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It’s easy to get into the habit of fault-finding and having a critical spirit about other people.
It takes no spiritual maturity, wisdom, talent, or special abilities to criticize others and tear them down with words. The sinful nature does this effortlessly.
It’s also easy to think, “Well, he hurt me, so now I get to hurt him.” Or, “She insulted me, so now I get to take revenge and attack her and hurt her even worse than she hurt me. That will teach her a lesson!” Or, “How dare anyone think bad things about me? How dare anyone not think I am totally perfect?” Then I may think I can justify my sinful response to that person in my mind. Of course, this won’t hold water with God.
Sin is never justifiable in His eyes and He always provides a way out from temptation for His children. If only we will take it!
If I think along the lines of pride, vengeance, hatred, jealousy, or self-righteousness, I will respond in the flesh not in the power of the Spirit of God. I must learn to take my sinful thoughts captive for Christ before they lead me into sinful words and actions.
- With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. James 3:9-10
From the post, “What Does the Bible Say about Being Meanspirited?” by www.gotquestions.org
Christlike living is in direct opposition to a mean spirit. To highlight some differences:
• Our mean spirit wants to get revenge; Jesus says to forgive (Matthew 6:14–15).
• Our mean spirit wants to exalt itself; Jesus says to seek humility (Matthew 23:12).
• Our mean spirit wants to be first; Jesus says we are blessed if we choose to be last (Mark 9:35).
• Our mean spirit wants to fight; Jesus says, “Blessed are the peacemakers” (Matthew 5:9).
• Our mean spirit wants to gossip; the Bible says to guard our mouths (Proverbs 13:3).
• Our mean spirit is rude; Jesus says our speech should be gracious (Colossians 4:6).
God Calls Us to Love
There are two primary commands for believers in Christ (Matt. 22:36-40).
- To love the Lord our God with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strength.
- To love others as we love ourselves – with God’s agape love.
Here is the kind of love God calls us to have for others.
It is a divine love that we can only have through the Holy Spirit:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. 1 Cor. 13:4-8
And God calls us to live by the power of the Spirit not by the power of our sinful flesh:You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. Gal. 5:13-15
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Gal. 5:22-26
Why Do I Want to Insult Others?
Maybe it could be helpful for me to think about why I feel compelled to insult other people, if this is a struggle for me. Once I see why I am doing this, then I can invite God to help me address the root sin issues so I can repent and stop living this way and start living in ways that honor the Lord.
- Do I not know Jesus as my Savior and Lord?
- Have I submitted myself to the Lordship of Christ?
- Is it just a bad habit that I don’t even realize I am doing?
- Do I want to feel better about myself by putting others down? Am I a bully and/or emotionally abusive?
- Am I self-righteous? Do I think I am more holy and good than other people?
- Am I prideful? Do I think I know best and my wisdom is equal to or greater than God’s?
- Am I putting myself, in my mind, in the place of God as Judge of human hearts, minds, and souls? Do I consciously or subconsciously think people answer to me rather than to the Lord?
- Do I think God’s Word doesn’t apply to me? I am somehow above His commands?
- Am I acting in fear? Am I trying to protect myself by lashing out at others?
- Do I enjoy hurting other people? Am I malicious?
- Am I a narcissist? Do I only care about myself and my happiness?
- Do I know the Lord, but have I grieved His Spirit because of unrepentant sin in my life? Am I walking in disobedience to the Word of God in some area of my life so that I don’t have the power of the Spirit right now?
- Do I love and desire something else more than God? If I have something else on the throne of my heart, I will feel frustrated and resentful because there is no contentment, joy, or peace in anything but Jesus.
- Do I hate God or think lies about God or feel betrayed by God because people hurt me?
- Do I hate people?
- Do I hate myself?
- Am I codependent with someone else? Do I idolize my husband or another person and then get angry at them when they don’t meet my deepest needs? Do I expect other people to be responsible for my emotional and spiritual wellbeing? Or do I think I am responsible for other people’s decisions and their emotional and spiritual well-being? Do I have my boundaries and responsibilities mixed up in a dysfunctional way?
- Do I have unbiblical or unrealistic expectations of others and resent them when they disappoint me?
- Do I let my emotions rule and reign in my life instead of the Spirit?
- Do I let PMS or hormones dictate my words?
- Maybe I feel insulted by someone else and I end up reacting in the flesh and am not sure how to respond rightly.
- Do I have a medical issue that needs attention – thyroid problems, nutritional deprivation, sleep-deprivation, low blood sugar, side effects from a medication, postpartum depression, etc…?
- Am I deeply spiritually and emotionally wounded myself and do I need spiritual healing?
- Do I have issues with bitterness, grudges, unforgiveness, and resentment?
- Do I want power over others, do I try to control them with hurtful words?
- Do I believe that I have to insult and disrespect others in order to respect myself?
- Did I experience emotional/verbal abuse when I was growing up? Does this just seem normal and maybe I don’t purposely do it, but I don’t know any other way to relate to people? Maybe I don’t know how to be vulnerable and direct or how to respectfully ask for what I would like?
Or is there some other reason behind my hurtful words?
Pray with Me
We invite You to illuminate our hearts, minds, motives, and deepest thoughts. Please expose any sin in the dark corners of our souls. Shine Your blazing Light of truth and love in every nook and cranny. Help us to see toxic ways of thinking and help us to repent so that we can be made right with You and we can be healed by the power of the blood of Jesus. Then please show us how to seek to repent to those we have hurt and to try to make things right and to live Your new way from now on. Help us to treat others with Your love, honor, and respect. That is how we show our love for You. However we treat people – You take that as how we treat You.
Verses about Insults
Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses. Prov. 10:12
- (Note, this doesn’t mean we never confront sin. But we don’t go telling everyone about it. We handle it rightly. And we realize some things are so insignificant, we can pass over them.)
Whoever shows contempt for his neighbor lacks sense, but a person with understanding keeps silent. Prov. 11:12
Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense. Prov. 19:11
Don’t let your spirit rush to be angry, for anger abides in the heart of fools. Eccl. 7:9
But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. Matt. 5:22
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” Matt. 5:43-45
And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. Mark 11:25
And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. Luke 6:31
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rom. 12:14
Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Rom. 12:17-21
In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry. Eph. 4:26
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
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Eph. 4:32
To speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. Titus 3:2
When he (Jesus) was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. 1 Pet. 2:23
What are some things you have learned about why you have been tempted to insult people in the past? We’d love to hear any wisdom the Lord has given you about overcoming the habit of using hurtful words.
What Is an Insult? And what is it not?
How I Respond to Insults Says a Lot about My Character
Responding to Insults, Criticisms, and Rebukes
What Place Do Hatred, Rage, and Violence Have in Our Lives as Believers in Christ?
Practical Steps to Overcoming Hatred, Rage, and Violence
Our Words Can Cause Catastrophic Damage
Am I Too Chatty with My Husband?
Am I Too Quiet with My Husband?
SALVATION THROUGH JESUS IS AVAILABLE TO US ALL
Of course the foundational thing I need (in order to do anything good in God’s eyes) is to have Jesus as my Savior and Lord. I need to:
1. ADMIT I am a sinner and there is nothing I can do to make myself in right relationship with the One true holy God of the universe.
– “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Rom. 3:23
2. BELIEVE that Jesus, God in the flesh, left the glory of heaven, came to this world to live the perfect life I couldn’t live and die the death I deserved for my sin in my place. He conquered sin, death, and the grave on my behalf and was raised on the 3rd day.
– “For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
– “The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Rom. 6:23
3. CONFESS that Jesus Christ is my Savior and Lord and give my whole life and everything in my life to Him. He is now in charge not me and I will follow Him for the rest of my life.
– “Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Rom. 10:9
– And he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. 2 Cor. 5:15
– “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” Matt. 7:21
Would you be able to help me hash through things as you always used to do?
My husband, our little son and I meet up with a group of believers once a week. There go also his friend and his wife. My attitude towards my husband’s friend was ok, but when we started taking our son to home group, he would always comment how loud our son was, how spoilt and etc. He doesn’t have kids of his own yet, he should have one in summer.
Firstly, i just smiled to that, but it always continued, so then i started to feel irritation. My husband tried to talk to his friend about such behavior, but it didn’t help. Then, yesterday this friend invited everybody to his own place at 6 pm, though we always meet at 7 pm, and I told him we can’t come at 6 due to our son’s routine AND our son is just 18 months old, then he asked why I always put my son first, this was not right, felowship was more important. Then I just lost it. I told him everything what I thought of him, his behaviour, his comments and etc, and told him that in a rather harsh way. He seemed surprised and offended.
Yes, I understand, I shouldn’t have behaved like that but come on, how long this picking on my son would continue? Ok, he probably thinks it’s funny and doesn’t mean anything bad, I think i would be ok if it happened occasionally, but not all the time.
But now, of course, he justifies himself by the fact that I acted in flesh. I know I overreacted, but I came to a point where enough was enough. Now i don’t know really where to go from here.
Your son is 18 months old. My experience is that 18 months old tend to be loud and rather feisty. It seems to come with that age. Sometimes people who haven’t had children yet can’t fully appreciate things like that.
I’m really glad that your husband attempted to address his friend’s behavior first. It is probably better for him to be the point of contact on this issue, honestly.
Going forward, my suggestion to you is that you simply say, “That schedule doesn’t work for us. We can be there at 7:00. But we can’t be there at 6:00.” It is not necessary – and it kind of invites the other person’s criticism – to do much explaining about why you can’t come at a certain time.
Some 18 month olds definitely need a specific routine. Others may not. But this is a decision for Mama and Daddy to make.
It is your responsibility to put certain things first. God absolutely first. Then your husband. Then your children. Then things like friends, fellowship, church, jobs, ministry, etc…
Your husband’s friend is not your spiritual authority. He doesn’t get to make your decisions for you. But it also, obviously, was not helpful to blow up at him.
He may understand your perspective a lot better in about two years. That is my guess!
In the meantime, I think it would be appropriate for you to apologize for your harshness. But you do not have to apologize for the decisions you and your husband make about your family and your priorities and your schedule.
If you did make the mistake of going into too much detail about why you couldn’t come earlier and he criticized you, you could have said something like, “I completely agree with you that fellowship among believers is important. Thank you that you want to make fellowship for our group a priority. That is a very noble and good goal. Of course, parents taking care of their children is also a noble and important goal. I am glad that you love us and want to try to help us and share godly wisdom with us. However, at this point, I would appreciate it if you would please refrain from critiquing my parenting and my son. It upsets me and makes me a lot less likely to want to participate in fellowship and that makes me sad. I want to be with the group as much as possible. I also want to feel like we are loved, accepted, and respected as parents and as a family. I know you don’t have a toddler yet. Maybe you will find you have a different perspective after you have one yourself.”
Matthew 7:1-5 and Matthew 18:15-17 are helpful here.
Address the sin in your own eye first. Apologize for your part. Show him that you also value fellowship. You appreciate his concern and attempt at constructive criticism. You will pray over what he shared. And then it will be you and your husband who will seek to make the best choices that most honor the Lord about what is best for your son.
Of course, before doing anything – please pray and invite God to give you wisdom. Repent to God for responding in the flesh on your end. And speak to your husband about what he thinks is the best approach. <3
Thanks April! Yes, you right. It was my mistake that I started explaining, but then I hoped he would understand me better, and it had a completely opposite effect. I guess he’s not in the place to understand me right now, which is a shame, but I cannot force him to understand me. I’m praying over this situation, thanks for a great advice you’ve given me!
People who haven’t had children just can’t really understand quite yet. He will, though. Give him a bit of time. <3
I'm glad you are praying and I'm sure your husband and the Lord will lead you in just the right way to handle things moving forward that is a blessing to your local group, your relationship with your husband's friend, and your family.
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