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

  1. 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.

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

    1. Leslie Pendergras – I think we all can benefit from reminders about such an important topic. Glad to hear it was a blessing. 🙂

  3. 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. HH,

          I agree, his counsel to me on this issue has been very helpful, as well. 🙂

          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

            1. 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!

  4. 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!

  5. 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!

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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!

  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

    1. jesuscentreoflife,

      Thank you for sharing, dear brother.

      And thank you for the Mother’s Day wishes to the moms.

  10. 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!

    1. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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?

  13. 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!

    1. 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!

      1. 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!

        1. 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!

        2. Linsey,

          Every time you react in fear – you do something destructive to your faith and to your marriage. Fear is not of God. Fear motivates us to make dangerous, harmful choices for ourselves and others. It repels others. Our fear also signifies a lack of faith and trust in God. It is about our unbelief.

          What is at the root of this money thing?

          Is money your security?

          Where is your source and supply – your well of security in this life?

          If your husband screws up with the money thing – is God too wimpy to be able to provide for you? What if your husband does follow through – and you trust God? What is the worst thing that could happen?

          Are you willing to lay down the bitterness and to forgive, realizing that you and your husband are doing the same thing. You are both acting like victims, and like the other person needs to change first?

          Do you need help with forgiveness and with bitterness?

          You will have to weed through the ADHD stuff and just keep what is obviously appropriate in God’s eyes and for your situation and then chunk the rest.

          Our God is not impotent in your life. He is able to change your husband, you, your heart, his heart, your marriage, and even circumstances. You are missing out on so many miracles and blessings because you won’t trust God. It breaks my heart. I would hate for you to miss out on God’s good things for as long as I did in my marriage if you could start experiencing those things now.

          Are you willing to simply lay the land issue before God and trust Him whether your husband buys it or not? Will you let God use these trials to strengthen your faith and trust in Him?

          Again, what is the worst thing that could happen?

          Much love!

          1. Our husbands can hear God’s voice much more clearly when we stop trying to verbally drag them around on a leash. I didn’t think it would work. But it did!

            1. Linsey,

              You have explained your point of view – what, maybe hundreds of times, right? I think he knows your views on this. I also think that if you stay calm and don’t freak out and if you allow God’s peace and joy to fill you, that he may stop making these threats. I think he will stop feeling provoked. I also think he will be confused and he may try to bait you. But as you continue to be calm and just let him do what he thinks is best, maybe even try saying, “Whatever you think is best for us. I trust God to lead us through you.” He will have to think a lot more carefully about the decision. As long as you try to carry all of the responsibility, he doesn’t have to feel any of the weight. As long as you try to dictate how he has to spend money and control his every dollar, he doesn’t have to hear God’s voice.

              He has a lot of things to work on, yes. But he will be much more able to see what he needs to work on if you don’t react in the flesh and in fear.

              It sounds like you need to know what you need to do. Yes, it will be hard. Yes, it will be scary. But as you learn to trust God more, you will find His Life and peace and you won’t feel so scared, I believe.

              You could certainly respectfully leave the room. I wonder what would happen if you just went over and gave him a hug and respectfully left and go pray?

              Much love!!!

              1. Linsey,

                You have such an amazing ability to hear God’s voice – more clearly than many believers can – when you are tuned into Him. My greatest desire is for you to hear His voice about exactly what He desires for you to do. God knows the whole situation better than any of us do. And He knows exactly what would be best.

                Praying for you!

        3. Linsey,

          That is a helpful picture, I think. So precious for her to share that with you. 🙂

          I agree that right now, I don’t think your husband is going to be able to hear you tell him to do something. Right now, he feels too smothered and controlled. I am thrilled that y’all have been saving so much together and that you are in a good financial place.

          I think if he doesn’t feel so mothered, he wants to be on your team about saving. But it will have to be okay for him to spend on some things, like at the convenience store, that you wouldn’t personally spend on.

          I am not sure you need weekly meetings. Maybe once a month might be okay?

          Or, as you are able to chill a bit and as he feels more free – you might not even need meetings. I know he has ADHD, but, he is pretty high functioning and generally pretty responsible, from what you have described.

          And, I agree, if the vitamins he found work, maybe he won’t feel like he needs to go back to tobacco. So $70 may not be that big of a sacrifice if it really helps. Especially if you are not in dire financial straights. He needs to be able to have some amount of discretionary income that he doesn’t get raked over the coals for.

          I couldn’t tell you what Greg spent on his credit card last week or last month. I don’t check. And we don’t have meetings at all about our finances. I used to handle the finances, for the first maybe 18 years of our marriage. Greg has handled it since then. We trust each other to spend appropriately. We don’t lecture each other. If we are going to make a big purchase, we let each other know or discuss it. Like if it is over $300 or something. But other than that, we trust each other to be adults and to be responsible and we don’t question each other’s spending.

          Things could be WAY more relaxed about the whole financial issue. I trust God will lead you in how to approach it. 🙂

          Of course, what we do may not work for everyone. And if your husband is truly irresponsible, this way may not work. But what you are describing – it doesn’t sound like he is that irresponsible. Only when he feels super controlled, it seems like he wants to show you that you are not going to dictate to him that he can’t spend his money.

        4. Linsey,

          I’m really glad you are able to see that a lot of his outbursts in a situation like this is that:

          1. He has ADHD and he is not being treated for it (which if he were, he would probably not have nearly as much trouble).
          2. He is off of the nicotine now, that he was using to try to help regulate the ADHD issues, so things are worse for him with concentration.
          3. When he does get so frustrated with homework, it isn’t really about you. It is more about his frustration with himself.
          4. It is okay to ask him not to swear at you respectfully and to ask for what you need respectfully.
          5. It is important to emotionally separate yourself from him and not to make all of his emotional storm over his homework about yourself.

          That is awesome!

          Keep in mind, as there is some history of things being less tense between the two of you, that will probably also help a ton. Things are extremely tense right now, from what you have described. And I would imagine he is really stressed about you being gone for this whole next week, too.

          With ADHD, I think stress can be additive many times.

          As things get much more relaxed and he is feeling more respected with you, he may not be as explosive with his homework issues. How often does he have to study at this point?

          I love that you didn’t react in the flesh. THAT IS AWESOME!!!! PRAISE GOD!

          Yes – you can begin to encourage him more, as he feels more safe with you. And you can pray for him – and for the wisdom and resources he needs.

          And you can definitely learn to discern what is about you and what is just about him. Maybe, in time, you will even be able to work as a team together against these issues. That is my prayer.

          Much love! Have a safe trip and a wonderful time with your precious friend!

          1. Linsey,

            I also wonder if your house could accommodate your husband having a specific quiet room where he could study without having to be moved in the middle of his studies? Or if you could let him know ahead of time when you would like to go to bed. With ADHD, sudden changes in plans can be difficult to manage. If the expectations could be in place ahead of time, that may be really helpful in preventing all of the frustration and emotional lability.

          2. Linsey,
            I’m not sure how familiar you are with the economic situation of the USA currently. Don’t know if you are aware of “the dollar bubble” or some of the other bubbles we have right now in our economy and the massive impact of our enormous national debt. We have a teacher at our church who was a federal bank auditor for decades. Actually, the same man who wrote “Spiritual Authority” that is on my site.

            If you knew how precariously perched the USA is economically right now – I think you would be horrified. I personally don’t count on any of the money we have in savings or in our 401K. I know that there is as good chance it won’t be there in the future.

            Our faith cannot be in our savings account.

            We save money every month. We have 401Ks. But – I don’t trust them. I don’t depend on them. I know all of that money could be gone in a flash. I know God is our source and supply. I will have to trust in Him alone.

            Perhaps this may help put things in perspective a bit, too?

            1. And for anyone who isn’t aware of how God is able to supply for our financial needs, please check out George Mueller’s Answers to Prayer.

        5. Linsey,
          I was thinking about you and your husband and praying for y’all on the way to work. And I started thinking about that you sounded like you may be more on the OCD end of things. I have some of those tendencies myself.

          I was also thinking how being OCD is WAY WAY on one end of a spectrum and how ADD is kind of on the very opposite end of the same spectrum. The healthiest place is more in the middle of those two extremes.

          I love what you are seeing that you can do. That is awesome. I know God can give you strength. I thank God that He can use all of this hard stuff for good.

          It makes me really sad that your husband can’t seek medical treatment. It sure would probably help. 🙁 I pray for God’s leading and wisdom on this, too. I don’t know if he would ever want to leave the military or look for a civilian job or if that is even possible. But I pray God will lead you both.

          I’m glad you are beginning to see where he is and his struggles and not try to change him. But you can influence him and be a blessing to him.

          I pray for God’s healing for you both and His provision. And for Him to use these things that hurt so much right now to make something beautiful.

          I think the more you are able to understand his perspective and the struggles he has – I believe the more grace and compassion you will be able to have for him. Not that he is justified to sin against you. He’s not! Sin is never justifiable before God. But as you can begin to discern what issues are about you and what he really thinks and how his mind works, I think you may see he is not your enemy and he is not against you. He has a lot of strengths and good qualities.

          I pray God will show you both how to bless each other and work together as a team against the challenges.

          Much love!
          April

        6. My husband took me to the airport. I asked if he would put his wedding ring back on and he did. He then hugged me, gave me a kiss, and told me he loves me. It really felt like he meant it.

          1. Hi Ms. Linsey!

            I wanted to share my comment on your struggles, its quite a tough to deal with… I feel u…

            May I share with you this link can u set your time to watch it? It might help u though u had different story from her…
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9pKKAG-OSg0

            I’m praying that this woman endurance will help us a lot to be a submissive wife for God…

            I’m looking forward to hear more of u!

            Lovingly urs,

            Darl1982

          2. Linsey,

            I vote to focus on your end of the dance for now. Clean up your side of things. The control, the freaking out, the trying to dictate every penny he spends. Then see what he does. See if he truly is untrustworthy or not. I don’t think you really know for sure. He reacts to your sin. You react to his. It will take some time where you are not controlling him and not trying to be the money Nazi and you are not policing whether he is using tobacco or not – for him to feel like he is free to make his own choices and to see what he would really do. I am sure ADHD does play a role. And I am sure it could affect his judgment. But he is a professional and a grown man who has major responsibilities and apparently he functions pretty well at work.

            I vote to focus on his good qualities right now. The first steps will look like this:

            1. Don’t interrogate him.
            2. Don’t assume the worst.
            3. Don’t freak out.
            4. Let him make his own decisions with money.
            5. Entrust all of this to the Lord.
            6. Find your security in Christ alone.
            7. Remember that if you destroy your marriage over these issues, it will cost you a lot more financially than it would cost you to trust your husband even if he makes decisions you don’t particularly like.
            8. Remember that the marriage is much more important than exactly how many dollars go into the savings account each week.

            You may want to just not contact him at all while he is gone. If he contacts you, awesome. Listen to what he shares. Be excited about what he is doing. Thank him for being trustworthy. But if he doesn’t contact you, that is okay.

            You are not ultimately trusting him. This is really about whether you trust Christ or not. And right now, I think there is some room for growth in your trust in Christ, from what you have described over the past year or so. If you completely trust the Lord, then if your husband makes some poor financial choices (and, in your case, these are not major things, they have been relatively small things), you don’t really have to freak out. You know that God is your source and supply. You know that He is able to provide even if your husband were to mess up a bit.

            Try saying things like:

            – Whatever you think is best.
            – Okay, I am going to trust you with this.

            If he spends money and you don’t like what he spent it on, you can say:

            – Thanks for letting me know. (If you had never talked about your feelings on money, you may want to say your preferences, but I am pretty sure he knows exactly how you feel about money at this point. No need to rehash.)
            – Okay.
            – Alright, have fun!

            I wouldn’t think about this as “faking it” but about learning to show your husband the respect and honor he needs because that is what God calls you to do even though it feels foreign and awkward at first. I didn’t trust Greg’s leadership at first. Not for a long time. But I decided I was going to trust God’s ways and His authority structure.

            “Okay, Lord, You say You want to lead me through Greg. I don’t think he can hear You right now. I don’t think he knows Your will. I think he is far from you at the moment. But You say that this is the way You want to lead me. So I am going to trust You even though I am not sure what I am doing and I have fear. If I have to sit right here and do nothing until I am 80 years old, I am going to trust You to lead me through this imperfect man. I am going to do things Your way from now on, even though it doesn’t really make sense to me. I am going to wait on You to work in his heart for as long as it takes. If he messes up, I will trust You to make something good from it as You promise in Rom. 8:28-29. But I am not going to get in Your way anymore in Greg’s life. I am not going to usurp his authority. I am not going to interfere in Your system. I am going to trust You in spite of all the reasons I feel I have to doubt.”

            Did I tell you how Greg felt when I stopped telling him what to do, bossing him around, trying to control him, disrespecting him, being negative about him, looking down on him, etc…?

            “When you stopped (all of those negative things), it was like someone took the static off of the speaker with God’s voice in my heart. And when you started affirming me, genuinely respecting me, and honoring me, it was like someone put an amplifier on the speaker with God’s voice in my heart.”

            Now, I know Greg can hear the Lord and I absolutely DO trust him.

            This is a slow process. But as you do your part, you make it much easier for your husband to hear and obey God. You are not guaranteed he will. But when you are acting in obedience to the Lord, He will move mountains for you and you will be blessed no matter what your husband may do. Does that make sense?

            When you submit to the Lord, you are in the best position in the world. Then you have the resources of heaven ready to help you at any moment. And when you submit to your husband (when he is not asking you to sin), in spite of his imperfections and flaws, it lets your husband be able to hear God’s voice so much more.

            First comes your trust in the Lord and your willingness to submit to Him no matter what. This is called taking up your cross daily and dying to self. This is laying down your fears and trusting the Lord and living by faith.

            Then, as you allow God to change you and empower you, you will find that He empowers you to have real respect and trust as is appropriate for your husband.

            Much love!

          3. Linsey,
            Another way to think of starting this journey toward trusting your husband is this…

            Stop trying to control him.

            That isn’t about him at all. That is all about you.

            You don’t have to trust him in any way to learn to stop trying to control him. But this is a wonderful first step.

            I have a number of posts on this topic, if you are interested.

            Much love!

            1. Linsey,

              So thankful that info was helpful. 🙂

              Ugh.

              My precious sister! It is like you can’t help yourself. You feel so compelled to keep approaching him in your old ways. I do understand this temptation and compulsion. I have to battle those temptations myself. Although, I promise it does get easier in time as you practice and especially as you heal and he heals and God is empowering you. It also gets much easier as you begin to learn how he thinks and you understand his perspective rather than assuming evil motives on his part.

              Those texts were quite inflammatory, it seems to me. But I know it may not make sense yet. 🙁

              I vote to text him, “You know what? I was totally out of line with those texts yesterday. I apologize. Enjoy your trip!”

              Then leave him alone. No more contacting him this week while he is gone unless there is truly an emergency or he contacts you first. And if he does contact you and you seriously want to save your marriage – be friendly. Positive. Not condemning, demanding, or needy. Not controlling or negative.

              Friendly. Non-pressuring. Safe. Warm. Respectful. That is what you want to be. If you want the marriage to be healed.

              Yes, it would be awesome if he would apologize. But right now, you are still doing a lot of things that are hurtful to him. As long as you are still sinning against him, it is not going to work for you to demand that he apologize to you. First deal with your own destructive issues. Matt. 7:1-5. Until you get rid of the beam in your own eye, you are going to knock him upside the head with that beam in your eye every time you try to get close to him to remove the speck from his eye.

              Once you have thoroughly dealt with your sin and your wrong approach and thinking, then God will give you the clarity you need to see how to address your husband. Right now, I don’t believe you are seeing clearly yet.

              When you feel compelled to text him something to make him apologize or to make him see how much he has wronged you, message me here instead. Let’s hash through it together. Don’t act on that compulsion because you are probably only going to alienate and repel him further right now if you act on that strong desire to send him a text about how frustrated you are with him. You are only proving to him that you are the problem and that he should stay away from you.

              What message do you want to send him about yourself and your marriage?

              There are appropriate times and ways to seek closure that are not destructive. We can talk about that more in a bit if you would like.

              Much love!

              1. Linsey,

                Something that may also be helpful. Right now – assume you don’t understand your husband’s motives. Assume you don’t know how he thinks. Seek to understand him and to know that he thinks very differently from you and that it is going to probably take a number of months, maybe more, to really begin to understand.

                When I can start from a position of assuming that I don’t understand but I really want to understand, I can approach my husband with humility rather than self-righteousness.

              2. Thank you April! This sounds like a good plan. Thank you for not sugar coating it either. I appreciate when people are truthful and don’t just tell me what I want to hear. You’re right, it probably was inflammatory. I didn’t see that. I am also not seeing things clear. But I really hope to. I know that I keep doing the same thing but expecting different results. It’s a little crazy.

                I also read the post from Shaunti! That’s was really good! I don’t think I realize how much my negative talk, even if it’s valid, affects my husband. Sometimes I assume he just doesn’t care at all. This was a good reminder that I can’t assume that either. So yes, assuming I don’t understand him would be good.

                I think it’s a good idea to text him that and then leave him totally alone unless it’s an emergency or if he texted me. He hates texting in general, especially if I text drama, so hopefully that will show him that I respect him.

                I really want this next 10 days to be beneficial since I didn’t use it for good on his last trip.

              3. Linsey,

                It is hard to find people who will be honest with us in love. That is what we all need! We all have blind spots. It is SO EASY to focus on the sin in our husbands’ lives and on what we want them to do or not do. Sometimes the things we want are really our own expectations, and aren’t even sins necessarily. And it is also SO EASY to ignore our own sin and the ways we are hurting our husbands and how we are contributing to dysfunction, pain, division, and hurt. I know. I spent 14.5 years focusing on how Greg “needed to change” and all of the ways he wasn’t meeting my expectations. All the while not even seeing my own mountain of sin. No one confronted me. I had no idea it was there.

                It is not a gift to see a brother or sister in Christ in sin and to ignore it. But for me to see clearly and rightly and to be able to handle addressing my brother or sister’s sin in a godly way, I MUST deal with all of my sin first. Otherwise, I have zero credibility. If I have tons of sin in my life, how can I presume to go to my husband and demand that he change and he apologize to me? It makes no sense. I am holding a double standard. I get to sin all I want, but I expect him to apologize even though I won’t. It doesn’t work. God’s way does work, though!

                All men are sensitive to negativity from their wives. But men with ADHD – in my understanding – are even more sensitive to negativity and criticism. That approach will backfire. It won’t motivate him to be a more godly man.

                I used to think I was doing God’s work by trying to verbally drag Greg to God and by trying to make him be the man I knew God wanted him to be. All I did was tear him down, destroy him, and destroy our marriage. What motivates men is stuff like:
                – inspiration
                – faith in them
                – positivity
                – affirmation
                – encouragement
                – gratitude for what they have done right
                – focusing on their strengths
                – appreciation

                Those things inspire them to want to be more godly men. You can’t make him be a godly man. But you can be used by God to inspire him. And you can trust God to work in him to change him in His timing.

                It took me about 2.5 years into this journey before I began to understand Greg and men, in general. And I was studying and praying for 3-4 hours per day almost 7 days per week for over 3 years. Give yourself – and him – some time. This is a long process. It requires more patience than you have ever had to have. But it is a good thing to have to just sit still before the Lord and ask Him to work on you and to be patient. His timeframe is not instantaneous. But it is good.

                When you start assuming evil motives on his part. Stop yourself. Say things to yourself like:

                – It seems to me like he doesn’t care. But maybe he is hurting or feeling disrespected and he is trying to protect himself from me.
                – He just lashed out at me in an unloving way. Maybe he felt disrespected by me just now. Is there something I did that could have provoked him?
                – He just said something really negative. Is he in withdrawal from nicotine? Is he exhausted? Is this an ADHD thing? Is he reacting to something I may have done in the flesh that hurt him?

                Guys hate drama in general. It is hard enough face to face. But there is almost always misunderstanding over text messaging. He may feel like he is going before the firing squad when you accuse him a lot of things. And he may feel that if he tries to tell you how he feels or thinks, you will label him as the bad guy, and wrong, no matter what he says or does. So it is pointless to try. Or he may feel that no matter what he says, you will just continue to be angry and upset with him.

                Reread the post about being a safe place emotionally for your husband when you get a chance.

                Do you have it in your budget to read a few books this summer?

                When you feel really compelled to text him with anger or control, stop. Go to the Lord in prayer. Journal. Write him a letter and tear it up. Write to me.

                This will show that you respect him if you apologize that way. But there is a TON of disrespect to dig out from right now. So it will take time. Many months, maybe longer, before he will be able to feel respected by you and safe with you. Every time you lash out at him negatively, you and your marriage and husband pay a high price. It is SO not worth it!

                Much love!

              4. Thanks April! Yes, I have a lot of time for reading. I really want to use this summer to work on myself and clean up my side 🙂

                I have a question. So as you know I have a lot of unecessary anxiety over money. I check the credit card constantly and it’s not healthy, because I check it out of fear and my mood is dependent on what I find out. If he hasn’t been using it, I am content. If he has, I get anxious which tempts me to contact him or control him. So I try to limit how many times I check it, but it’s almost like an addiction! It’s so crazy, unhealthy, and not good. Any advice on how I can have some self control over this? I don’t think people checking their credit card is bad in itself, but I do it for comfort and it affects my mood and gives me such temptation to try to control my husband. I’ve prayed endless times about this.

              5. Linsey,

                I actually used to check our bank checking account like that when I was in charge of the bills. I was quite OCD about it. Not really checking on Greg in particular. But just I would look at it all the time – several times per day. For us, it has worked well for me to give the finances to Greg. He set everything up on autopay and spends about 10-15 minutes per week looking at bills, maybe even less than that. I don’t look at the accounts at all, most of the time. Although occasionally I will check on things if I need to know something for a form or if I have a specific question.

                I do think checking the credit card can be an addiction. And I do think you can try to use that knowledge that he is not spending as your source of security. But that is not going to be an “ultimate” place to find security. He will spend money sometimes. And not always on exactly 100% what you want him to. That is going to have to be okay.

                Do you have your bills on auto-pay as much as possible?

                Would you be willing to only look once per week? Do you have someone who could be an accountability partner? Or would you like to report in to me?

                Much love!

              6. Linsey,

                Some of the books that helped me the most were:

                – For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn
                – The first chapter especially of Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
                – How to Listen So Your Husband Will Talk and Talk So Your Husband Will Listen by Rick Johnson

                I also believe my book might be helpful if you have not read it: The Peaceful Wife – Living in Submission to Christ As Lord
                There are also books on idolatry that may be helpful. But I have some posts that may be helpful, too. You can search “money” and “finances” on my search bar. You may not be able to give the finances totally to your husband if he is not willing or able to do them. But some of the mindset shifts that are discussed in those posts are going to be necessary. It can’t all be about “your” money. First it is all primarily about God’s glory. And then it is about you working as a team. This involves a lot of dying to self.

                Let’s hash through any area that is confusing or where you feel you need to focus more.

                Much love!

              7. Oh! And a few more if you need them…

                Sacred Marriage – Gary Thomas
                Sacred Influence – Gary Thomas
                Grace Filled Marriage – Tim Kimmel

              8. Great! I’ll look into these books tonight! I would love to only check once a week. That’s what I would prefer. My problem is not giving in when I feel the urge. I would love to check on Friday’s and then just leave it alone but I struggle with getting curious or fearful and then I give in to it.

              9. Linsey,

                When you feel fearful – go to prayer. Sing praise songs to God at the top of your voice. Ask me or another believer to pray with you and talk with you. This fear is from Satan. It is not of the Lord. You are not in financial danger. The danger is imagined. You will have to take these thoughts captive for Christ. They don’t have to continue to have victory over you.

                My Youtube channel, April Cassidy, has a video “Taking Our Thoughts Captive for Christ.”

                Wherever your fear is strong, those places reveal the strongholds of the enemy in your mind, thoughts, heart, and life. Those are the areas you probably have not yet surrendered fully to Jesus and His Lordship.

                You are also welcome to search my blog home page for:

                – fear
                – insecurity
                – security
                – idol/idolatry

                Much love!

              10. Yes we are on autopay and the only reason I check is to check on what he’s doing. And now that he’s gone I’m always checking. Ugh. I think he wastes a lot on convenient store purchases, but I’m realizing I have to accept this if that’s how he wishes to spend his money. I might not think it’s using our money wisely but I’m a hypocrite because I might spend money on things he thinks is wasteful but he never says anything about it.

                The way we have our finances set up is the best in my opinion. The only roadblock is me and getting over how he spends and obsessing over it. It’s the reason that caused to rebel and go by that gun. He never would have done that if he didn’t feel controlled.

              11. Linsey,

                You have different priorities. He is not wrong to want to have some discretionary income. That is a normal adult need. To be able to have some amount of discretionary income. Especially since he is working and providing for the family. It isn’t like y’all are on the brink of poverty and not able to survive if he buys some things at the convenience store.

                In time, you will be able to get to the place where you acknowledge that all of the money in your account is really God’s it isn’t yours or your husband’s. You will be able to hold money loosely instead of in a death grip as your source of power, control, or security. You will look at yourselves as being stewards and teammates with the Lord and get rid of any pride or self-righteousness.

                If you have time, would you like to look at your motives and maybe we can dissect your thinking a bit? It will be important to clearly identify any wrong thinking or lies from the enemy that may be impacting your views on God, yourself, your husband, marriage, and money.

                You both feed into a loop where you fuel the other’s sin right now. The awesome news is – if you stop the destructive things on your end, you have the power to stop this whole messed up cycle.

                For me, it is always important that I see exactly what I am doing and why and that I can compare my thinking to the Word. Then I can consciously choose to reject my sinful thinking or any lies of Satan and choose to receive God’s truth and then rebuild my life on that alone.

                Much love!

              12. Linsey,
                Some other things to search on my blog are:

                – Control
                – But, I’m Right!
                – Idol Control
                – husband lead

              13. Thanks April. He just Skyped our daughter and he was not acting mad with me, so that’s good. Now I have to really have to not text him and let go of worrying about finances and use this time to better myself. I’ll be checking out your posts and those books. Thanks April!

              14. Linsey,

                That sounds like an awesome plan. If you start to feel anxious or need prayer – let us know! 🙂

              15. So I survived the night without checking our credit card account or contacting my husband. Lol. It sounds like such a simple thing, but such a struggle for me who still tries to hold on to control. I read a lot of things last night that spoke to me, including a prayer app. I wasn’t even looking for it, but it was about abstaining from things that are not healthy or not in alignment with what God wants. So I thought about all the habits that I do that I might need to abstain from. One being checking the credit card and bank statement and the stock market. So Monday will be the day to check it, which is going to be hard, because I get more anxious on the weekend, because that’s when my husband has the time and freedom to spend more. But Monday is what I heard. Second, is limiting my time on social media and abstaining from reading negative things. Third, being abstaining from negative TV shows and movies. Fourth, abstaining from texting or calling my husband unless there is an emergency or he contacts me. It’s going to be difficult, but I know God has my back. I also read something about handling temptations. It’s crazy, because none of these readings were things I was seeking, I just stumbled upon. 🙂

                I have to be honest, I’m a little anxious right now, because when I woke up I had saw that my husband hadn’t texted me good night. I had an urge to check financial stuff. I know that that my anxiety and temptation will increase as time goes on, especially if I don’t hear from him and on the weekend. However, what are my biggest fears? My fear is that he will be unfaithful or spend too much money on himself. And then I think, if he is going to do these things, what control do I have over it anyway? Would calling him and bothering him or checking the accounts constantly stop these things from happening? No, in fact it might create exactly what I fear. That’s what I keep telling myself when fear arises. Along with these things happening be unlikely, especially him being unfaithful, but even if it did, it will be okay because I have God and He is looking out for me. It’s all a test.

              16. Linsey,

                I am so proud of you for listening to the Lord and for seeking Him with all your heart. I LOVE LOVE LOVE your plan and strategy. I believe you are hearing God clearly right now. That is AWESOME!

                That anxiety and fear is not of the Lord. It is Satan whispering to you, trying to get you to take control. Trying to get you to be lord of your life and of your husband’s life. I would NEVER have said this out loud before God opened my eyes to my sin – but what I really expected from Greg was that he should submit to me absolutely. I expected him to bow to my every desire and to my will. No matter what. And I expected God to bow to my will, too. I really believed my wisdom was the greatest and I knew best. I would not have said that or admitted it to myself. But that is how extreme my pride was.

                All the pride has to go. Pride repels God. He hates our pride. And it repels our husbands. Pride and self-righteousness and control – those things bring death to our husbands and our marriages and ourselves.

                It is scary to let go of our illusion of control. But as you can see, it is only an illusion. What you have is an addiction just as much as an anorexic has an addiction to trying to control every bite of food she eats. As if she can have everything she wants if only she limits her caloric intact enough. Of course, in reality, she is not going to be beautiful and attractive to men. She is not going to have greater intimacy in her life because of her addiction. She is killing herself and sabotaging herself. That is what all addictions do. They promise paradise and everything we desire – but lead to death. Death of ourselves physically. Death of relationships. Death of intimacy and trust in the Lord.

                Have some scripture on hand that deals with fear and anxiety and that deals with trusting the Lord. Memorize it. When those toxic anxious thoughts rise up – shoot them down with the power of GOd’s Word. Replace them with truth. Replace the lies of the enemy with God’s truth and purposely build your life on His truth alone. Anything that doesn’t align with God’s Word and His truth has to go.

                I’m SO excited about what God is about to do in your heart! This fear and anxiety – this compulsion you have – you would have no matter who your spouse might be. This is about you. As you allow God to empower you to have victory in this area over a period of time – you will begin to see so much more clearly about how exactly to deal with your husband and you will see his sin more and more clearly. You will also be able to see that a lot of what you have been really upset about on his end was not sin, I believe.

                Sending you the biggest hug!

                Yes! This is a test. A long one. But God has provided all that you need for victory. And we are all right here praying with you and cheering you on!

                Much love!

              17. All,

                I don’t know too many husbands, even in situations where things are going well, where a man will respond favorably to a bunch of long “frustration texts” or emails. In my view, that approach is something to avoid in almost every situation – even when things are going well. It just tends to lead to misunderstanding, division, hurt feelings, etc… If there is truly an important issue to discuss, it is better to try to discuss it in person or at least on the phone.

                It’s critical that we examine our own lives by God’s Word and His Spirit and deal with any sin in our own lives and any sin against our husbands before we attempt to confront them about their sin. Here is a post to help with this topic.

                If we are not Spirit-filled, if we are operating in the flesh – we are just going to make things much worse by shooting out a bunch of long, negatively charged, highly emotional texts/emails. Sometimes, a good rule of thumb can be, the more urgently I feel I need to send an email or text with a bunch of negative things in it – the longer I should wait and not send it.

                Have I really prayed over this? Have I allowed God to show me any issues in my thinking and in my heart first? Is this going to be a productive approach? Am I seeking restoration and reconciliation or am I really just seeking to attack and accuse him?

                If I really feel I MUST share negative feelings with my husband and upset feelings by text/email. I may want to keep it very brief.

                “Honey, I’m feeling a bit sad/confused/upset. I’d love to talk about things briefly for about 10 minutes when there is a good time for you. I think I may be misunderstanding some things and I would love not to have any tension between us. That would mean a lot to me, thanks so much!”

              18. Ultimately – I believe the Lord can give us the exact words. More than my examples, seek to hear what He desires you to say, my precious sisters. 🙂

        7. Linsey,
          I’m so thankful that you don’t feel so hopeless. It sounds like you have a lot of the best skills already to handle this situation. 🙂 That is amazing! The biggest part, in marriage, where things are much more personal, will be for you to be filled up with Christ. I think your plan sounds AWESOME!!!!!!!!

          1. Thanks April.
            I’m glad things were on better terms before I left. He probably knew that I’d be having some emotional times with my friend. I just wish things didn’t always have to get to this point. All the drama. Hopefully The Lord will continue to open up my eyes on how to respond to my husband and lift him up. Thanks for helping me through!

            Linsey

  14. Prayingwithhannah,

    Sharing my pain is not out of line – if my husband is receptive and I am not sinning against him. And if I have thoroughly dealt with my sin against him.

    Trying to control him and force him to do what I want when I want him to is out of line, in my view. I have tried that approach many times myself and have regretted it each time.

    1. All,

      I think it is easy for us as wives not to realize how “scary” we can be at times when we get really emotional and negative. I know that earlier in our marriage, I tended to pounce on my husband and interrogate him – acting like a prosecuting attorney. When I wanted to have a talk about our relationship – all he heard was, “I’m going in front of a verbal firing squad.”

      Sharing our pain is okay in most situations IF we are willing to share it in healthy ways, not destructive ways. Of course, if we have been causing a lot of pain to our husbands, we will want to deal with that first before asking them to help with our pain.

      But we will need to be extra careful in our approach. We need to be respectful, brief (in most cases), safe, calm, and dignified. If we lash out with a lot of negative emotions, venomous words, or we sound accusatory or attacking, we will not get the reconciliation, the apologies, or the restored intimacy we desire. We will just dig ourselves a deeper hole.

      Much love!

      1. Approaching my husband at this point was pointless. I wasn’t disrespectful, but it could be considered another attack, because of how tense things are and how he always feels like hes attacked. So may be out of line due to timing and circumstances, not in my intentions or even delivery.

        1. Linsey,
          Thanks for sharing. I know that things are very tough right now. But I also believe that God is totally able to make something so beautiful from this as you allow Him to transform your mind and heart.

          Much love and the biggest hug!

    2. I don’t think it was necessarily “out of line” to me or others, but to my husband it was because of our situation and he perceived it as me trying to start a fight.

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