” is a brilliant statement but also a self-contradicting statement in my humble opinion. It supports exactly what I am saying…..if something is valuable then it is worth something to the one considering it valuable….so having a sense of self worth is literally and simply viewing myself as valuable as God views me, which creates an incredible security and contentment in my heart, and also gives me the freedom to share my thoughts and needs as being important (although obviously not as demands).

        This is a BRILLIANT discussion! Absolutely brilliant. It is going straight to the heart of what love is IMO! We are loved not because of what we do but because of who God is. And we can therefore love others not because of what they do but because of who we are in Christ.

        Hmmm……….HH

        CiC, reading through your links. Haven’t wrapped my head around them yet! My posts will be a bit random, I’m not doing so good at the moment, a lot going on. HH

  9. Hi Ladies, my presence here has been spotty as we’ve been going through an incredibly difficult time in our family. I’m trying to catch up, and climb back out of my self induced “pit.”

    My MIL is very sick, with severe heart failure. She’s 65, so still kind of young, and terrified. She’s had several procedures. We have been spending countless hours each day at the hospital. My husband’s family has so many deeper issues (most of which we stay out of). To make an incredibly long story short, my MIL hasn’t had a whole lot to do with my husband (he is the oldest, and the only one who is financially stable and independent) in recent years (mostly because she doesn’t like that he doesn’t enable her the way her other children do). So he has been hurt by that, understandably, but now that there is a crisis, she wants him around 24/7. He has been very good to her and really standing by her through this, but he also needs to go to work at least some time in order to keep making a living. She also wants me around to communicate with her doctors, as I have the most understanding in this area. I am happy to help her in this way, but I also need to see to the needs of my children. It’s been hectic. I get that this is life, but selfishly, my oldest is getting ready to go away to college, and this is not what we’d thought his last summer home would be like. So it’s been rough, and while we have been praying, and praying with her, and trying to be strong and communicate with one another – we have also been feeling the weight of it all and a times we both feel just plain worn out.

    At times my husband gets incredibly snappy and screams at me. I understand he is very upset about his mom, so I try to give him grace. But it gets hard. He also manifests most emotions as anger, and that stinks, too.

    I find myself regressing into feelings of unworthiness, being ugly and unloved. Believing all the lies I’ve been trying to fight.

    @Amanda, you keep referring to your wilderness time. I’m curious – is that literal? Did you actually go into the wilderness and spend time with the Lord, or is it a metaphor?

    @CIC, I find the boundaries thing intriguing. I’ve never really looked into it because I always felt it was the latest Christian book “bandwagon”. But I don’t know much about it. I have boundaries with my children, of course, because I’m the mom and that’s the way it should be. Our sons are pretty good kids, but no, they are not perfect. And the older they get, if they make a poor choice, yes, I feel personally responsible. Like, if I had been a better mother, they would not have made a poor choice. I know, logically, that’s not true, but it is an issue I have – feeling that way.

    Anyhow, I wrote this comment the other day, but my computer locked up. I kind of forget what else I wrote.

    This is an interesting post, and perhaps I should check out the boundaries thing. I’ve always felt like I don’t deserve, or have the right to set boundaries. Like if I were a good, loving person, I would just accept and deal with what everyone else wanted, to keep everyone happy.

    1. Becca,

      Something that helped me a lot was to study about people pleasing, and about what things are truly my responsiblity and what things are not. I was always very overly responsible for others and felt like I needed to control their decisions and the outcomes before God began to work in my heart 7.5 years ago about all of this. There is much peace and freedom when we realize that we are responsible for ourselves – our decisions, our sin, our emotions, our obedience to God, etc… Others are responsible for themselves to God. We can influence, teach, disciple, nurture, pray for, and love others. But they make their choices.

      It could also be helpful to think about how Jesus, Himself, was with the disciples for 3 years teaching them for hours every day and leading by example. And yet, Judas chose to betray Him. Was that His fault? Should Jesus have “done a better job” teaching Judas? Or, think about Adam and Eve. God was their Father and Creator. They had the perfect environment and instruction and perfect fellowship with God. They still chose to sin.

      Yes, we are responsible for our end of things. But we are not responsible for the minds and hearts and decisions of other people. We are responsible to our children to be godly parents. But they have free will, too, and make their own choices.

      I think, too, that we can get caught up in trying to “make other people happy.” But temporary worldly happiness is not the main thing. Loving God and others, becoming more holy by the power of God’s Spirit, having authentic fellowship with God and others, bringing glory to God, and growing in Christ seem to be much more of the focus of God’s heart. We will have His joy when we love and know Him. But if my goal is to never let anyone be mad at me and to try to make everyone happy over every little issue – I may be looking for the approval of men over God’s approval. I know that is where I was stuck for a long time. It was a miserable place to be.

      I have some posts about theses issues:

      – people pleasing
      – perfectionism
      – I can’t have needs
      – security in Christ
      – contentment
      – responsible for spouse’s happiness
      – conflict is necessary sometimes

      Much love to you! Praying for God’s wisdom for you and your husband in this very trying time. I pray He will use it for great good and for His glory in your family.

    2. Becca, I’m sorry I didn’t respond to your comment earlier! I used to think the term “boundaries” was really bad. And, now I see so differently. I was just looking at it from the wrong angle before and really, I was convinced that a good Christian serves others in whatever way the other wants to be served (but look at Jesus’ life – his concern was definitely not about trying to please everyone – if anything, I bet most of us have thought of Him as kind of blunt at times, right? He *was* very concerned about speaking the truth no matter the cost, though) I thought boundaries meant that you were looking out for yourself and trying to get your way all the time.

      Now, I see boundaries as essential and really don’t know how you cannot have boundaries (in the way that I see them) and be a healthy person for yourself and for the good of others.

      I liked April’s response to you and wholeheartedly agree with it.

      I hope you’re hanging in there with your mother-in-law and the situation there. It sounds stressful. And, interestingly, as I read back over your comment, your husband has had boundaries in dealing with his mother that has caused some relational tension. Boundaries don’t meant that things will look perfect in a relationship, but sometimes they are necessary for you not become a resentful person and necessary for the other person to experience the natural consequences of the sinful behavior they are operating in.

      You can have a healthy boundary in regard to your husband’s anger. The first thing you want to make sure of is that you’re not coming across disrespectfully to him — and remember, what we women think of as helpful and giving advice can come across really bad to a husband at times and they can react in anger – or if we are questioning their decisions and a number of other things we women do naturally that tend to scream “disrespect” to a man. Regardless of how the anger originates, though, it is still wrong for him to treat you that way, so please don’t think I’m saying that if you get perfect enough, he will then not have an anger problem.

      I think Christian love speaks truth even when it’s hard to hear and I pray that God will give you the wisdom and His guidance and the courage to speak to your husband about how you feel when he unloads his anger at/on you. The best time for this isn’t in the middle of an argument or when your husband has just walked through the door at the end of the day. But, it’s also easy for someone like you and me to keep putting this kind of conversation off because of various reasons (we wait for the perfect time when our husbands aren’t stressed – rarely happened for me!, we are enjoying a time of peace in the relationship and we don’t want to do anything to upset that, we are scared of the reaction we’re going to get….etc., etc.) So, I pray that God will begin to speak to you about how and when you could speak to your husband. I pray that He will enable you to see that He loves you and is concerned about and for you.

      Another thing you can do is to state calmly to your husband as he is unloading his anger that the way he is speaking to you is wrong and that you will have to leave the vicinity of where he is until he’s calm. You don’t need to say anything more than that until he’s ready to approach you and make things right. If he waits for days, you can continue to be respectful and kind in a general way, but the relationship is not right until both of you have owned up to any behavior you have done that has hurt the other. He’s not going to like that at first and you might even be accused of being disrespectful to him. But, you are not being disrespectful to not let someone unload sinful anger on you.

      The thing with a boundary, though, is that you yourself need to be pretty clear in your mind about what you are going to do in response to certain unhealthy patterns that have been playing out and be willing and ready to commit to whatever you say — as the title of this blog post is — Let your “yes” be “yes” and your “no” be “no”. Don’t waiver back and forth. If you’re not at that place yet, then just begin with trusting God for His wisdom in how to go forward in healthier ways in your marriage and trust Him to do that for you in His time and way.

      I hope my unsolicited advice isn’t overwhelming. I guess these things are so fresh in me that I have a hard time not speaking it out and I guess now I can see so many women who have struggle with the old mindset that I just came through. I know there are better things for you, Becca, and I’m excited to see how God is working in you (and all of us!)

  10. Thank you HH, CiC, April and Amanda and LMS for a great explanation. So valuable for each one of us!!! I am always looking forward to your all’s contributions, i learn so much!

  11. Just a suggestion to not let the author’s blunt style discourage you (plural you – to whoever wants to read!) from reading the full article. God used this blog post as one of many tools to show me that I had bought into some lies that were keeping me very confused as to how to live in relationship to others.

    Also, check this article out (keeping in mind what the previous article talks about in regard to the “honor/shame based culture” of that day.) When we look through that lens, we can see that this verse is saying not to hold ourselves above others, no matter our status in society, but to honor others above ourselves. I don’t believe it is saying to think of ourselves as less than others, as some translations seem to say.

    http://experimentaltheology.blogspot.com/2013/07/in-humility-hold-others-above-yourself.html?m=1

    So many things to think about and I’m not even sure if the things I’m bringing up are fitting into this discussion, but, for me, it all does relate to how I used to think and how God has changed my mind now.

  12. This is a very in depth, good discussion…definitely thought provoking! I think self worth, or even more seeing yourself’s worth as God sees your value, is what helps me stay out of taking on what others say about me, or how they treat me… standing up for being treated as being tremendously valued by God (and at the same time seeing that same value in the other person despite their/ and my sin) should put us on equal worth. At the same time, confronting someone when they totally are treating you in a sinful way and doing it in a respectful way, is what I struggle with tremendously…I don’t think they are able to hear, because they don’t see their own behavior as sinful.
    Yet, if I don’t speak up I guarantee that they will never even get confronted with the truth. Obviously fear of confrontation is a huge issue, but I am learning to state just how their behavior affects me, and leave it at that.

    Always love these very important discussions…thank you so much, April, for giving this platform and all of your love and effort…His love shines brightly through you!

    1. A lifetime Learner,

      I appreciate your insights, too! Thank you so much for sharing. You are most welcome. I am so thankful to God for this opportunity. My prayer is that He alone might be greatly exalted here. 🙂

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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