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Avoiding a Critical Spirit Toward other Women on This Journey

It’s predictable.

When I start to grow and God works in my life, there is always a new temptation that comes along with each step of growth and deepening faith. Satan will make sure of that.

As God begins to show me the sin in my heart, I start to become aware of the sin in others’ lives, as well. Things that didn’t bother me one bit before (when I was fine with doing them myself) will start to grate on my nerves in other people’s lives – like fingernails on a chalkboard.

I may find that women disrespecting their husbands or trying to control them is everywhere (or whatever sin I am currently working on in my own life).

When a particular sin issue is finally on my radar, I will become much more aware of the same sin in others’ lives.

If I am not careful, however, I will fall into a trap of the enemy. If he can’t keep me blind to my own sin, he would love to encourage me to develop a prideful, self-righteous, condemning, critical spirit toward others who are involved in my same kind of sin issues.

It can be tempting to think, “I have this whole disrespect and control thing totally in the bag. I’m being such an amazing Christian wife now. Doesn’t every guy wish he could be married to an awesome girl like me? All those other women really need to get it together.” But then, the second I do that, there is that nasty pride again. That is what started the whole thing in the first place with my control and disrespect toward my husband!

You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Romans 2:1

Pride. Ugh!!!

We all have to always be on guard for prideful thoughts. Here are some thoughts that may help us keep things in proper perspective:

  • How can I look down on other women who have the same struggles I do?
  • If I see others dealing with my particular sin issues, it is a chance to notice how destructive sin is and to see how much my own sin wounds those in my life when I act like that. When I see it more objectively from the outside of someone’s life, I may see it more from the perspective of my own husband when I do this to him.
  • I may be tempted to try to control or disrespect other women. That is not okay. Then I am right back to doing the same sin again!
  • I may find out next week or next year that I am still doing things that feel disrespectful to my husband that I am not currently aware of. I still have much to learn myself and will always have much to learn.
  • How can I condemn another person when if it weren’t for the grace of God, that is where I would be right now, too?
  • This is an incredible opportunity for me to extend the grace of Christ to others that I have received myself!
  • Without the Lord’s power and His Spirit, I am capable of any sin in my own sinful nature.
  • People sure don’t need my opinions or human wisdom, they need the Lord.
  • Lord, help me see my pride clearly and help me to detest it as much as You do.
  • The only power I have over any sin is Jesus’ power in me. It is not my own goodness. I have zero ability to please God in my own power.
  • These precious women – for whom Jesus died – need my prayers, my support, and the love of Christ.
  • They need God to open their eyes like He did for me and to be set free (just like I needed to be) because if they knew how to get out of that spiritual prison, they would.
  • God desires me to show genuine, godly respect to these other women (and everyone else).
  • I have the same depraved sinful nature that every other person does – thank You, Jesus, that You have put it to death!
  • I still have access to my sinful nature – but now that I have Jesus, I have a choice to allow my old self to remain dead and to live by God’s Spirit or to get my old sinful nature out. I can still sin if I choose to. Only through the power of Christ in me can I have victory.
  • It is a moment by moment choice whether I “reckon myself dead to my old sinful nature” or not. If I am far enough away from God, I am capable of any sin. But if I am in Christ, I won’t want to be in sin, but I will long to please the Lord.
  • Those who don’t have Christ have no choice but to sin, they are slaves of the sinful nature. This should provoke compassion in me for them.
  • My sin was and is just as deadly to my soul as any one else’s sin, no matter what sin it may be.
  • We all stand on level ground at the foot of the cross in total desperate need of Jesus’ blood and the cross.
  • I must constantly embrace humility. Exalting God alone, not myself.
  • God is good. I am not.
  • Anything good in me is from Jesus. Not from me. I have no right to boast in myself, only in Christ.
  • How I long to only think and say things that are of the Lord – to speak His Life – and not to use my thoughts or mouth to speak death to others.
  • I will want to be very careful with saying something – only sharing if I am sure God wants me to speak and if my motives are pure and I can share with great humility.
  • It is generally best for me to share only if another person asks for my advice – and it may be best simply for me to share things God has shown me rather than to tell her what to do. But only as God clearly leads me.
  • Not everyone will be ready or willing to hear about what God has shown me. Only God can open a person’s eyes to sin.
  • If I find that my friends tend to be very disrespectful of their husbands, I may need to separate myself from them more. Not in a resentful or prideful way, but just to keep myself from temptation.
  • If I do speak, I must have both truth and love for the person to whom I speak. And I must have the power of the Holy Spirit or I may cause more damage. This is a very sobering thing.
  • How may I pray for this woman who is struggling? How may I seek to bless her in a way that would honor God?

Lord,

Thank You that You have opened our eyes to sin in our lives to which we had been blind. It is a gift that we can see the sin now and that we can repent. Help us be humble about the temptations lurking around every corner to be prideful. Help us to be aware of Satan’s tactics to take us down. Help us recognize his voice when he tempts us to accuse others. He is the accuser. I don’t want to let his thoughts invade my mind and give him access to my mouth to use to attack others with his words.

Let the Holy Spirit alone rule in my heart. Give me Your eyes for other women and men. Give me Your heart and Your mind about them. Let Your Words of life flow from my mouth. Not words that will kill and destroy. Let me look on all other people with compassion, godly love, kindness, and total humility – knowing we all need You. I want to exalt You not myself. Cleanse me and radically transform me to be more like Jesus. I trust You to live in and through me so that I can obey You. I can’t obey You by myself. I can’t repent by myself or come to faith in Christ by myself. I am completely dependent on You, Lord, to cause me to grow and to live in victory over sin.

Amen!

VERSES:

Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense, but a man of understanding remains silent. Prov. 11:12

Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. Prov. 16:18

Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him. Prov. 26:12

Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven. Luke 6:37

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Eph. 4:32

“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6

Resources:

Taking Our Thoughts Captive – Peacefulwife VIDEO

Avoiding Gossip – Peacefulwife VIDEO

Giving Friends Godly Marriage Advice

Don’t Expect Outside Support

 

 

 

32 thoughts on “Avoiding a Critical Spirit Toward other Women on This Journey

  1. Thankful to see an update…my prayers are always with you and your children…adventures have a wonderful way of creating deep bonds and great memories. God is good and He will be glorified in your lives of that I have no doubt.

    Psalm 118 is my favorite. 🙂

    1. Quinn, isn’t it an awesome Psalm!!!! I’m listening to Sons of Korah at the moment, I would love it if they did Psalm 118 😊

      I love the contrast between being “hard pressed” then being brought into a “spacious place”! It’s vintage here and the grapes are being pressed, that reminds me of being hard pressed, all closed in with nowhere to go. Then, to be brought into a spacious place speaks to me of freedom and liberty, something that we can experience in Christ in ANY situation!

      I love the thought of the Lord “chastening us severely but not unto death”. I take great joy in seeing the fruit that is coming from the wounding the Lord has caused in me and the Refiner’s hand will not let it be without purpose. It is not for our death but for life.

      I love that the Lord gets all of the glory for the victory, that the songs praise His name and not the people. Praise God for victory already won!!

      How may I pray for you Quinn? In Christ, HH

      1. HH, it’s nice to see your update and see God is with you in your new stage in life. I pray your light always shines. I’m also happy you have this site where others continue to encourage you as you post. I wish you and everyone well. God bless you so very much.

      2. Wow what a beautiful way to view all of that. Yes, it is not without purpose. Praise God indeed!

        Please pray for my marriage and my husband’s pain. I don’t want to go into details but God knows. I am being taken through that refining fire and it is painful but I know God has purpose in it. I am just trying to keep my eyes on Him through this time. Thank you for your prayers. God Bless.

        1. Quinn,

          Praying for you and your family, my precious sister. So thankful that you are looking to the Lord. I hate that you and so many others are hurting and going through such pain. I am so thankful we can pray for each other and that the Lord will never leave us or forsake us. I can’t wait to see all the good He will bring from each trial and storm.

          Much love!

          1. Thank you April for your prayers and your love. I hate seeing so much pain in the world too my dear sister. You are a ray of light in that pain though and I am so thankful for your ministry.

            Hugs and love to you!

            1. Quinn,

              You are most welcome, my sweet sister. You are a treasure and a blessing to me. 🙂

        2. Hi Quinn,

          I will pray for your husband and his pain. In our pain we often make decisions that make problems worse. I will pray for you also, to be strengthened with the peace of God’s presence.

          HH

  2. Hi April,
    This is where I see many Christian women “missing the mark,” so to say — >>I have the same depraved sinful nature that every other person does << Christian women who are staying in the Word, going to church, having Bible studies, praying daily…DO NOT believe they have/had a sinful depraved nature. They believe that they are "staying out of sin" or maybe have a little sin, like being a little overweight. Then when they find out their husband is looking at porn, or their sister-in-law is having an affair, rather than running to the other sinner to share grace, they distance themselves and say, "Thank God I am NOT like her/him. I would NEVER do that!"

    Cf. Luke 18:11 "The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: 'I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else. For I don't cheat, I don't sin, and I don't commit adultery. I'm certainly not like that tax collector!"

    I appreciate this new post where you share new sins being revealed. Let's all take it to heart.

    But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

    “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

    1. Anonymous,

      It is true that we have a new nature when we are born into God’s kingdom. And our old nature should be dead and gone all the time. But we can still resurrect that old sinful, depraved nature – without much effort. And we can still let it take over if we are not fully submitting ourselves to Christ.

      How I pray we will continue to humble ourselves and to be very sober-minded about how easily we can stumble ourselves into sin. May we live in the victory Christ provides but may we never be prideful about the source of power and victory!

      Much love!

  3. HH,
    I appreciate the update so much. How I praise God with you for all that He is doing in your life. I pray for His continued work and healing for you and for His work in your wife’s life, as well. I pray for His healing for your children. And for Him to use all of the facets of this massive trial for His glory and your ultimate good. SO thankful you are going deeper in your faith and trust. I love your spirit of adventure with God! I long for us all to have that.

  4. Amen! I really believe women are designed to be kind to one another,to support and encourage each other, but the enemy, and the world we live in, the culture, is always trying to lead us in another direction. Envy, competitiveness, strife. If you watch women who are at peace, we love nothing more than working together in harmony like a sisterhood.

    1. insanitybytes22,

      That is my prayer – that we might work together in harmony and unity by the power of God’s Spirit working in all of us. What a beautiful thing to see!

  5. Thank you so much for this post. Timely and much needed. I have a hard time with this as well, and was just convicted over this when reading 1John 3 that speaks about loVing one another.

    1. Amber,

      Thank you for letting me know this was a blessing. I am glad we can be an encouragement to each other on this journey. 1 John 3 is extremely convicting. We all need God’s power to help us love like that!

  6. I like the perspective of becoming aware of the same sin we are working through in others, so we can really experience it from almost a 3rd person’s perspective…pride tells us that we are “helping others” by bringing those things up and voicing our “advice”, but really, as you said, the devil encourages us to speak up, because pride and ego are then again in full bloom.

    I am thoroughly convinced we as women need other women to communicate with, because men are just not built that way:

    – but there is supportive sisterhood
    – and then there is complain and rake others over the coals gossip fest.

    God has a way of opening our eyes in very unexpected ways, and seeing dynamics in others is one of them. To use those for our own quiet reflection and motivation for change is a good thing. As always, great thoughts…

    Good to hear from you HH… you are often thought of…

    Blessings to all, A Lifetime Learner

    1. A lifetime Learner,

      Yes, I know that it has been really helpful for me to experience being sinned against in the ways I have sinned against Greg and others. It drives home how nasty that sin is to have to be on the receiving end of it. Helped me realize just how awful it was for Greg to receive that treatment from me. But even just witnessing it as a 3rd person – it does make you have a lot of empathy for the recipient of the sinful behavior. I think God can use situations like that to open our eyes to how awful sin is.

      Pride can blind us so much. It is truly scary. We can convince ourselves we are humble and loving when we really are full of pride and if we try to deal with someone else’s sin when we are full of pride, things will not go well. Not at all. That is why we are to deal with the beam in our own eye first.

      Praying God will continue to expand our vision and help us see as He sees, as painful as it is!

  7. Hi April, thank you for this post. I`m glad to see it out there, telling it how it is. The scriptures are quite sobering . I suppose I expected that if I was doing something right, something in line with godliness and obedience, that I would experience ( try not to laugh at my naivete ) feeling more godly and humble, and actually being those things. I expected a decrease of flesh and pride and rebellion.

    I mentioned bfore that I experienced a shocking flare up of my flesh. I was horrified. I thought things pretty much like what you`ve said in terms of reacting to the gross disobedience to the word that is so typical in churches today. Really nice things like feeling quite superior and righteous, you know, a kind of `I thank thee God that I am not like that domineering and unfeminine woman over there who clearly wears the pants in the family. I believe things like `cows of Bashan“ came up in that inward dialogue as well. Sigh. I was aware of what it was as soon as I began to experience it and was quite horrified and distressed by it. I concluded that perhaps I was engaging in some kind of fleshly self made religion thing and that`s why so much muck began flying around. I mean, suddenly it was like a rogue volcano decided to spew. So I laid the covering aside for the time being. I thought my experience was unsual because I had not heard anyone else describe having such a wild reaction from the flesh.

    I think rather, it gave evidence that the flesh lives largely undisturbed in my life and the donning of a symbol of submission and obedience to God certainly disturbed it. There is real warfare towards anyone who would desire to follow Jesus. Pride is a barrier to submission and obedient humility. Galations 5:17 says: For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. A good explanation for what I experienced in terms of being blocked in my desire to really follow Jesus into obedience. Much to think on and pray through.

    1. SevenTimes,

      The goal is to do godly things and obedient things with a right spirit. But man, does the flesh sometimes not want to stay dead on the cross and in the grave. It really wants to rise up and take over. And it sure can and will if we are not abiding in Christ and totally filled up with Him.

      I have had a situation lately that has tested my faith in ways I haven’t been tested before concerning a teacher for one of my children. Wow. You know what? My flesh does NOT like that! I have found this to be a very challenging two months as we have waited until today for answers. It is hard to be wronged myself. But to watch my child be wronged and mistreated – WHEW! That is so much harder!

      I want to show respect for the teacher in all situations and even when I talk about her to my son and others. I want to set a godly example for my son. I want to have no sinful thoughts in my heart toward her. It is REALLY tempting to have resentment, disrespect, and bitterness in my heart. I can’t afford any bit of any of those things! I have had to spend MUCH time in prayer over the past two months about my attitude.

      This situation showed me just how much self I have in this area that needs to die. I still have a lot to learn. And I still need to go back to basics of taking my thoughts captive and focusing on trusting God and praising Him for what He will do. I have been thanking Him for this trial because I had asked Him to help me grow spiritually and to go much deeper in my faith. It takes trials to do this. I’m thankful God exposes our sin so we have to see it. Then all I can do is bow before Him in total brokenness and tell Him I can’t do this. I can’t do what He wants me to do and I can’t please Him in my own power. I desperately need His strength and His power or there is no victory for me.

      We may think, when we don’t have many trials, that we don’t have much issue with our flesh. I’m thankful God reveals things slowly and takes us step by step. I pray He will empower us all to be faithful and obedient to Him. I know He absolutely can! May we reckon ourselves dead on the Cross and buried with Christ, so that we allow only God’s power to fill us.

      Much love!

      1. SevenTimes,

        I’m so thankful for the way y’all handled that. What a beautiful example! Thank you for sharing, my sister. 🙂

        We did finally get to meet with the teacher and administrator yesterday. We are very hopeful that the things that were going on starting in December will be better going forward. I truly have been able to thank God for this trial – and I am really grateful for that blessing. I want to learn everything He wants me to learn through this and let Him refine me through the whole process. I believe we have set a godly example in how we approached the teacher and administrator for our children. And I believe many other students will benefit from the issues we addressed. I’m also grateful that the administrator took our concerns seriously and seemed very willing to help give recommendations that should change things for the better.

        Thanks for your prayers!

        Much love!

        1. Wonderful! It makes a huge difference when school staff are receptive. And its easier for them to be receptive to a concern or valid criticism when the one bringing the concern is motivated by mercy, kindness and a desire for things to be put right. I hope you continue to see progress and blessing in this circumstance. (((( ))))

  8. Thank you April, this is so relevant to me, because i struggle with this SO much! Great post. I will keep re-reading it.
    Interestingly, I was listening to a very old Derek Prince sermon (You may not know him in the States – English preacher, old school?) about being humble, and he pointed out that we should never pray “God, humble me” because that is not biblical. Throughout the bible we are told to humble OURSELVES! So it’s our job to do this, not God’s! I never noticed that before. But I do regularly and often pray: “Lord, help me to stay humble and watch out for pride”. Hopefully this is ok to pray? I am very scared of getting proud because I think it’s incredibly hard to realise and spot it when you are!

    Thanks for the update HH, I wish you well. God bless you and your family

    1. Sunshine,

      Thank you for sharing! You know what? God does command us to humble ourselves. But He also is plenty willing and able to humble us. I don’t want to pray for that, though. I would much, much rather seek to humble myself. God humbled Nebuchadnezzar. And there are a number of verses where God humbled people and how He causes the arrogant to fall. Very, very sobering.

      Of course that is okay to pray. I think we ALL have to be on the lookout for pride all the time because we are all very prone to it and we can be so blind to it.

      Much love!

      1. SevenTimes

        In my experience, humility came/is growing as a work of God in my heart through brokenness. I did not think I needed humility, I thought I was fine. But I was not fine. I was arrogant. God, in His grace, allowed and is allowing me to experience fire after fire and He is shaping me to be the man he wants me to be. It is not fun. It hurts. A LOT.

        But, better to go through the fire now, have the dross burnt off and become someone who has the Lord in His rightful place. Now, I want humility, I crave humility, I do not want to lift up myself above others because I know it is the path to destruction. I want every word to be a word that glorifies God. I am not there yet. It is a process.

        I do not think that humility is something that our hearts naturally seek. And, we must be careful to discern the difference between humility and false humility. The enemy can keep us in a place of psychological guilt, which is not humility.

        Some thoughts. God bless. HH

  9. Especially since we do not know how their Husbands are. We do not know if the Husbands are good ones or bad ones. Cause yes, men too are far from perfect. We forget too easily that not all Men deserve respect and submission. Not all men want the best for their women. Many menace the ones who should work very hard to better themselves and hope their faithful wives forgive them.

    To anyone who struggles with these thoughts – volunteer in a Womens Home. A truly humbling experience!!!!

    1. A refresher on how believers are to treat those who mistreat them – again, this is only possible by the power of the Holy Spirit working in and through us:

      Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:14-21

  10. I think, at least for me, it can be very easy for me to become prideful towards my husband when he sins. I have been on this journey to become a godly, respectful, submissive wife since before I even met my husband, and I am so far from being where I need to be. But I have moments when I get upset because he doesn’t respond to me in gentleness like I respond to him. Why doesn’t he respond in kindness the way he sees me doing? Why doesn’t he respond with patience? Why can’t he be positive and trust God the way he sees me doing? Why can’t he offer me grace and forgiveness the way I extend those same things to him? Why can’t he be slow to anger the way I am?

    Ugh. My husband’s past experiences, and his walk with Christ, are WAY different from mine. His path to spiritual maturity will look different from mine. His eyes will be opened at different points than mine were, and still are being opened.

    Oh, how I need to continually humble myself!

    1. Victorious Wife,

      Pride is always a temptation. I think that temptation will be with us until our dying day. Yes, if Satan can’t get us to disrespect and hate our husbands or to be bitter at them, he would love for us to be prideful and self-righteous. That is just as destructive.

      If he can’t respond with kindness, patience, gentleness, etc… it may be because he is not filled with the Spirit. He may have spiritual strongholds still and have places where he is still oppressed by the enemy. He needs to be set free, like we all do. The way he responds isn’t really about you at all. It reveals where he is spiritually with God.

      His path will look different. It may be slower than you would like. God’s timing often is that way. But the amazing thing is how God will use that to refine us and ultimately, draw us closer to Himself and deeper in our faith.

      Much love!

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