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How to Avoid Being a “Busybody”

What is a “busybody”? Here is the definition from Strong’s Concordance:

Definition: one who meddles in things alien to his calling or in matters belonging to others; factious.

Essentially, if I am a busybody, I am inserting myself into other people’s lives and problems in a way that is unproductive and even harmful. My involvement does not bring healing, but rather, division. I am involving myself in the affairs of other people that are not my business. I am, undoubtedly, acting in the flesh not in the power of the Spirit of God. And generally, if I am a busybody, my advice is unwanted, unsolicited, and unappreciated.

As women, we love to help others. I think we are wired that way! Helping people is a good thing – when we are genuinely helping.

But there are limits to what is helpful. I can easily cross the line. Sometimes, I might think I know best for others, but I might really just be pushing my own personal opinions, agenda, and human wisdom. I can so easily deceive myself that my wisdom = God’s wisdom. People don’t need my opinions and wisdom. They need God.

When I try to help people in my own human strength, I speak death to the situation instead of God’s Life. That is not a blessing to anyone. Also, when I share God’s wisdom, if people are not receptive, they can’t and won’t hear me. I can’t make people hear or open their eyes. I have to accept my limits and remember I am not sovereign and I am not the Holy Spirit, God is.

What’s Wrong with Trying to Help People Who Don’t Want My Help?

If people come to me for advice or are open to what I share AND my heart is right with God, awesome! But most people won’t take advice that is unsolicited, even if it is really good advice. If people want help, they will generally ask for help. If I just keep blurting out lots of advice when others don’t want it, they will feel I am lecturing to them or preaching at them. They will resent me. People may feel I am looking down on them. I need to be sensitive to the way people respond to the wisdom I share with them.

The Bible has some wisdom to share with us about giving advice and sharing God’s truth:

  • The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice. Prov. 12:15
  • If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words (about the gospel), leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet. Matt. 10:14
  • On the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak. Matt. 12:36
  • Then all the people of the region of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them, because they were overcome with fear. So he got into the boat and left. Luke 8:37
  • The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 1 Cor. 2:14
  • Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Eph. 4:29
  • And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. He must gently reprove those who oppose him, in the hope that God may grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth. 2 Tim. 2:24-25
  • If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. James 1:26

A few take-aways from scripture:

  • It is a person’s choice to listen to wise advice or to reject it. I can’t force wisdom on anyone. My job is to share the truth in love, what others do with what I share is between them and God.
  • Those who don’t know the Lord and are spiritually blind can’t see spiritual things yet no matter how much I explain them. This should not surprise or frustrate me. If they are ensnared by Satan, it will take the power of God’s Spirit to set them free.
  • My response to opposition must be kindness, gentleness, and patience. If people oppose God’s wisdom that I share, they are opposing Him, not me. I can lay them before the Lord in prayer.
  • When sharing the gospel or godly advice, if my words are not welcome, I don’t need to stay and argue, I can respectfully leave and ask God’s Spirit to work in the person’s heart.
  • Jesus didn’t stay where people didn’t want His help, healing, and wisdom. He is a Gentleman, and He only stays and shares His miracles, truth, healing, and wisdom when He is invited and welcome.
  • If I am not sure what God says or thinks about someone’s situation, it may be best for me to simply pray for them and not try to address something if I don’t really know for sure what scripture would say. Only God’s wisdom is needed, not my own thoughts. Perhaps I can also direct that person to resources and wise, experienced, counsel. I won’t have all of the answers myself for every situation.
  • If I am helping someone else, I want to be very careful about sharing private information with anyone else in order to avoid gossip.

NOTE:

There can be some exceptions about helping someone who doesn’t want my help. When people are involved in very serious unrepentant sin, self-harm, active drug/alcohol addictions, there can be times when the most loving thing to do is to try to intervene even when the person doesn’t want help. This will usually mean I will be getting that person to someone who is experienced in helping people who are ensnared in these traps who can help them. Also, sometimes our children or employees don’t ask for our advice or counsel, but we need to give it respectfully anyway – when they are under our authority.

 

What Does God’s Word Say about Being a Busybody?

  • Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not. 1 Tim. 5:13
  • And to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, 1 Thess. 4:11
  • For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. 2 Thess. 3:11
  • But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. 1 Pet. 4:15
  • Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us. 2 Thess. 3:6

How Can I Avoid Being a Busybody?

When I am a busybody, I am a lot more concerned about the sins and issues of others (things for which I am not responsible) than about my own sins and the things for which I really am responsible. That is a big problem. First, I must be willing to allow the Lord to examine my own heart and deal with all of the sin in my own life before I could begin to see clearly to address “the speck in my brother’s eye” (Matt. 7:1-5). Then I can have the power of God’s Spirit and His wisdom filling me. Then I can also have proper humility to approach others with godly love.

I don’t get to:

If I have been doing things like this, if I realize I have been overly involved in other people’s lives in hurtful ways, I can repent of anything I have done that offended God and yield myself to His Lordship.

If I am really helping people in a godly way, I would want to:

  • See others experience the healing and freedom Jesus offers to them.
  • Pray fervently for them for God’s will and for Him to open their eyes.
  • See God’s greatest glory in their lives.
  • Humbly remember that I have no goodness in me apart from Jesus.
  • Remember that God’s wisdom is what is most urgently needed, not my wisdom or opinions.
  • Respect a person’s decision if she doesn’t want my help and pray for God to reach them in another way.
  • Be sure God is calling me to speak and that I know what He wants me to say so that I am obeying His prompting, not running ahead.
  • Only talk to the Lord, and possibly to my husband, or a godly mentor about the situation.
  • Watch my motives for sin and to repent as soon as I see any sinful thoughts in my own heart.
  • Watch for me getting overly involved  (enmeshed) or reacting in the flesh. I must act in the Spirit, not my own strength or wisdom.
  • Look for burnout, frustration, resentment, bitterness, anxiety, or negativity on my side of the relationship  – these are flags that I may be overstepping my bounds or not acting in the power of the Spirit.
  • Not just be a sounding board for someone to “vent” to. Venting is toxic. If it becomes obvious that a friend really doesn’t want to change and grow in Christ, I may have to stop attempting to help until she is serious about asking God to change her own heart and mind.
  • Encourage a Spirit of unity in the body of Christ – never division, resentment, rumors, gossip, hatred, or bitterness.
  • Speak Life rather than death to others.

It is a most serious thing to give advice to someone about spiritual matters or relationship matters.

If I give unbiblical advice or my understanding of God’s Word or His will is not correct, I could mislead someone into sin or error. If my own heart is not right, I can repel someone from the Lord and from a godly course of action. We are each responsible for our own decisions and for our own sin. But how I never want to be responsible for setting a stumbling block in someone’s way.

If I am acting as “an authority” in that person’s life, like I am a mentor, supervisor, mother, or teacher, I have even greater accountability before the Lord. How humble I must be if God has given me a position of authority so that I do not misrepresent God in someone’s life. If something seems to be more than I can handle or I am not sure, I may need to refer people with really serious issues to experienced, godly counselors and authorities who can best help those in need.

How Can I Tell If I Am a Busybody?

www.gotquestions.org has a really helpful list of questions we can ask ourselves to determine if we have become busybodies.

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153 thoughts on “How to Avoid Being a “Busybody”

  1. April. Great article. I have some questions to ask for clarity sake. Is there a line between looking for informaton and butting my nose into others business?

    My example is this: I found out my husband has a credit card and savings account or possibly 2 that he refuses to share info about to me. He says it’s private. He opened these after he asked me for a divorce. My concern became that the debt he incurs on it is also my debt if he were ever to pass away or such. Correct? So, in order to find out the truth, I found the card and called the number on the back to find out the balance. I found THOUSANDS and thousands of dollars of debt! His daily average spending is more than I make in a week! I suspect my husband has a spending addiction. However, the utilities and such are paid. It seems that he has not ignored the bills of the house, and he is generous with paying for extras for the kids. We want for nothing. I’m grateful, but concerned.

    I have tried to confront him on this. He feels I was sneaky and doesn’t trust me anymore. However, how can I tell if he is telling the truth about balances on his card if I am not allowed to verify it? He becomes totally defensive about money and now he is making big purchases without consulting me at all. I feel pushed out, and forcefully pushed away even more. Very left in the dark intentionally. So far, I am still his wife, and we have fiscal responsibilities, but my gut tells me that I have run into the tip of the iceberg.

    I want to stay respectful and not be a “meddler” into his business, but this seems kind of serious. The secrecy and defensiveness doesn’t feel right. He said I will never see a statement from his personal accounts. I make sure he has my statement every month to stay transparent, but he refuses to look at it.

    It feels like I would be ignoring a serious issue or possibly a sin to just stay quiet here, especially if there is more going on, but what if it is legit? Am I being too nosey? He says lots of it is work expenses, but I know lots of it is not. Packages arrive at our house daily. I’m not sure what to do with this situation. It still puts us at risk if he were to lose his job. Do I have a right to be concerned? To dig into this more? I so want to hire a private eye detective, but that seems like it would be taking it too far, but the truth is I have zero trust in my husband. I’m trying to NOT have all these negative thoughts, but honestly, our marriage looks bleaker than ever. It’s been 2yrs+ and I’m losing hope. I wonder now if I would be a better mother, person if he was NOT in my life. This stress makes me irritable and I sin so much easier because of it. I know I handle things so much better than I did before this journey, but I’m not sure that God really wants us to stay together. What if God’s plan is to protect us from each other and to end the marriage? Is that a possibility? God knows the end from the beggining. I feel like God would want every marriage to stay together, but He knows if it is a better thing for some to NOT stay married, right?

    So confused, disheartened and feeling pretty hopeless right now.

    1. LMSdaily115,

      I think that generally, the “busybody” thing is about going to other people’s homes, families, and marriages and interfering. I have never seen the term, “busybody,” applied toward one’s own spouse. Although, a spouse certainly could be controlling. But the finances in your marriage are not “someone else’s business.” It seems to me that it is the business of both spouses.

      I can absolutely understand that you are concerned about this. I think any spouse should be concerned to discover that kind of spending going on – especially when you may be saddled with his debt legally.

      I can also appreciate that if there is that much secrecy, you wouldn’t be able to trust your husband financially – and with all that has been going on, possibly in other ways, as well.

      As you know, I don’t generally tell wives that they should separate from their husbands. In most cases, that seems, to me, to be a decision a woman must make under the leadership of the Spirit. I am very reluctant to presume that I know exactly what God wants wives to do in specific situations.

      God’s ideal is that marriages stay together and that we don’t separate from our husbands. But there is the option of separation for severe cases. I don’t know what your husband is doing. I would sure want to know if it were me in that situation. I am also well aware of how difficult your husband has been to live with and how much God has been changing your heart and how beautiful His work in your life has been. I don’t know exactly what you should do. I would suggest fasting and praying and asking God to show you the steps He desires you to take. And I will certainly support whatever you believe the Lord leads you to do, my precious sister.

      How has your time with God been going?

      My prayer is that you will hear His voice clearly and follow Him in all that He leads you to do. And I pray for His glory and His will to be done in your life. I also pray for your husband’s salvation and regeneration in the power of the Spirit.

      Much love and the biggest hug to you!

    2. Hi LMSDaily. I don’t mean to be a busybody (Lol), but wanted to let you know about my experience and what the Lord has shown me about this issue and what I still struggle with as we speak. I don’t know your whole story, but I would like to share a little bit about mine in hopes that it might help.

      Finances have been the number one struggle in my marriage. In fact, probably 90% of our problems
      Revolve around money. My husband and I view money very differently. He likes to spend and treat himself and has an attitude of “look at how much we are saving” where I am like “We could be saving so much more though!” His family is middle class, but they like to spend and my family is upper middle class and are savers. My husband and I both work but he makes more than I do. We are secure financially.

      My husband has been dishonest about finances many times in our past. From getting secret credit cards to spending thousands on toys to taking out of his retirement to spend. This has impacted my trust very very much. Lying is a sin and he’ll be held accountable. And to this day, I think he thinks his lying is justifiable (which it isn’t), because of my behaviors. However, even though his behavior is his responsibility, I have asked the Lord to show me what my sins and shortcomings were in all of this and what I should do and this is what He has shown me.

      I was VERY controlling with finances and his spending in the beginning of our marriage and In a lot of ways I still am. I used to nitpick every dime he spent and nag him. I don’t do it so much anymore, but I still do it at times. Whenever my husband would come to be about wanting to buy something expensive, I would ALWAYS say no and freak out on him for not being “responsible.” So what has he learned to do? Not to tell the truth and be secretive. Not okay, but still the reason. Then at one point in our marriage, I was so desperate to fix things that I agreed to him buying some really expensive things, even though I didn’t want him to, and I didn’t express my opinions either, which wasn’t good. What I didn’t see was the happy medium. Where I could still express my opinion and wishes respectfully, but then i really have to let it go and allow my husband to make the decision, even if I disagree with it. I’m am still struggling with this a lot, but I’m grateful I know what to do! Even this week, I got on my husbands case for buying a $65 steak at a restaurant. He’s away on a business trip. However he was truthful and told me. But I flipped out and wouldn’t let it go. In my mind: $65? On a steak? That’s how much my entries weeks worth of groceries were! How selfish and irresponsible!!! His side: my work is paying for a lot of the food. I may go over a little, but I work hard and we are doing well financially, so I’m going to treat myself. Mind you, he also has ADHD and can have impulsive issues with spending too. But really, it’s just too different perspectives on money. Not necessarily bad, just different. He lives more for the moment and I’m more careful. And to tell you the truth, I can get envious of him at times for it.

      When my husband and I get on a big fight, he resorts to threatening divorce and then he’ll take the credit card and spend. I think he does this because spending gives him comfort, he’s trying to rebel in a sense from my motherly ways, and he feels justified. It’s like a way to get power back in a sense. Not really healthy or right, but it’s his coping. Do you think that your husband may do the same? Especially since my husband has brought up divorce so many times, I think at some point he really doesn’t care what I think in regards to his spending. He gets so sick of my controlling, nagging, and mothering that he just stops caring about it. Today he even told me that I should wait until he comes back before I start to nag him about overspending, because he’s not overspending but he figures he might as well start, because he’s already getting punished for it before he’s even done anything wrong! He’s got a really good point!

      I totally understand what you are saying about how God might be showing you that you may be better off without him. I have considered divorce many times because of the finance issue. I totally get what your are saying about him putting you in debt. However, i realized if this was all truly about money, a divorce would be expensive and I would not be putting nearly as much as I do away in savings on my own as I do married or have the same lifestyle as I do now. So I realized that divorce doesn’t really make sense financially, so this issue must be more about money. It’s about control and trust and how I Still can’t let go of controlling my husband in this area and how I don’t trust him to make good decision. I also realized that I still think what I think are good decision are the right ones and his are wrong, like the steak or buying land or whatever it is.

      It would be different if we were in big debt, he was gambling and we had no food to eat. Then I might have to make some boundaries. For example, one time he really was racking it up and he was doing it to rebel. So I told him if he continued, I would have to pull from savings to pay the credit off and I did. He didn’t like this so he stopped.

      what I realized in my situation is that for there to be true healing in our marriage and for me to learn how to let go of this type of control that I really have to let it ALL go in terms of his spending. I have to stop controlling him and allow him to make his own decisions. Then he has to fix them if he messes up. I can voice my opinion respectfully on bigger purchases or let him know that when he lies it hurts my trust, but then I really have to let it go and trust in the Lord. I am also learning to focus on the good too. We have food to eat, we save, bills are paid. Just because his spending style is not my own, doesn’t mean he’s necessarily wrong.

      I’ve been really tested this week with him in Hawaii. I have no control over anything and it’s bringing out all my insecurities and fears. My husband got mad at me for not trusting him about how much he’s spending. I do t think that’s right, because you cannot lie to someone and then get mad at you when they don’t trust you. BUT I don’t have the right to be telling him what to do, nagging him, and sending him text messages everyday about it. That’s not very smart either, because it probably will make him want to spend even more!!! Maybe that’s what your husband feels?

      I would think if a man says he wants a divorce and means it, that he thinks getting a credit card and spending how he pleases is not his wife’s business because you’re getting a divorce anyway and he’ll be responsible for it. Not saying your marriage can’t be saved, just that’s how he might view it. Since my husband has brought up divorce (even though I think my husband brings it upon p more in anger and his ADHD) I’m trying very hard to letting go of all control.
      I have such a long way to go!

      I don’t know if any of this helps. If not, just disregard. If anything, know that you have the Lord and many people that are in similar situations! Stay strong!

      1. Linsey,

        Thank you so much for sharing this. If it doesn’t help LMSdaily, I am sure it will be a blessing to someone.

        It is easy many times to try to isolate our husband’s sins or wrongs from ours. And, we are not responsible for our husbands’ sins. They are responsible for themselves. Just like we are responsible for our own sin. But there is an interplay between a husband and wife – or in any other relationship – where we have a powerful influence on people. We can inspire them to walk in obedience to Christ by our great faith and godly example and the power of Christ working in us. Or we can set a stumbling block in their way that makes sin more tempting.

        That is one reason why I am so passionate about us looking at the issues in our own lives. Because when we deal with any sin in our lives, (like Matthew 7:1-5 talks about), then we have much more clear spiritual vision to know how to best approach our husbands and the sin issues in their lives. Our own sin (our disrespect, fear, control, etc…) can act like a trigger to our husbands. They still shouldn’t respond in sin. But, as Gary Thomas says in Sacred Marriage, “We are most tempted to sin when we are being sinned against.”

        I’m glad you are able to see the dynamics and the “destructive dance” that happens in your marriage about money. And that it isn’t really about money. It is about control and fear.

        I pray for you to keep your eyes on the Lord and to hear His voice clearly, to not give way to fear, but to respond in the power of His Spirit, my precious sister. I pray for Him to work in your husband’s life, as well, about the spending issues. That he might seek to please the Lord. And I pray you will yield your heart fully to the Lordship of Christ, trusting in Him completely, and that you might see that these tests have come to strengthen and purify your faith. I pray you will embrace all that God desires for you to learn and that your faith might grow by leaps and bounds as you determine to trust the Lord more than anything or anyone else on earth.

        Much love!

        1. Thank you April! Yes, I’m seeing that we are given these trials to help strengthen us and to create change within us! I was feeling quite ashamed last night, because I was thinking about all of the things that I worry about and then I realized how blessed I was and how my problems are quite small in comparison to others. In fact, a lot of my “problems” are self created. But then I realized that the Lord knows my fears and insecurities, and even though my struggles are small in comparison to what others are going through, the Lord knows what I need and he is making changes in me to conquer these fears and more difficult trials in the future.

          Some of my biggest fears are coming out these last two weeks. Not only is my husband is on a tropical environment having fun with his own credit card, I am at home in a state I don’t want to live in anymore sick with a sinus infection! I was being resentful over this, but then realized of course I’m in the situation! However would I conquer my fears unless I was put in situations where I had to face them! Otherwise change and growth would never happen! You don’t usually change when things are easy! And like I said, even though my trials may seem small, the Lord knows what I need and I trust in Him.

          I’m going to use these next few days before my husband returns to really lean on Him, focus on Him, and just focus on myself. I’m going to give my husband some distance so he can actually miss me, because it is pretty hard to miss me if I keep bothering him about things. My husband made a really good point when he said, “Why don’t you wait until after the trip to get mad at me for overspending? Because I haven’t overspent, but if you are going to be mad at me for something I haven’t done yet, I might as well do it.” He’s right. Not only is worrying stripping away peace right now, but it also may be creating the outcome that I don’t want to happen! Yes, it makes it harder because my husband has been dishonest with spending and money, but I bet if I act like I trust him, he is more likely to be trustworthy. He said, “Can you just fake it for once?” I did explain to him that it can be hard to trust him when he has been dishonest in the past, but I realized that if I do start to act like he is a capable and trustworthy guy, then he is more likely to live up to that if I treated him as if he weren’t.

          My fear is what if I act like I trust him and he still is dishonest? That’s the only part I get stuck on April. Do we still act like we trust our husbands to them, even if we are struggling to actually trust them?

          1. LinseyAK,

            I am SUPER excited that you realized what you did!!!! That you are in this situation and that God wants to use it to help you grow. God does tailor the trials we face to address our specific fears, I believe. He knows what we need and how we need to grow. Often, He sends trials to help us mature and grow in our faith, and we balk at the very thing He knows we need.

            I’m so thankful that you are going to change your attitude and focus on Christ. I am also really glad that you are not going to bother your husband or accuse him of overspending right now, especially not before he actually does it.

            I definitely understand that it would be hard to trust a husband who has been dishonest in the past about money. I also agree that if you aren’t so controlling, he may be more honest in the future. But even if he isn’t – your trust has to be in Jesus that He is your ultimate Provider and that even if your husband fails you, Jesus won’t fail you and He will use even that trial for your ultimate good and His glory. Does that make sense?

            Much love!

          2. Yes, it makes sense. However, I’m still not sure what I should do as far as trusting my husband. If I don’t trust him, should I still act like I do? My husband even said, “Will you just trust me or at least fake it?” I do not trust him. I don’t trust him, because of my own insecurities, my lack of trust in people in general, things that he has said to me during fights (threatening divorce me, that he has lost respect in me, etc.), my lack of trust in myself because of sins I’ve committed, and because he has lied in the past. It is very difficult for me to trust him in regards to money and anything else. I know I can trust in the Lord about everything, but what do I do if I really don’t trust my husband? He obviously can sense that I don’t.

            Him being away on a business trip in Hawaii is really allowing a lot of my biggest fears and worries to come out and unfortunately last night, I allowed it to consume me. There’s been two nights when his phone was off and he was unreachable, and even though he had valid reasons (phone was dead, he fell asleep), thoughts and worries are consuming me! I have never found any solid evidence that my husband has been unfaithful, and I’m embarrassed to admit that I have done my fair share of snooping. Any connections that I have tried to make with him being unfaithful were really baseless (I don’t recognize this sock! He must of cheated on me!) and caused by my own paranoia. I guess you could make connections with anything if you wanted to, but it doesn’t really mean its proof.

            I’m just not really sure what to do at this point. He text me this morning that he was sleeping when I called his other phone (work phone). I feel really insecure and worried. I wasn’t able to sleep well. I tried to lean on the Lord, but I let all of this consume me. I don’t know, it just doesn’t feel right. “They” say a woman’s intuition is always right, but I’m not sure that is really true. Sometimes my intuition is based only on fear, insecurities, and lies from the enemy. I’m just not sure what I should do at this point. I’m just so scared of being in the dark if he really is being unfaithful or doing anything inappropriate in a marriage. I’m not sure if these thoughts are truly my own or the enemy’s and whether or not I should act like they have some validity or brush them away, because they are my own fleshy voice or the enemy’s voice. I cannot decipher between them right now.

            But I can’t keep this up, because I’m letting it consume me. I’ve cried out to the Lord asking him to take it from me and to show me the truth and what to do, but I’m not hearing much. I’m not sure if I should just leave my husband alone and allow him to contact me when he wants. Even texting him good night last night (and not receiving one back) was motivated by fear. I didn’t text him to please Christ or bless my husband. I did it to see if he would text back and to get security. So if your motives are not pure, but the behavior is not a sin, do you stop the behavior until the motives are pure or do you change your motives? What if you can’t change them right away? I was even worrying about whether or not I should stop something as simple as sending a good night text, because my motives aren’t pure.

            Thanks April. I know this doesn’t have much to do with this post. 🙂 If anything, it helps me get it out, so I appreciate it 🙂

          3. I also want to add that my husband doesn’t appear to be a man that would ever cheat. I’ve never seen him have pornography, he doesn’t go out or have many friends even, and I’ve had friends that have told me that my husband is weird, because he never checks out other women. LOL. My lack of trust comes from what I mentioned before and for little things, like him having his phone off or not responding to my texts, drinking while away from me (he is not a big drinker, but will drink a few on vacation), etc. And a voice that says “You never really know a person. Don’t be a fool by trusting him. The woman is always the last to know. Things are not great in marriage, so what is stopping him?”

          4. LinseyAK,

            Thanks for sharing these things. 🙂

            None of us are guaranteed our husbands won’t sin against us. But our security can’t be in our husbands. It’s got to be in Jesus.

            If you end up facing a situation where he has committed adultery, God will give you the wisdom and strength you need as you trust in Him fully.

            And if your husband truly isn’t cheating on you – your willingness to rest in Christ and not reacting in fear will help to heal and save your marriage.

          5. LinseyAK,

            Keep in mind, as you seek to trust God more and yield to Him more and more – Satan will attack you even harder. I think you are experiencing spiritual warfare here. Remember that your husband is not your enemy. Your enemy is a spiritual enemy, and as you allow yourself to not take your thoughts captive, you give Satan ground in your life.

            The voice of Satan loves to accuse. This is what you are doing right now – accusing your husband, without proof.

            If something is truly going on – God can expose it. And you can respond in His power.

          6. Thank you April. All of this was really helpful. I can see now why I was unable to hear His Voice last night. I totally let fear and worry take over.

            My husband did tell me that his personal phone had gotten wet and that it wasn’t working. I can see why he didn’t originally tell me this, because he has broken many phones like this in the past and he was probably embarrassed and he probably thought I might nag him about it. He told me that he went to dinner and to the hot tub and then saw my texts before he went to bed and texted me good night. He said he didn’t do it earlier because his phone was on silent and he went to the pool and didn’t want to get this one wet. Looking back, I feel kind of foolish 🙁 Last night, I was convinced that he was sinning against me in some way. But today, it really seems to be more clear that he isn’t.

            Like I said, the lack of trust is partly because of things he has done and things I have done. He has lied (mostly about finances), but sometimes I think if a husband lies about one thing he will dishonest about everything. I think this has been a lie the world has told me. There are things I have lied about and some things I would never do, so there is proof right there. He also said some very hurtful things in anger about a week before we left about divorce and not respecting me, so that makes me insecure. Then there is my part. I have baggage from my past that has caused me to distrust people. I have also done stuff, even in my marriage, that causes me not to trust others because I have been untrustworthy (no cheating, but still inappropriate behavior) and I guess I feel shame over those things still even though I have repented for them to the Lord. Also, I’m just a little insecure in general. I know that I need to work all of these things out with the Lord.

            So as of now, my husband told his side of the story and my heart is now telling me he is telling the truth. Could that be the Holy Spirit? He asked me why I am accusing him of things? I explained briefly about how it might have to do with my own insecurities and insecurities about our marriage because of the things he said in anger, but never apologized for or said they were untrue. He didn’t really respond to that and told me that he doesn’t like to be accused of things and that he wouldn’t have this conversation anymore.

            When you ask your husband about his whereabouts and details and other questions, is that basically the same thing as accusing him without proof and disrespectful to men? I think that it would probably be a good idea to give him space and only text him when he texts me, for his sake and my own. I wouldn’t of even been having this issue if I hadn’t text him last night and allowed my mind and my fears to totally take over.

            Feeling kind of silly about it now.

          7. LinseyAK,

            I’m glad you feel like he wasn’t doing something against you now. That is such a blessing.

            It seems to me like you are thinking in a healthier way right now. I’m glad you are able to see that you both have issues. My prayer is that you will learn do find security completely in the Lord. In my view, insecurity (especially when there is no sin on our husband’s part) is often a symptom that we are looking to someone or something else besides Christ for our security.

            It could be the Holy Spirit giving you reassurance. As you continue to trust God and reject the enemy’s voice, you will learn to discern the two voices a lot more clearly.

            Asking your husband about where he is can mean you are accusing him. It depends on your motives and the context. It doesn’t always have to mean you are accusing him. If you are interrogating him – that can feel pretty accusatory. If you are just having a friendly conversation, asking about his day, or just checking on him – then it isn’t accusing him.

            Praying for you to go to prayer and maybe a journal and the Bible or some of my posts about fear tonight if you begin to feel insecure and tempted.

            Much love to you!

          8. Linseyak, This sounds like you are on the right track! You are starting to peel back the layers within yourself. Addressing your past “baggage” will allow you to be free from it. Repent and ask God for forgiveness, for your own sins and mistakes, but than accept His forgiveness and be free from the guilt and shame.

            Like a diet..some days you exercise, eat your salad and healthy stuff and avoid the junk food..you feel good about your success for the day. Other days, you basically eat the gallon of ice cream, consume the bag of cheetos…oat bag style, and sit on the couch binge watching the latest Netflix series. Then you beat yourself up for the lack of self control.

            No one is perfect. There will be good and bad days. The trick is that the next day is a NEW CHANCE to do your best again for God. Don’t quit trying, but realize your own imperfections in yourself as well.

            Deal with the lies that the world has told you. Compare them with what the bible tells you. One of the first ones I had to learn was that “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me”. Lie. Words are like swords, and it says in the bible how cutting and damaging they can be. I am now much more careful with the sword I weild. The realization of that first worldly lie was monumental to me. Another example: My husband’s latest is “respect is to be earned and not given.” I’m saddened by his clinging to this one. In fact, respect is to be given to everyone for the mere fact that we are all sons and daughters of God.

            I am very full of joy to see you being honest about your feelings and looking for the truth, not just accepting answers that “feel good”. This is where the door to a better life literally opens up for you. Keep seeking Jesus and you will see His truth revealed to you.

            Hugs.

          9. Thank you LMSDAILY! These are wonderful words of godly wisdom. I’ve decided to print it as a reminder, along with some of April’s blogs that speak to me. Thank you!

            I do have the book Boundaries in Marriage. The biggest thing that I realized reading this book is I first have to make boundaries for myself and I need to respect my husband’s boundaries, before I can have them with my husband. There are many boundaries that I try to cross. Fortunately my husband puts them in place, even though it can be embarrassing. For example, if I send him a million text messages and he tells me to stop, if I don’t, he will block me. It used to make me so sad and mad, but I realized that it is good. He doesn’t let me get away with things like that anymore, so he stopped enabling it. So yeah, before I can really do the whole boundary thing with him, I have to work on myself first. Also, I need to let go of all control first, because I saw if you don’t, making boundaries could be another way for me to control him if that makes sense. Like, if you don’t do this, I’ll do this.

            You are so right about the getting the log out of my own eye and dealing with the trash in my own yard. I cannot control him, but I can control ME.

            I’m so thankful that I have been shown that there is another way to be through Christ. If I look back 3 years ago, I was a completely different person all around. I have come a long way, but I also have a lot of “peeling” still left to do. Behaviors and feelings that have become habits my whole life…all the lies that the world told me and I believed. Especially lies like my husband owes me, women are superior, and things of that nature. I’m thankful that my husband doesn’t let me push him around like some of my past partners. I’m also glad that the Lord allows trials to happen in order to strengthen me.

            Thank you again LMS!

          10. LinseyAK,

            These are some important things you are seeing. Yes, it would be really good to respect your husband’s boundaries and to learn to work on yourself first. Then God can give you the wisdom you need about how to address any issues – and to see how important the issues really are – in your husband’s life. 🙂

          11. LMS Daily and April/

            So my husband came back and we had a good Mothers Day. Last night we had a fight, because I asked if I could share my feelings about something. He didn’t even listen to two words and got defensive. Before I know it a huge explosion occurre. Tears on my end. Name calling and swearing on his. He is obviously angry at the lack of trust I had in while he was gone about his spending and in general and he thought me sharing my feelings about something else was just another attack on him. Then I exploded after his verbal abuse and he leaves and gets a hotel.

            Then today he says he wants a divorce (for the millionth time) and that he wouldn’t be coming home. Well a few hours ago he comes home and has a big smirk on his face. Then he says “I’m going to go shoot my new $1200 gun at the shooting range. And if you continue to treat me the way you do, I’ll go buy another one and another one.” Thankfully by the grace of God, I was able to not react in sin like my old self. He must have been confused because he kept trying to bait me. He then said “you’re more than welcome to leave if you are mad.”

            The only thing I did was calmly ask him why he was trying to purposely hurt me and he said he wasn’t and asked me why I’m always trying to hurt him. Then I asked him why he wasn’t caring about our financial future (although we will be okay after this), and he said “I don’t care about our goals anymore because why would I be responsible and plan with you when I don’t see a future? My priorities are changing now.” I did have to put a boundary down because of bills. He used our credit card that’s used for bills so o had to take money from savings to pay for it. All of our other cash is in a savings account he’s in control over so my only way to pay for bills is with this card. So I took the card away that’s under my name and handed him an old one that’s under his name. I told him that if he was going to spend like this, he would have to do it under his name and figure out how to pay for it whether it be pulling from savings. Now obviously his debt is my debt and his savings is my savings but at least I’ll be able to not worry about paying the bills and I won’t be accountable for his reckless spending.

            I’m obviously hurt but I cannot believe the power I had in remaining calm and not reacting in sin. That’s a miracle in itself. Years ago would not have been pretty. Especially when he was baiting me. Thankfully I prayed and God showed me a wonderful article about this sort of thing right before he came home.

            I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do at this point. I leave Thursday for Texas to visit my best friend while she only has a few months to live. I’m being told space but I want to be able to FaceTime my 2 year old daughter. I know Gods using this trial to help me especially in regards to my controlling ways with money. I’m hopeful for how all of this is making me stronger in Him. Just not sure about my next direction.

          12. Linsey,

            What was it that you wanted to share your feelings about, my dear sister?

            Obviously, your husband knows your buttons. He knows that he can really upset you, usually, when he spends money carelessly. Saving money is extremely important to you, and spending it without your approval is a way he can prove that you can’t control him. You both know each other’s buttons. This seems like it has been the dance y’all have done for a long time, unfortunately. And it is so toxic.

            I hate that y’all ended up having a huge explosive fight. That makes me so sad!

            What did you say when you exploded?

            It seems to me, from what you have shared over many comments, that y’all both have knee-jerk reactions that hurt the other. When one of you feels insecure or offended, as humans tend to do in our sinful human nature, you react in ways that make things worse.

            Of course, as you know, you can only control yourself and your reactions.

            I’m glad that you gave him his own credit card. That seems reasonable.

            I’m really thankful that you stayed calm and didn’t freak out or react in sin that time. That is awesome! The more you respond in the power of God, the less damage will be done, the less apologizing you will have to do, and the more quickly y’all can get over difficult issues.

            I vote to spend a lot of time with God, to be sure to repent for any sinful attitudes or words on your end, and to allow Him to use all of this to continue to transform you into the image of Christ. I know He will give you wisdom.

            Much love!

          13. Linsey,

            Another way of looking at this may be that he is not necessarily trying to “punish” you but that he is proving to you that you can’t control him and force him not to spend money.

          14. Linseyak, wow, that was a down right temper tantrum-3 yr old style there. Such a tough place to be, but you handled it very well! God will give you the grace to get through each situation. Although we all want to know as far in advance as possibe what will happen, we often find that God takes us only one step at a time and keeps everything dark except the path to Him. It sounds like the boundary you had to set with the bill paying card was valid and respectable. You are not telling him he can’t spend, but you are being careful about making sure your responsibilities are not being endangered by his reckless spending choices.

            If he keeps threatening divorce in this way, it sounds more like manipulation. Even his baiting you with “you can leave if you are mad” is a form of instigating. I like that you remained calm. My advice is to let those comments roll off your back and not take them into your heart. If he chooses to leave, let him. Stay respectful, be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger. Obviously he was looking for a predictable response from you, but you changed things up. He became confused. It may get him to start thinking. Like his temper tantrum, impulsive spending and empty threats…it sounds like he is pulling whatever strings he can to get his way…irregardless of whom it hurts.

            I pray that he opens his eyes sooner than later, but in the meantime, be open to what God is training you for. Self control, patience, wisdom, emotional control and paying evil with good (even if that payment is respectful boundary making for the best interest of you both…that is still a loving thing to do, although it be tough love-style).

            God is training you to grow up, mature in a godly way and see the worldly things from the spiritual things. I pray you are open to it.

            Much love.

          15. Lmsdaily115,

            Thank you so much for sharing with our sister. 🙂

            Yes, that type of threatening a divorce does sound like manipulation to me. I agree about not taking the bait. And if he wants to leave, a wife in this situation can respectfully and calmly allow him to leave if that is what he wants to do.

            As a wife stops her end of the toxic dance, the husband eventually will (most likely) realize that his tactics are no longer working. And as he sees you not responding in sin, Linsey, all he will have left to look at is his own sin.

            Praying for you both today!

          16. Thank you both for replying.

            So just a little bit more information. My husband has ADHD. When he was a child, he was always getting into trouble and had trouble with school. He was always rebelling against his parents and they even gave him up to the state when he was in 5th grade. After a few stupid choices (underage drinking) the judge told him to join the Army or go to jail. The military has been the best thing for him and 13 years later he is very successful. However, I think that he still struggles with work and school (he is getting his BA in nursing) and he is a little bit insecure about things. He likes to brag sometimes in a way that he is building himself up. I also think materialistic things and hunting make him feel successful in a way. Also, his ADHD does make him impulsive at times and causes him to have a temper.

            What my husband did last night was not too out of character for him, he has done things like this, just not as extreme. It has been a toxic cycle. I am very responsible for establishing a mother/child type relationship and this is his was of rebelling. He feels controlled and disrespected, but bottles it in and everything seems fine and then there is an explosion and spending money is his way of trying to regain control I believe. It is a power thing I believe. I’m not so sure about trying to punish me, although it might have a little to do with that, but when I asked him why he was trying to hurt me, he said he wasn’t, but that things are going to change or he will continue to spend. So I think it totally has to do with control and power.

            Before he went to Hawaii things were very tense, as they usually are. We got in an explosive fight and my daughter witnessed and I’m deeply ashamed about that. My husband was so upset by this, but he could not see how he did the same exact things I did. We both yelled. We both said hurtful things, but for some reason my hsuband cannot see this. He threatened divorce and said some really horrible things. Eventually he calmed down and we were okay when he left. I wanted the time apart to be a time where I could grow closer to God and trust in him and show my husband that I trust him and his capabities. But I spent the whole time worrying and nagging my husband about money and his whereabouts. When he came home, we had a nice Mother’s Day. He had even bought me a bracelet. He got a little annoyed with me around dinner time, because he thought I was being demanding. The next day he was going to go buy some hunting stuff. I asked him if he could got to a specific grocery store to save money and he said he would. I then asked him how much he was going to spend and he said $200. Well he ended up not going to the store he said he would and he spent $300. So that night I asked him if I could read a letter that I wrote to him about how when he tells me one thing but does another, it hurts my trust. I probably should have let the whole thing go, but this is an ongoing thing with him, probably to do with his ADHD. He says he’ll do something or don’t do something and doesn’t follow through. Anyway, he got very defeneive and I started to get emotional and go downstairs. He came downstairs and started to yell about how I’m hurting our daughter and how I’m psycho and I have no control and I need help. He could not see that the things he was accusing me of were the things he was doing at the moment! I ended up calling him a bunch of horrible names, because he was calling me names and I felt verbally abused. I don’t like calling names or swearing, but I just wanted him to stop. I was able to calm down and then he left and got a hotel.

            The next day I emailed him apologizing. Then the whole thing happened. He ended the night with telling me, “I’m going to buy that piece of land that I want and you cannot do anything about it.” At this point, I have no idea what to say or do so I’m not saying or doing anything. I leave tomorrow to visit my dying friend for a week.

          17. We don’t have any Christian counselors in our city and our church is between pastors. Plus I do not think my husband would be willing until I change dramatically.

          18. Linsey,
            I don’t think either of you can just push sins against each other under the rug.

            We all tend to feel other’s sins against us much more profoundly than we notice our own sins against others.

            I’m thinking that your husband could probably say the same things you said.

            “How do I love her when she won’t stop trying to control me and she disrespects me and won’t trust me?”
            “How can I forgive her when every time I forgive, she continues on doing the same things that hurt me?”
            “How can I have romantic feelings or love for a woman who would hurt me on purpose?”
            “She says she isn’t trying to hurt me, but why else would she continue doing all of the things that she knows hurt me the most?”

            To him, he probably thinks talking about things won’t help. He probably wants to see real change. Just like you do.

            You said that you know when you change, he will change, too.

            You have an INCREDIBLE amount of power to turn this ship around and get it going in a godly direction.

            Some questions for yourself to prayerfully consider…

            Are you willing to do it?

            Do you want to do it?

            What is on your page that God wants you to work on so that your page is clean?

            What steps do you plan to take to move yourself toward God?

            What resources might he have access to for his ADHD that may help you both?

            Has he been quitting tobacco again recently?

            Much love, my precious sister!

          19. Linsey,

            Just thought of some more questions that you may want to prayerfully consider. Of course, I don’t have to know the answers. The main thing is for you to think and pray about these things and seek the Lord wholeheartedly. 🙂

            Do you want to change in Christ? Do you want Him to change you?

            If not, why?

            Do you believe you can truly trust God with everything?

            Is there anything you feel like you need to hold back?

            What do you really want for your marriage and your daughter?

            What would the enemy like you to think and feel and focus on right now?

            Whose voice are you listening to?

            Sending you a huge hug!

          20. Lord,

            Linsey and her husband are in a mess. They are both hurting. They are both hurting each other. They are both afraid. Neither seems to know how to forgive or move forward. The enemy is rejoicing.

            We ask for Your victory and Your Spirit to intervene. Give Linsey a heart for You and a willingness to do anything You ask her to. Help her to keep her eyes on You and allow You to transform her. Give her a heart to bring glory to Your Name. Give her the resources and wisdom she needs. Help her to have the insight to see how she can change her end of things to honor You and to bless her husband. Help them to work through the scars and wounds they have inflicted on each other and their precious daughter. Give them eyes to see what they are doing to each other and to her. Give them hearts that want to do things Your way. Give them a desire and faith to see what You can do if only they will turn to You.

            We ask for Your deliverance and healing for both Linsey and her husband. Direct their steps. Draw them to Your heart. We thank and praise You that You are able to make something beautiful from this mess that will result in great good for both of them, for their daughter, for Your kingdom, and great glory for Your Name.

            Amen!

          21. Also, about the divorce thing. I just feel hopeless. This is going to be just another thing we push under the rug. No apologies from him or talking about it. He’s incapable of seeing his own sin and he can’t talk about or listen to feelings. How do I love? How can I forgive? It just seems so hard. I know with Gods grace I can forgive but how can I have romantic feelings or respect for a man who would hurt me on purpose? I know when I change he does too, but how can I move on if there is no closure?

            Also I don’t know about boundaries. He is threatening now to buy the land. What can I do? He’s going to use money from his retirement. It may be a smart investment but he now wants to do it with wrong motives. Also I know I have to clean up my page before I can put boundaries into place. Even if my page was cleaned, what would I do? Cancel the credit card? Take all of our savings? That’s controlling to me and he works and it’s money to and isn’t that what got us in this mess? My controlling of finances? Does that make sense. Plus that would start an all out war. Plus this wouldn’t even be happening if my page was clean. He is more than willing to work with me in regards to finances and spending when I’m not the way I have been.

          22. Linsey,

            When thoughts of divorce fill your heart. Take some time alone with the Lord. Ask God to check your motives:

            1. What do I want me initiating a divorce to accomplish? What do I think the benefits would be?

            2. How will it glorify God?

            3. How will it impact my daughter?

            4. What scripture justifies me divorcing my husband in this situation?

            5. Am I possibly reacting out of hatred, bitterness, fear, or some other aspect of the flesh? Or is the Spirit of God clearly leading me to do this?

            6. Do I want to hurt my husband or bless him?

          23. I want to add that I’m seriously considering divorce right now even though I wish it weren’t so. Not so much about the money but the fact that he did this to spite me although he says he didn’t do this to hurt me it’s hard for me to see it this way. Right now all I’m able to be is silent. I’m not sure how I can forgive. I can’t even speak.

          24. Linsey,

            How has your time with the Lord been going? Do you believe you are following Him? Or do you believe that your anger may be leading you at this point?

            What is it that you believe you can’t forgive specifically?

            Much love to you! This is a spiritual battle. Please do not forget who the real enemy is.

          25. LinseyAK,

            If you don’t feel that your husband is trustworthy, you don’t have to trust him. But you also don’t have to freak out. There is a difference between not trusting him and completely losing your mind. Does that make sense? You can trust God. You can ask Him to shine light on anything that you need to see. You can rest in God’s love and provision for you. You can determine to find your security and peace in Christ alone.

            You could choose not to text your husband anymore and let him be the one to contact you.

            You are reacting in fear. And when we react in fear, we destroy relationships. That won’t be helpful, even if he is doing something wrong. Let all the wrongdoing be on his side of the relationship. You keep your head, your poise, and your dignity. Keep your eyes on Jesus.

            A woman’s intuition is not always right. I have no idea what your husband is doing. It is impossible to know for sure from so far away. But God can show you what you need to see and give you the wisdom you need to have as you calm down and sit at Jesus’ feet and receive all of His goodness, wisdom, discernment, discretion, and provision.

            God does not give us a spirit of fear. That is from the enemy. God gives you a Spirit of love, joy, peace, power, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, patience, kindness, etc…

            You aren’t hearing much because you are freaking out, dear sister.

            Breathe.

            Be still.

            Lay all of this before the Lord. Depend on Him to show you what step you need to take.

            If your motives aren’t pure, take your motives to God and ask Him to help you have pure motives.

            Don’t rush ahead of God. You don’t have to know every single thing right this second. You will know what you need to know at just the right time. And God will be with you – even if your husband is doing something awful.

            It would sure be tragic to put yourself and him through all this drama if he truly isn’t doing anything wrong. You could singlehandedly destroy your marriage. Adultery is not the only sin that can destroy a marriage. Fear, disrespect, control, and suspicion can, too.

            Allow God to remove anything toxic in your thinking and to refine your motives. Rest in His love. Receive all the good things He has for you right now in this time of testing. Sing praises to Him. Write down all the things you have to be thankful for. Thank and praise Him for what He will do in your husband’s life and in your marriage. Don’t speak death to him and to your marriage. Speak LIFE to him, your marriage, and yourself, my dear sister. Speak the Word of God over your family and marriage.

            Much love!

          26. Hi Linseyak, I hope you don’t mind me jumping in here. But i felt i had sone thoughts to share.

            This is what I am seeing…fear, fear and more fear. It is consuming you and the devil is having his way with your mind. “Resist the devil and he will flee…”

            Weather your husband is or is not having an affair, overspending, etc, you really can’t control that. But you CAN control your reactions to it. Trust that God will either bring something to light, give you proof or a reasonable explanation , or put you both into situations to help you learn what He wants you to learn…grow you both up. He is a good, goid father and wants what is best for you. Until you stop taking the same path that brings you around into the same starting point, I suspect you will be tested over and over with this test until you figure out a different way to respond to this situation. You may not trust your husband, that’s ok, but you are still asked to forgive him. Have you forgiven his past breeches of confidence?

            Put yourself into his shoes, would you be forthright and honest with someone who no matter what you did, right, wrong or indifferent, you are still “in trouble for it”? I would probably get a bit guarded and secretive too, also, to avoid confrontation etc…not saying it would be the right thing to do, but psycologically, it is understandable. Most people lie because they are avoiding getting in trouble. So your husband asking you to fake it (trust in him) sounds like a loud cry to give him a chance to prove himself worthy of trust from you. Like a kid who breaks curfew, if you never let him out of the house again, how can he prove to you that he learned his lesson and start to earn back your trust?

            Your perceived control of the situation is fake anyway. You cannot make anybody do what you want. You don’t want to try, honest, unless you enjoy being a slave driver. It needs to be HIS choice to BE trustable or not. Just like God doesn’t take away our free will. He is not into having a bunch of slaves. He wants us to CHOISE to love and obey Him, but we still have a choice, it just comes with consequences…boundaries.

            A great book to read is “Boundaries” by Dr’s Cloud and Townsend. They also have “Boundaries in Marriage” which might be a better read due to this being primarily a husband/wife issue…but both are fantastic.

            I think the issue you may really need to deal with is in fact, boundaries. You can say something like “honey, I really want to trust you with money, or when you are away, etc, I’m trying to deal with keeping my own thoughts at bay. The past has really eroded my trust, but I want to try to let that go and work on re-establishing trust with you in this area. It would help me if we can be very transparent with each other and be accountable to each other. I will also do my best to keep my emotions under control and not jump to conclusions. However, when X happens, it really takes a chunk out of my trust with you, so when that happens, I will need to do Y.” (Then set an appropriate consequence.

            Another thing I just learned last night at a church class our pastor is speaking about called “Dealing with difficult people” is that you should instill a 3 day rule. It goes like this…if an issue comes up, try to give yourself 3 days before you address it or confront about it. Here is why:

            1) it allows time for emotions to settle down and get into some kind of control…on both sides, in fact. Reduces the “knee-jerk, emotionally charged reaction and allows for a well thought out RESPONSE instead.

            2) it allows the Holy Spirit to speak to both hearts. To soften a heart, or in fact bring courage to confront, if needed. The offender may even soften and come to you to rectify or appologize first. But also to allow the HS to speak into your own heart and bring wisdom, understanding, grace, mercy, etc.

            3) to allow grace, mercy and forgiveness to take seed and grow a bit so you can confront the other person with love, respect and calmness, and kerp the focused goal to restore the relationship.

            4) it gives time for self reflection to take the log out of your own eye before you attempt to remove the speck from your brothers (husbands) eye. Reflect on your own roles and mistakes or wrong motives within the situation.

            5) it will allow more information to be discovered. You may not have all the facts at first and are knee-jerk reacting to the first thing you suspect. (He fell asleep so he didn’t call/text back…perfectly reasonable) that way YOU don’t become the one eating crow and falsely accusing someone and putting them in a cant-win situation, and being the offender who needs to repent and appologize.

            6) it gives you time to pray and speak to God about it and listen for His guidance and direction. It may help you see the situation from a different perspective.

            The 3 day rule has literally worked for me so many times. I think it is helpful with almost EVERY relationship.

            A friend of mine recently divorced her husband because he could not stop falsely accusing her of cheating on him. She wasn’t cheating on him and tried for a long tI’m to help him feel secure about her loyalty to him, but it wore her down to that point. She is not a Christian, but I can see how 20 years of false accusations had eroded the marriage, trust and connection. Her divorcing him might not be the right thing to do either, but I could understand her frustration.

            I would like to suggest that you strongly take a good hard look at your own feelings and search for things like: insecurity, low self esteem, a controling spirit, perfectionism, fault finding pride in thinking your own way is the best way… motive- good/execution of the plan-bad sort of thing….These are things I had to face within myself as well and was totally shocked and appalled at what I discovered in myself. I’m still quite a work in progress, but I’m better than I was and growing. I thought some of those things were good and right ways to deal with stuff (perfectionism, good motive/bad plan).

            Trying to see your husband for what he can become, rather than what he is can be a very positive and encouraging way to think. That is how God sees us. Not as the dreadful sinners we are, but for the righteous and good we can become. He is trying to grow us toward that goal, but we are not gods to our husbands. It is not our business to condemn, judge, criticize, put down, control, convict, demean or enslave ANYONE. God alone is the judge. God alone will bring justice. Like April says all we can do is point the way and BE the godly example. Emulate Jesus here. I think of the popular bracelets that haD “WWJD?” on them…What Would Jesus Do? In that way, you can SHOW the truth and a better path for your husbands journey.

            I would even suspect he doesn’t trust you emotionally to NOT freak out if he makes a mistake. I have been acvused of that myself by my kuds and husband…and they were right. Can you work on being an emotionally safer person to him? It probably sucks to think your husband can’t trust YOU enough to not blow up if something happens or doesn’t go your way. Log in your own eye, first! This is a hard one, but wOrth the effort to address.

            I pray that you can take this time while your husband is away to focus inwardly and really address your fears with God. I pray that you can focus on what you can control. …yourself, your thoughts, reactions, words. ..and let God deal with helping your husband with his own thoughts, reactions, words. You have enough “trash” in your own yard to clean up, let your husband work on his yard. Obviously, this doesn’t mean that certain issued remain unaddressed, but give it 3 days and see if the problem resolves on its own, or if you can confront him with the problem that “we have” (not your husband has…or it may come across as accusing, offensive, critical, blaming, untrusting, etc), then you can calmly and respectfully come to a solution together.

            I will pray for you to use this alone time to look into the corners of yourself and try to discover the more basic fears driving your actions. Afraid of not having enough money to live the way you want, afraid of feeling out of control, afraid of rejection, not being good enough for someone, people pleasing….? Dig deep, peel back the onion layers and ask God to reveal something in you. Be honest about it, deal with it and grow from it. Your husband has to do this too, but right now, run your own race…let him run his.

            All my love and hugs, my dear sister in Christ.

    3. Hey LMS,

      Similar things happened in my marriage before it ended (secret accounts and transactions). I want to write some practical advice. In my country, debt incurred by a separated spouse right up to when a legal property settlement is approved by the courts effects the other spouse’s finances also. I could not buy another home until the settlement occurred due to this law, no bank would loan me money because of the potential for my ex wife to make a claim on the next house. Since a married couple need to be separated for a year before divorce is legal and a property settlement can be postponed up to a year after a divorce is approved there is the potential for 2 years of debt/spending habits to effect the other spouse. The same goes for savings, if one spouse saves a lot of money in that time or perhaps inherits money, that money can be claimed by the other spouse. It may be worth researching what the laws are in your country so you have a handle on what you are liable for.

      You can only trust someone who is trustworthy. Love is given freely. Trust is earned.

      BUT, someone you CAN trust is your saviour. I will testify that God has brought people, places and things in to my life over the past two years that have ensured I have not been left high and dry in any way. Whilst it may be worth checking on your countries legal obligations on fiscal matters, there is no need whatsoever to have any fear, God WILL meet the needs of His children.

      In Christ, HH

      1. LMS, was thinking today, I didn’t write that comment with an intent to suggest you should separate from your husband. Far from it. Wanted to clarify that. HH

        1. Thanks, HH, I know you didn’t have that intention. I appreciate the advice, though. I still need to prepare for the possibility and not stick my head in the sand either. I would think God brought information to light for a reason. It could be for me to have an opportunity to grow some courage to confront in love….or….it could be to wake me up to the seriousness of sin and to not be idle about it all. Or there could be something else God is trying to bring me or my husband through that we do not fully understand yet. Maybe even the opportunity for me to show grace, mercy and forgiveness to him as an opportunity to point him to God. Or it could be satan.

          I do feel that the devil is trying hard to put fear in me so I can react in sin. I have, in fact talked to my husband about my concerns and he has taken some responsible steps to reduce the debt. For that, I’m happy, and I see God working through this hardship as well.

          I am not ready to leave my husband, but honestly, I daydream endlessly about what it would be lije. The peace, the quiet, the rest. But I am aware it could be a mirage, too. A trick of the devil. I think I am strong enough to live a different kind of marriage than I want or expected for the greater good of hopefully helping to give my h time and space to work things out. I just dont, and won’t have the assurance that he will ever get to that point. So, for now, I am trying to seriously let that desire lay dormant. I am moving my focus onto working on myself, taking care of kids and being as pleasant and respectful as I can, but also understanding that I have boundaries too and that there are things I just can’t agree to. My husband has told me that he knows exactly what would feel loving to me, but that he doesn’t want to give me those things (hugs, time to talk, understanding or even offering to help when I am overloaded with taking care of 4 older parents who have had surgury, sick or need help, plus kids, house stuff…..) I am learning to truly operate as if I were single. In this way, I can be grateful for what IS given. By God, my husband or anyone, because then it becomes a blessing and not an expectation.

          I pray my h will be drawn to the light of God. I know I am not the best beacon, but I am learning. I don’t have the “give up gene” in me, and I always keep hope alive…Sometimes it’s only a mere coal, but it’s there, I feel it’s warmth deep down. It may take a bold move to obey God, but I sure want to be sure it’s what God wants, and not my flesh or satan. I know I am a survivor, I just want to be a thriver, too.

          Thanks for being a friend in Christ.

          1. LMS, always a friend in Christ to you ☺

            It can be hard sometimes to know what is God’s warning and what is a spiritual attack. I think the warfare is much stronger than we suspect. And fear is certainly a very, very strong driver that the enemy uses!!!

            I am glad that you can see that the peace, rest and quiet of living alone may be a mirage. There are benefits to living alone, yes. But there are also many negatives. I’ve had well over a year of living alone now, and coming home 4 nights a week to an empty, silent house with no childrens laughter, no warmth, noone to talk to does have its own challenges ☺

            And, over a year of being a single dad 3 days a week, learning how to do french braids, plaits and pony tails (one of the most precious times of the week actually, such a privilege!), getting the kids ready for sport, church, friends birthday parties, cooking every meal, buying clothes for them etc. There are challenges no matter what our situation, some challenges are just different to others.

            I’m only 33 (a few days ago actually), I’m in the prime of life, fit, strong and healthy. Regularly active, no extra weight, long term full time job etc. It would be extremely easy for me to start dating, find another partner and remarry. But, as I seek out God’s mind on remarriage I am convinced more and more that God has called me to honour my wedding vows until death. I have read through all of the scripture about divorce and remarriage and I am more and more convinced that it would be adultery for me to remarry.

            Having experienced the loneliness of single life for a year, I am not coming to that conclusion lightly. I can see very clearly that it entails possibly another 60 years of human loneliness, but I can not see a remarriage in my future. But, gloriously, this is showing me something so, so beautiful about the love of Christ towards me! The more I reflect on the permanence of the vows I made, the more precious the covenant I have with Christ is becoming to me ☺ The permanence of His love, the security of His presence, the goodness of His forgiveness and Holy Spirit is experienced even stronger than ever. And the human loneliness becomes much, much, MUCH lighter.

            And, God has a way of meeting even our emotional needs in ways we don’t expect. My ex wife did not even send a text for my birthday, it was completely ignored. But, my kids found out through my church and they put on a puppet show as a birthday present! Cardboard boxes taped together as a set, a quilt over the back to hide them and their little hands in front with hand made paper puppets! My son who is learning to write, put a plate of fruit as snacks for the show with a handwritten note saying “for speshle dad”. I was also looking after a little foster girl for a friends respite for the day, so all three of them did the show and it was the BEST birthday present ever ☺

            I know you are disheartened, diacouraged and struggling. But you are a fighter. I encourage you to press into Christ again. I will pray for you today, for another measure of grace to warm your heart and cover you in Christ’s love. He will see you through!

            In Christ, HH

          2. I never imagined that you were as young as 33 :). I pray for God’s continued healing for you…

          3. HH,
            Love this so much! I hate the pain you have experienced, but what an incredible joy to watch God work in your heart and life. You are not the same man you were 14 months ago.

            So precious about the birthday gift your children gave you – and the foster girl.

            Thank you very much for sharing!

  2. I joined a mom’s group when I became a stay at home mom and was beginning to make friends with the various ladies in the group (many of whom were not Jesus followers) and i wanted to be friends with this one gal “Olga,” but after 6 months she started telling me every detail about her “friend Sarah” (another mom in the group who was going through a horrible contentious divorce).

    This Sarah was confiding in her, and then Olga would call me and try to tell me everything and how she was “praying” for this other mom but that she felt like she was being used as a counselor to solve Sarah’s problems. I told Olga that she didn’t have to help this woman and that I didn’t want to hear about Sarah’s life, that it was none of my business and that Sarah needed God. I decided to hold this woman at arm’s length and never tell her any personal details that I didn’t want the whole world to know. I wish I could have told her that she was gossiping and how it made me sick, but I didn’t know how without “offending” her.

    I pretty much decided the whole group is a bunch of busy bodies after all, which is such a shame because my kids have a great time with their kids. After 3 years, none of the women have had any inclination to develop deeper friendships and I don’t trust them with anything going on in my life.

    1. M S,

      It is very easy for women’s groups to turn into gossip and busybody fests, unfortunately. I’m really glad that you said you didn’t want to hear about another woman’s life and those confidential details and that it was none of your business and that Sarah needed God. I’m also glad that you realized you could not be close to this woman or confide in her. That was wise.

      I hate to hear that things have not gotten better. Might be a really good thing to pray about – for God to work in each woman’s heart, and to pray about how God may desire to use you to shine for Christ in the darkness with His love and truth.

      Much love!

      1. Ladies,

        Another option is – sometimes whoever is the leader of a women’s group might decide to lay down some ground rules for the group in a friendly way. That may also help to prevent gossip and drama if everyone is clear on how things are to be handled in the group ahead of time.

  3. April…great article….it is always good to be reminded of this…Thank you…..

  4. You said that venting is toxic and I agree because when people vent to me, I just feel drained and it seems to encourage them to be even more negative and frustrated.

    Please explain how to set boundaries towards those who want to vent or gossip to you.

    1. Nikki,

      Sometimes it can be VERY challenging to get people not to vent or gossip. Some people refuse to stop. If you ask them not to tell you things respectfully and they continue, it would be ideal to remove yourself or to speak to your supervisor. But those things don’t always remedy the situation.

      If it is a friend or family member, you may have more flexibility in how you respond. You may not have to be trapped there with someone who is venting or gossiping.

      GOSSIP
      You can say things like:

      – “If you continue to gossip to me, I will have to leave.”
      – “I don’t want to hear about other people’s problems. That is not my business.”
      – “Let’s go talk with them about the problem together right now and resolve this.” (That will usually stop it.)
      – “I love you and want to hear about things that are important to you, but I can’t listen to gossip.”

      VENTING:
      You could say something like:
      – “I know it seems like venting helps you feel better, but it really doesn’t. Focusing on these negative things and speaking them out loud speaks death into your relationship with this person and with God. Let’s look at the real issue going on in your heart and deal with that before the Lord. If you are willing to do that with me, I will be glad to listen and try to help point you to Christ.”
      – “If you want to talk about your own spiritual issues and you want to deal with sin in your life, I’m glad to do anything I can to encourage you, if you really want to change and heal. If you just want to complain or spew negativity about this other person, then I won’t be able to help and I won’t be able to listen.”

      Yes, when we vent to others, we are generally complaining, gossiping, and saying very negative things, maybe bitter things, too. That is toxic to us and it is toxic to those who hear our words.

      On the blog, often people will vent about a spouse. I then try to get a picture of what is going on and get a spiritual pulse on the person who is commenting. If they are willing to look at themselves and their walk with Christ, I can help them. If they only want to complain about their spouse, I have to eventually address that and ask them not to share anymore – or I sometimes have to even block people.

      God’s Word actually commands believers not to complain or argue – Phil. 2:14-16. So, this is sin for us to do those two things. It is not a gift for me to encourage someone to rant and rage about their bitterness, hatred, or other sinful thoughts or motives.

      If someone isn’t willing to look at his/her own sin, or isn’t willing to change and turn to Christ in repentance for his/her own sin – my hands are pretty tied. I can’t make them change. I can’t make them repent. So I may have to say, “When you are ready to look at your end of things and your relationship with Christ, I will be glad to do anything I can to point you to the healing that is available to you in Him. But right now, if you are not willing to do that, then I can’t help you.”

      Some people want to “emotionally/spiritually vomit” all over everyone else on a weekly basis. You know what I mean? They just bring up all kinds of emotional/spiritual filth and spew it all over everyone else. But they have no interest in changing or repenting themselves.

      I think of this blog as the ER of a hospital. Sometimes people come in throwing up. Sometimes they come in bleeding everywhere. Ministering to sinners is messy. I expect that. But if it continues on and on and on and people aren’t willing to receive God’s help and truth, then I have to stop my efforts to try to help. Or if someone is simply spiritually blind and can’t see yet. I can explain and pray for them. But there is a point where, if they can’t receive God’s truth, I have to let them go until they are able or willing to hear God’s voice. I can’t wake them up or make them see.

      It is challenging to set boundaries like this. But something Greg told me from the beginning of this ministry that has helped me a lot is, “Focus on the ones who want to learn and who want to grow. Don’t waste your time on the ones who just want to argue or complain.”

      I have to say, it has been really hard for me sometimes to let people go. I don’t ever want to give up on anyone. But sometimes when we let people go, God uses that as a wake up call, and I have seen Him bring people to repentance because I refused to continue to coddle someone who really didn’t want to deal with their own sin.

      It takes God’s wisdom, the power of the Holy Spirit, His discernment, and some practice, but God can help us do this so that we don’t continue to cast our pearls before swine and so that we turn our attention to those who are ready to hear His wisdom, love, and truth. We can continue to pray for those we can’t help. But we don’t have to continue lavishing tons of time on them when they won’t receive anything of the Lord.

      Does that help a bit?

      Much love!

      1. This was very helpful. I have a tendency to be a rescuer and try to save people who are troubled. I’ve long learned that when I try to change or save someone, I just end up drained, angry and frustrated and they usually get more and more helpless, weak and needy. If someone does not want to change or get better, I step away from them and their problems. They react by either looking for another rescuer or by growing up and trying to solve their own problems. Regardless of how they react, letting toxic people go sets me free. I can just pray for them without feeling wrapped up and responsible for their problems.

        1. Nikki,

          I have the same tendency. This can be harnessed for good, as we depend on God’s Spirit to do the actual saving. Or, we can try to do things ourselves and – of course – that just makes a big mess.

          So true, we can’t make someone want to change or want to get better. If they just want to be codependent with us, idolize us, or try to make us responsible for their decisions and issues, that is not going to work. But when people are ready to take responsibility for themselves before the Lord, then we can point them to Christ. The actual healing takes place between them and Jesus.

          Much love!

      2. But something Greg told me from the beginning of this ministry that has helped me a lot is, “Focus on the ones who want to learn and who want to grow. Don’t waste your time on the ones who just want to argue or complain.”

        I like that a lot. Very helpful.

          1. Been thinking about this.

            You’re kinda like a nurse in a hospital. You’re not the doctor, you’re listening to the words of the doctor and applying His recommended treatment. But, you can only apply the treatment to someone who comes into the hospital and is willing to receive treatment. Some will stay outside the hospital, not willing to trust that the doctor knows what He is doing. Some will let the treatment take effect, some won’t. And trying to treat an unwilling patient leaves other needy, willing patients untreated.

            Those who come into the hospital and accept treatment often need a lot of attention. Often they may look to the nurse as the answer, not realising that the nurse is just following the instructions of the doctor. Their dependence on the nurse is very heavy, at first. But, as they heal they begin to see the wisdom in the doctors treatment and recognise His wisdom and patience as being behind the nurses care. And then, their appreciation of the nurse is changed from a needy dependence on her to an appreciation for her willingness to apply the right treatment prescribed by the doctor, and the doctor receives the glory for the treatment.

            After the patients heal, they often take their place with the nurse, listening to the doctors instructions and taking on board their own patients. Or perhaps they become cleaners in the hospital working behind the scenes. Or maybe building maintenance workers. But in their own ways according to the gifts the doctor has given them, they too begin to work for the doctors glory.

            They recognise the nurse as an equal and their dependence is transferred to the source of the real healer, the doctor. When they are healed then they can even support the nurse (and others who have worked in ministering to them) with prayer, resources and ministry and so take their place in the body of workers.

            God’s plan is good. It works. Thank you for being a nurse to me a year ago. I am all healed now and ready to take my place in the hospital. HH

          2. Ok, HH, you just spoke in a way that TOTALLY connected to me, the metaphores queen! Lolol. I laughed at how much I could relate to this metaphore. Spot on, my friend. Nurse April! Love it and 2 thumbs up from me!

          3. LMS, metaphors are good, aren’t they ☺ In fact, when we look closely we may find that most of life is a metaphor directing our attention to God. The father-son relationship. The husband-wife relationship. Trees. Rivers. Oceans. Nature in general. Everything SCREAMS look at the creator ☺ God is so good to show Himself through these pictures. HH

          4. Humbled Husband,

            I like that analogy. There are so many parts of the doctor/nurse/patient relationship that apply, especially when people are extremely spiritually/emotionally wounded and they first arrive needing help.

            The church is very much to be a hospital for the sick. We all come in very sick, but then God heals us and we can start blessing others as we share the healing we have received in Christ.

            I’m excited to see how God will continue to pour through you to help nurse the sick, wounded, and dying to Life in Christ.

    2. I am wondering the same thing as i have a couple of friends who are constantly venting to me and i feel overwhelmed especially when I am suffering from a crippling condition and trying to stay afloat myself. I sometimes try to respond with scripture and use Godly wisdom, not to be a busybody but to stop the negativity but it’s difficult if they aren’t receptive.

      1. Megan,

        If you have asked them not to vent to you, and they continue to do so, it is okay to put limits on them to guard your heart. Venting usually contains a lot of bitterness, unforgiveness, pride, selfishness, self-righteousness, gossip, and other sinful thoughts. These things are toxic for people to share and they are toxic for us to hear.

        You can pray about the situation, and share what you believe the Lord desires you to say, it may be something like, “I hate that it is like this, but I am not going to be able to get together anymore. I love you. I want God’s best for you. But I just can’t listen to all the venting. It is too toxic for me. It’s toxic for you, too. But what you do is between yourself and the Lord. I just can’t be part of it anymore.”

        Praying for God’s wisdom for you. 🙂 And sending you a huge hug!

  5. Hi April,
    You said “Look for burnout, frustration, resentment, bitterness, anxiety, or negativity on my side of the relationship – these are flags that I may be overstepping my bounds or not acting in the power of the Spirit”.

    These words describe perfectly how I feel about my best friend. I won’t go into details of her situation. I’ll just say that she has been stuck in the same psychological, spiritual and financial place for over 15 years. I have tried to help her through praying for her, giving her advice and being there for her but I just feel completely burned out and frustrated. I feel as if God himself isn’t helping her or answering my prayers for her. I feel as if he’s turned a blind eye to her and her situation. I feel so helpless and frustrated. I don’t know what to do with myself and I hate feeling so powerless.

    When someone we love is truly struggling and not getting any breakthroughs for years and years, how do we avoid feeling helpless and frustrated?

    How can I get past these feelings and become empowered and refreshed?

    By the way, how do you avoid feeling overwhelmed when dozens of women in awful situations pour out their hearts to you day after day on this blog?

    1. Natasha,

      First, I think it is critical to deal with any lies in our own thinking.

      For example –

      “I feel as if God Himself isn’t helping her or answering my prayers for her. I feel as if He’s turned a blind eye to her and her situation.”

      That is how you are feeling, but what is the truth of God’s Word?

      “I feel so helpless and frustrated. I don’t know what to do with myself and I hate feeling so powerless.”

      That statement tells me that you may feel like it is your responsibility or in your power to fix her problems.

      Something that may be helpful is for both of you to look over the post I have about lies and see if there are any lies about God, self, or others that need to be dealt with, look for strongholds of the enemy in your lives. When we have strongholds and we are holding onto lies about God, self, or others, we get very stuck and oppressed.

      There are also times when someone’s issues are bigger than we can handle ourselves. There are times when we may need to refer a friend to more experienced, godly counsel. Perhaps she has strongholds in her life and needs some really experienced prayer warriors around her?

      It is crucial that I understand what things are my responsibility and what things are not my responsibility. If I try to take on things that are not my responsibility, I will feel very stressed and anxious. If I try to take on my friend’s decisions or her relationship with God, or her pain, I will be in trouble. Or if I try to take God’s sovereignty on my shoulders and I try to be in place of God and try to feel responsible to make things work out a certain way, I will make myself absolutely crazy.

      When you are feeling really overwhelmed by her problems. Take a step back. Ask God to help you examine your own thinking and your own heart. What are your motives and beliefs about this situation? Where is your confidence and trust? Are you depending on yourself to fix this? Or are you trusting God? Are you taking too much weight on your own shoulders that doesn’t belong to you?

      How is your walk with God going? How are you doing in allowing the Spirit to fill you? Are you running ahead of God? Are you praising and thanking Him for trials? Are you open to the fact that God may have this trial in her life to bring about her good? Or do you feel that if God doesn’t do a specific thing by a certain time, that He is not good or He is not trustworthy?

      I learned long ago in this ministry that I can’t carry the weight of people’s problems. I am kind of like the friends who carried the paralytic to Jesus and lowered him down on a mat in front of Him. I carry people to Jesus’ feet and then I depend totally on Him to heal them.

      I have to know what my job is and what my job isn’t. I have to know the end of my responsibilities and the beginning of God’s responsibilities and other people’s responsibilities. I take care of what I am responsible for – the rest is between people and the Lord.

      When people truly want help and want to change and want to learn and grow, awesome. I can show them the steps and show them the way and lead them to resources. I can pray for them.

      When they don’t want to change and want to wallow in their mess, I have to let them make that choice for themselves. I can offer hope and help. I can pray for them. And then I trust God to work in them. His Spirit can reach them in ways I can’t. I also have to trust His timing for that.

      I kind of view myself as a “spiritual doula” or “nurse.” I can sit beside people who are laboring. I can offer them a certain level of comfort. I can pray with them and be with them. But I can’t have the baby for them. I can’t make decisions for them. I can’t repent for them or decide to follow Christ for them. Ultimately, I entrust their souls to the Doctor – Jesus. I try to do whatever I know Jesus desires me to do to help them. But I know my place. I know my limits. I can pray fervently for them. But then I lay down the weight and let Jesus handle it.

      Muchlove!

      1. Hi April,
        Thanks for your detailed response. I haven’t been able to identify the “lie” yet based on your list but I’ll definitely pray about it.

        When I reflect on my life, I realise that my mother set me up to be her personal “saviour” from a young age. She would constantly run to me crying and complaining about her marital problems and asking me for advice. She actually made my teenage years a LIVING HELL by heaping all of her stress, frustrations and anger about her marriage to my father on my shoulders. She would also cry to me constantly about her financial problems.

        She was weak, helpless and needy. I was the only person she would confide in. She wouldn’t discuss her problems with her sister, cousins or friends. She preferred to depend on me for guidance although I was just a vulnerable teenager, because she was too ashamed to have her other relatives or friends know about her problems.

        She talked about herself and her problems incessantly and obsessively. She honestly wasn’t capable of thinking or speaking about anything else. It was an impossible burden to bear and made me feel very stressed, angry, frustrated, overly-responsible and ultimately abandoned…because she wasn’t doing her job to take care of me and guide me. She wanted me to take care of her and guide her. It was a very toxic and horrific reversal of the mother-daughter relationship.

        Perhaps the “lie” I’ve embraced is believing that I’m meant to be a “saviour” to people in need and that’s why I feel so sad and frustrated about my best friend’s problems. I’ll pray about it in detail and ask God to enlighten me, deliver me and set me free.

        Thanks again for your guidance.

        1. Natasha,

          When our mom seems “weak” when we are growing up – whether it is physically, emotionally, or spiritually, it is VERY easy for us to try to take on the “adult” role and for us to learn that we are responsible for other people and that we have some level of sovereignty over other people’s lives. My situation was a bit different, but the outcome in my thinking was the same as what you are describing. I seriously believed I had to be the parent for my siblings. I seriously thought they were my responsibility. I also believed I was responsible for everyone. I had a HUGE picture of my importance and of me being responsible to save everyone. And I had a tiny, wimpy picture of God. I didn’t understand God’s sovereignty at all. I tried to take that weight onto my shoulders – and, of course, it crushed me.

          What your mom did was really destructive to you – as you know. She probably didn’t know how else to act and did the best she could at the time. But you are right, that was too much weight for a teenage daughter to carry. And when a mom depends on her daughter as if the teenager is the adult in the family, it messes up how the daughter thinks about God, herself, and relationships in an unhealthy way.

          You are not responsible to fix or save your friend. You can seek to encourage her and love her. You can point her to Christ and to resources. But her decisions are her own. And the outcome is between her and the Lord.

          A post that may be helpful is: Healthy VS Unhealthy Relationships.

          When we believe lies about God, ourselves, and relationships, it is possible that we may believe it is our duty and responsibility to inject ourselves into other people’s lives and to try to rescue them. That is what I thought. Because I didn’t understand God’s sovereignty and where my responsibilities ended, I believed I HAD to try to fix people’s lives and that I would be held responsible by God to do so. I thought I was doing God’s will. I didn’t realize that I was being a busybody. I thought I was doing my job.

          But I was not truly helping anyone. I just created division, pain, strife, gossip, bitterness, and pain. I wasn’t pointing anyone to God. I was speaking death into relationships, not life. I was deceived.

          God can absolutely enlighten you and deliver you. I’m here if you want to talk some more along this road.

          Much love!

  6. “…….involvement does not bring healing, but rather, division.” That can be such a painful thing. Especially when the words and actions of others drives a wedge or widens a wedge between two married people. Oh, how I have suffered from the “involvement” of in-laws numerous times.

    Sigh, that is something I am experiencing in my own life right now. I am very hurt by the words and actions of an in-law who constantly meddles and in doing so causes division rather than healing. It is so painful when someone makes comments and passes judgments that are not based on facts.

    Right now I am waiting to hear from God how to deal with such a situation. I sometimes feel as if I just want to reach out and say “Hey, you got it wrong, let me explain the truth to you.” However, I feel as if I need to have self-control. So I am wavering between wanting to explain things and share how the comments hurt me, and wanting to just leave it all alone. I know that when I am going back and forth like that, I should not act. When God speaks he gives clear direction and peace.

    I want to be tougher. To not let what people “think” affect me to the point where I have to reach out to tell them the truth. However, I do love this person and love when there is true harmony, so it is not easy. Plus, what is the sense, when some people are already set in their thoughts and will not listen to the truth anyway. I think meddling and gossip – can cause as much pain as being hit with a big brick.

    1. Praying,

      Your words struck home with me, as I have faced a similar situation myself. Your comment regarding wanting to reach out and explain the truth also hit a “bullseye” with me. For me, prayer regarding the situation was the only option. In my case, the Lord kept me silent.

      The important thing to remember is that the Lord knows who you are, and He is the only one who matters.

      I will add your situation to my prayers. I understand how painful it can be. I’m sorry i haven’t more words for you, but every time I begin writing more the Lord says my middle sentence is all I need to write.

    2. prayinglikehannah,

      It is very painful to be on the receiving end of this kind of meddling. 🙁

      I pray for God’s wisdom about if/when/how you should address the issue. I know things are quite tense. But I am glad you are seeking to hear God’s voice and to obey Him. That is wise!

      The pain of meddling and gossip can last a lot longer than the pain of physical injuries.

      May the Lord take this situation and turn it into something beautiful for His glory as you seek Him and walk in the Spirit and in obedience to Him, my precious sister!

  7. Well said, April. Something that really helps me is knowing I can’t save, fix, rescue, or heal anyone’s soul. Only Jesus can save. That is true in marriage too, I cannot fix my husband, although fortunately he doesn’t need much fixin.’ The urge to intervene is there however, the idea that I can cure what ails him. Something that really helps me is remembering that whatever struggles people face are between them and God, so it is blessing to be able to listen or to nurture in some way, but ultimately that is not what saves anyone.

    1. insanitybytes22,

      So true! I have to see that I am tiny, wimpy, and powerless and that Jesus is huge, omnipotent, omniscient, and sovereign. That puts a lot of things into proper perspective. Thanks for sharing!

  8. I suppose the hardest part of avoiding being a busy body is avoiding conversations with people who want to oooohhh and ahhhhhh about some judgemental gossip. Or having the temerity to say something like, “It`s not fair that she is not here to be able to offer her side or defend herself.”

    I live in a small town and gossip which is a hair`s breadth away from slander, is extremely common. The Christians in this area are no better than the unbelievers when it comes to justice, mercy and fair play as far as gossip and slander goes. People are often quick to assume the damning worst about someone on the basis of appearances or gossip they have rec`d from others.

    I once had someone come into my work place and ask me some very personal questions about my husband`s first marriage; apparently some of the Christian ladies in my town (I have a good idea who it likely originated with) had told this person that I was guilty of breaking up my husband’s first marriage. I suppose I ought to be thankful she asked me instead of just believing it but it actually made me pretty angry. However I was able to explain to her that my husband`s first marriage had been ended for nearly ten years before we ever even met each other and that no, I was not involved in its demise in the slightest. But still!

    I remember hearing a story about a church gossip who had seen their pastor with a woman in his car and began telling others she thought he had a woman on the side. It turned out to be his sister who was coming for a visit and whom he had just picked up at the airport. But the damage was done. She asked for forgiveness. He said he would forgive her on one condition, and took her into the church bell tower and emptied out a feather pillow; feathers flew everywhere on the wind. Then he turned to her and said `If you can retrieve all those feathers, I will forgive you“. She got the point.

    1. SevenTimes,

      Small towns and small churches are notorious for gossip. In bigger cities and big churches, people just don’t know each other well, so there is less gossip because of that.

      Yes, you may be right, it probably was better that the woman came and asked you directly instead of spreading more gossip. Perhaps she set the other people straight.

      I know a lot of us would love to respond the way the pastor did in your story – however, I think it is important that we keep in mind what Jesus said about forgiveness. His teaching is very different from this pastor’s response.

      For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matt. 6:14-15

      The pastor doesn’t have to trust her until she rebuilds trust. But not forgiving her would be sin on his part – and would lead to bitterness, resentment, and opening the door for the enemy in his life. In such a situation, a church goer who gossiped like that should be required to repent before the congregation, and to anyone else she gossiped to. But thankfully, God can turn even such a terrible situation into good if it is rightly handled. It may be an opportunity to teach about the sin of gossip and how destructive it is and to decide on an agreement that the members will not be involved in gossip, and maybe even they could brainstorm ways to avoid it and to help keep each other accountable.

      Much love!

      1. Hi April; Yes I agree if he wasn`t forgiving he`d be having issues soon after. The feather thing was meant by the pastor as an object lesson to help her see the reality of her sin and how damaging words are very hard to fix once they get out. He did intend at the outset to forgive her and when she responded by being quite remorseful and chagrined, he immediately extended forgiveness and fellowship to her . I heard the story many years ago so I probably muffed it a bit in terms of repeating the exact wording properly and should have described that more fully.

        But I think what you said about being required to repent before the congregation, probably hits the nail on the head as to why this is such a common issue in churches. There are no consquences to serious sin in many churches and no one wants to hurt anyone else`s feelings. Its further compounded by the fact that abusive churches misuse scripture on gossip and on submission to authority, to silence anyone who would call a spade a spade, so people talk when they shouldn`t and don`t when they should.

        1. SevenTimes,

          Oh, good! That sounds like a good ending. 🙂

          Yes, we have pretty much abandoned church discipline. Church discipline is difficult to get right. It’s easy to be too harsh and condemning, or too lenient. And with the church giving up on almost all discipline, we just let lots of sin fester among us. That is a big part of why we are where we are today, unfortunately.

  9. Dear Sisters, dear Mothers,

    I was listening to this sermon by podcast today and heard something wonderful and definitely a help for those men and women who tend who tend to busybody-ness!

    https://www.southeastchristian.org/sermons/mother-s-day/

    In this unusual sermon, there was the opportunity given that one could work on kindness, it is better explained in the sermon.

    However, one thing that I will mention in more detail, is the need for our sisters to hear the words, with deeds to back them up: I love you.

    The brothers, husbands, sons, fathers need to be reassured that their contributions to life are acknowledged as good, worthy of a: thank you!

    And that thank you, should not “busybodied”, by adding an extra comment such as: Thank you for doing X, what about Y and Z.

    That thank you is then worth less than nothing. there was also a mention of a one day rule. Will the extra comment be of relevance 24 hours later and will things be different by then that it really does not matter.

    I hope that all of my sisters in Christ who have been blessed with motherhood, had a lovely day on Sunday.

    JesusCentreofLife

  10. Two news articles I think every Christian should see:

    1. An article about how one young man came to faith in Christ and quickly became a martyr after he watched the other 20 Egyptian Coptic Christian men who were about to be beheaded refuse to deny Christ. Check out the incredible example of faith of the others in the article, as well.

    http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/in-the-line-of-fire/64859-the-man-who-was-beheaded-the-day-he-became-a-believer

    2. The other article I would encourage you all to read is this one about a Christian teacher in a public school in Maine who said things in private conversations to a fellow church goer like “I’m praying for you.” And used words like, “blessing.” Her job was threatened over these things. It absolutely blows my mind. This is happening in America. Our free speech is becoming increasingly threatened as believers. Feminists, atheists, secularists, and every other religious group has protected speech in our country. But – not so much for Christians anymore.

    May the Lord wake us up, church! I know He has us here for such a time as this. As the persecution intensifies, He will use it to purify His people and cleanse us of worldliness and apathy. May He empower us to be faithful no matter what may come! Jesus’ church thrives under persecution. We will have to learn to depend totally on Him more and more. But may we use the freedom we still have for His glory in the time we have left!

    http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/05/16/school-offering-to-pray-for-colleague-is-unacceptable.html

    I know I don’t usually share things like this. But how I pray God will help us see what is going on so we will all wake up – ASAP!

  11. My husband was gone quite a bit this past week for “work stuff” overnights, and long days. I’m really trying to be very tolerant of this stuff. On Thursday, he had an overnight “managers meeting” at a fancy club in the big city. He assured me that it was just for the managers. The night before he went, he asked me to iron his dress shirt for the event. He wasn’t feeling well…a cold, so in spite of my underlying anger about his workaholism, I tried to think of how to handle this in a godly way. I took compassion on him and ironed the shirt. Helped him get his suitcases and got him some cold medicine to help him feel better.

    When he came home at 8pm the next day, he felt miserable. He gave me a gift that was engraved with the company logo and event title and date on it. It was very nice and I was grateful for it. There were gifts that my husband gave to the kids too….items that were given by the company. I got him medicine and got him to bed. He left the next day (on a Saturday) to go to work again. On his desk, just inside a notebook, I happened to find the agenda for the overnight event. Spouses were invited and had special activities planned while the managers met. And the whole tbing got over at 1pm. He came home the next day at 8pm! There was a fancy dinner, and all expense paid hotel accomodations. Whwn i read this, my hackles went up. I felt lied to and deceived and very disrespected. 2 years ago, he told me he doesn’t invite me to the events spouses are invited to because he is “ashamed” to tell people I am his wife, although i would never embarrass or disrespect him in public and especially in front of work colleagues. This hurt me bad today. I’m trying to do the right thing and I keep getting hurt, daily no less, by this man. I can’t even look at the engraved gift now without feeling hurt, angry, deceived and bitter. I want to break it or throw it away. I wish I had never seen that agenda, then I wouldn’t have had to feel so used and rejected again. I’m not sure how much more I can take. It seems like a slow death waiting for God to work in this man. I know there is no guarantee that he will ever change, but then, set me free so I don’t have to keep getting hurt over and over! I wasn’t trying to be a busy body, but did God reveal this information to me for a reason? Or is satan revealing this to tempt me? Not sure how to even confront my h on this if at all.

    1. LMSdaily115,

      Yuck. 🙁

      It is definitely very concerning – how much secrecy there has been. I obviously don’t know what his motives were or why he didn’t tell you the truth. Is it just that he doesn’t want you to go? I don’t know. But there are important questions here, I think.

      I vote to spend some serious time with the Lord seeking His wisdom, direction, discernment, power, and refining for yourself and your thoughts and motives. Then you may be ready to address things with your husband as the Lord leads you to.

      Praying for you, my precious sister. Thank you for reaching out and sharing. It seems like recent months have been especially difficult. 🙁 How may we best support and pray for you in this time?

      1. LMSdaily115,

        I have been thinking about this situation a lot. It seems to me that based on what your husband said 2 years ago, that he did tell you ahead of time that he wouldn’t be inviting you to come with him to work functions. So – I don’t know that it was a lie because he didn’t invite you. Would it have been any better if he had told you about the invitation and then told you he didn’t want you to come? Would you have wanted to go with him if he had asked you to go?

        I’m so thankful for the way you responded to him and helped him with a beautiful attitude.

        He is so clearly not in a good place, from what you have described.

        And I am concerned about you, my precious sister. I know things have been very tough. How have you been doing with the Lord lately? Do you have any clear sense of what He desires you to do at this point?

        Sending you the biggest hug!

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