As believers in Christ, we are not to have a critical, judgmental spirit, but there are times when we do need to share a life-giving, godly rebuke. We don’t just want to ignore a situation where someone is hurting others or himself/herself.
How can we rightly discern the difference?
Here is a picture that helps me. I imagine someone is in danger, hanging perilously from the edge of a tall cliff.
- Do I want to kick the person’s hands so he/she falls farther?
- Do I want to throw him/her a lifeline?
If I have a critical, judgmental spirit (if I am acting in my sinful flesh):
My motives will include things like: resentment, bitterness, condemnation of others, self-righteousness, hatred, jealousy, pride, hypocrisy, gossip, slander, or some other sinful motive. I do not examine myself first. I do not see sin in my own life. I approach the other person harshly and/or go to other people and tell them how terrible this person is. I cause division and more hurt. I set myself in the place of judge and jury – maybe even executioner. My sinful response only adds gasoline to the fire.
- My primary goals are to exalt myself and hurt others. I want to see the person I criticize defeated. I view him/her as “the enemy.”
If I am operating in the power of the Holy Spirit:
My motives will include things like: wholehearted love for God, unconditional love for all the people involved, truth, a desire to see the sinning person turn to the Lord in true repentance, a willingness to examine my own life for sin first, a longing for spiritual healing for all involved, a desire for genuine unity in the Body of Christ, hatred of sin and the destruction it causes. I seek to approach the sinning person very humbly. I want to honor God’s Word in Matt. 7:1-5, Matt. 18:15-17, and Gal. 6:1-2 about how to lovingly, rightly confront a sinning brother/sister in Christ.
First I deal with sin in my own life thoroughly before the Lord and I also repent to anyone I have injured. I seek to make things right. Then I approach the person in private. I don’t share details all over social media or with my coworkers and friends. If the brother/sister still doesn’t repent, I bring 1-2 strong believers along with me to address the issue – again, in private. And then, if the person still doesn’t repent, we are supposed to take them before the church. I am to watch myself carefully, so that I do not fall into any sinful temptation myself in this process.
- My primary goals are to exalt and honor the Lord, to build up His kingdom, and to bless and love others. I am throwing a lifeline to someone who is about to be swept away by danger. I want to see the real enemy (Satan) defeated and everyone in the Body of Christ healthy and functional. I want to see those who don’t know the Lord come to Him and be transformed and healed.
Please radically transform our hearts and minds with the power of Your Spirit! How we need Your power and holiness each moment – that we might love You and love others. Use us to shine Your light in this dark world. Be greatly glorified in our lives and help us to rightly handle Your Word and difficult relationships.
Check out the post below for a great summary about what it means to properly give a rebuke.
What are some red flags you have noticed to help you see your motives clearly before you attempt to address someone else’s sin or wrongdoing?
What things have you learned to help you respond in a godly way?
IF YOU NEED PERSONAL HELP WITH A TOUGH PROBLEM:
If you are facing a difficult situation and someone is sinning against you and you need to talk about it – please seek wise, godly counsel in private.
Check out the free counseling resource at www.focusonthefamily.org, or you can check out www.biblicalcounseling.com to find a counselor. Or please check with a trusted pastor or godly mentor for a referral.
Of course, if you are facing someone who is extremely abusive or acting in dangerous ways, it may not be safe to confront them privately. There are times when things are so bad you may need to go directly to the police or seek outside help ASAP.
Before we get into the issue of why not to criticize our in-laws, let’s define criticism.
When I am speaking about criticism in this post, I am talking about:
- having a critical, judgmental, negative, condemning spirit toward others that cannot be pleased.
- insulting other people.
- having a negative attitude.
- looking down on others with a sense of spiritual superiority or self-righteousness.
The truth is that…
- When someone criticizes a man’s parents, he often feels an instinctive loyalty to defend them, even though he knows they aren’t perfect and may even agree with the criticism.
- When a man’s own wife criticizes his parents, she is (perhaps unknowingly) pitting herself against his family – and by extension – against him.
Of course, the same is true for us as women when someone criticizes our parents.
It can be tempting to have a critical spirit against people. I may feel completely justified to do this in my own mind. However, if I choose to dishonor, disrespect, insult, and/or criticize my husband’s parents, I need to understand the price I will pay.
- My husband will feel personally dishonored, disrespected, insulted, and criticized if I do these things to his parents, even if I don’t criticize them to anyone but to him. If I criticize or insult his parents to other people, he will feel even more hurt. He will likely feel like I have been disloyal to him, like I have committed a type of betrayal against his family.
- I will create a wall of emotional/spiritual division between myself and my husband.
- I will lose some of his trust.
- If I disrespect and criticize my husband’s parents in front of our children, I will hurt their relationship with their grandparents.
- Even if I just have a critical spirit about my in-laws (or anyone else) in my mind and don’t verbalize my thoughts to anyone else, this mindset will adversely impact my spiritual growth and walk with the Lord and my relationships with my husband and his parents.
- If I complain and have a negative attitude toward my in-laws (or anyone else), I hurt my witness for Jesus Christ.
Instead of focusing on the negative things, perhaps I can focus on something positive? The more I look for good things, the more I will probably find good things about my in-laws. When I practice thanking God for the blessings I see in others, the better my own frame of mind, and the more power I have from God to respond in His Spirit rather than in my sinful flesh. What if God wants to use the things that are so difficult to teach me something valuable and to help me find spiritual treasures? Perhaps, if I feel there is a trial with my in-laws, I can count that trial as joy (as James 1:2-4 says to do) and invite God to do His miracles in my own thinking and in my own approach. I can then also pray effectively for my in-laws, that God might richly bless them and heal any wounds they may have, as well.
The Bible has much godly wisdom about a critical spirit and how we are not justified to do this and how God calls us to change to be more like Himself by the power of His Spirit:
- A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back. Prov. 29:11
- “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” Matt. 7:1-5
- Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor? James 4:11-12
- Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Gal. 6:1
- Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand. Rom. 14:4
- And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. 2 Tim. 2:24
- Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. Rom. 2:1
- Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; Rom. 14:10
- If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 1 Cor. 13:1
- 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
- Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, Phil. 2:14-15
Are there times I need to respectfully share concerns with my husband about his family? Sure. There may be times I need to let my husband know that there is an important issue going on. But I can do that without condemning, bashing, insulting, attacking, criticizing, or disrespecting his parents.
Examples of a critical approach:
- Babe, I don’t want your parents to watch our kids. Your mom is such a horrible grandmother. She lets them be around their vicious dog. I don’t think she cares if they get hurt.
- Honey, do we have to go to your parents’ house this month? Their house is a total disaster. She is the worst housekeeper. My sinuses go completely crazy every time we go. It is torture for me to have to be there for even an hour.
Examples of a respectful approach:
- Babe, I want your parents to get to have lots of time with our kids. I know they love them so much. I want them to have a close relationship. However, I don’t feel that our kids are safe around their dog. I have seen the dog growl at them and snap at the baby. What are your thoughts on that?
- Honey, I know it is so important to you that we spend some time with your parents. I want us to have a great relationship with them. I do want to let you know that my allergies sometimes flare up a lot, I have noticed, when we are there. I think maybe it is a combination of the dust and perfume. I will take some medicine to try to prevent problems. Do you have any suggestions so that we can be with them but I might not have to have so many problems with allergies?
Please help us to live holy lives in our thoughts, our motives, our words, and our actions. Purify us of all sin. Purify us of negativity, a critical, judgmental spirit. Cleanse us of any self-righteousness and pride. Help us to see our in-laws, our husbands, and everyone with Your eyes and Your love. Transform our thinking by the power of Your Spirit and Your Word. Help us to approach our in-laws and everyone else in ways that bring glory and honor to Your Name.
In-law relationships can be some of the MOST difficult. Sometimes our own husbands have quite a bit of godly wisdom about how to handle their family wisely. If you need some outside help for a tough in-law situation, please check out the free counseling resources available at www.focusonthefamily.org. Or the counseling resources at www.biblicalcounseling.com. Or check with your pastor or a strong believer you trust for a referral to a solid, biblical counselor in your area. Be sure the counselor seeks to handle God’s Word correctly.
Most of all, check out what God’s Word has to say, seek the Lord’s wisdom, and the power of His Spirit so that you may respond in His goodness and overcome evil with good.
What Does the Bible Say about Criticism? – by www.gotquestions.org
What Does the Bible Say about Complaining? – by www.gotquestions.org
What Does the Bible Say about Self-Righteousness? – by www.gotquestions.org
A guest post by newly published author of the Christian parenting book “First Ask Why,” Shelly Wildman. It would be a fabulous follow-up to my book, “The Peaceful Mom – Building a Firm Foundation with Christ As Lord”:
Have you ever taken your kids on a trip but not told them where you were going?
Unless we’re surprising them with a trip to Disney world, it might seem a bit ridiculous not to prepare our kids for a trip, wouldn’t it? Even, perhaps, a little bit scary for a child.
My husband and I inadvertently did that one year. We loaded our car with suitcases, strapped our youngest into her car seat, grabbed our airline tickets, and headed to the airport, three little girls in tow. The oldest two knew that we were headed to Arizona to visit their grandparents for Christmas, but four-year-old Julia had no clue.
About halfway to the airport, Julia, still smiling and just happy to be with us, spoke up from the back seat.
“Hey guys? Where are we going?”
The rest of us burst out laughing! How had Julia missed the memo? This wasn’t a small trip, after all.
We’ve laughed about that incident for years, but in reality, my husband and I had missed the mark—we had not prepared everyone for the journey.
Sadly, many parents do this on a much larger scale, and often it’s not just a trip that’s miscommunicated. Often, parents forget to communicate where they’re going as a family, which leaves kids confused and misguided about the family’s purpose.
Proactive parents help their children see that their family isn’t merely a random group of people who live together under one roof for a time (and as one whose kids don’t live under her roof anymore, it feels like a very short time indeed!). Proactive parents help their children understand the purpose of their family and provide a vision for what God is doing through them.
So how do we get to our family vision? We ask why.
Asking why reveals our intentions and motivations.
Asking why helps us focus on what’s most important in our lives and in our family.
Asking why takes into account the individual needs, challenges, and personalities within our family.
When my husband and I began asking why, rather than how, we began to see that God did, indeed, have a purpose for our family, and that purpose became much clearer. When we started asking “why are we here?” we began to realize that God could use our family for gospel purposes—to shine the light of Jesus into the dark corners of the world.
Asking why guided our discipleship of our daughters and began our family on a journey of intentionally living for Christ. It gave us a vision for our family that was much bigger than what happens between the four walls of our home.
Here are a few questions that might help you formulate a vision for your family.
- What are some of the unique characteristics of your children? What are some things they have in common and how are they different?
- How can you take the unique combination of personalities, interests, passions, and needs in your family and formulate them into a gospel-centered vision for your family?
- How does the gospel influence your family’s purpose? How might thinking about your family in light of the gospel change what you’re focusing on today?
Shelly Wildman is a writer, speaker, and the author of First Ask Why: Raising Kids to Love God Through Intentional Discipleship. She is a former writing instructor, but her most important life’s work has been raising her three adult daughters. She and her husband, Brian, have been married for 33 years and live in Wheaton, IL.
FROM THE PEACEFUL WIFE
This idea that Shelly suggests is awesome. I think it would be ideal if parents sat down and formulated a family vision together and share it with their children. I LOVE Shelly’s book and the intentionality with which she and her husband parent. I also commend her approach of looking at the reasons why we do things as parents before launching off into a specific method. She has so much godly wisdom, love, and experience to share. I highly recommend her book.
I’d like to also address those wives whose husbands would not be excited about coming up with an official “family vision.”
It’s okay. If your husband doesn’t like doing things like this, or you mention it and he is not on board, that is fine. Don’t freak out. Don’t succumb to the enemy’s temptation to be bitter or angry at him for not jumping on this amazing idea. Don’t feel like he is failing you or your children. There are lots of ways to lead a family. Some people love to be extremely intentional – and that is awesome! But if your husband is not one of those people, he can still be the leader in the home, even if he has a different way of leading.
You are totally free to pray yourself to the Lord and to invite Him to share a family vision with you – and your husband if you would like to ask for that. You can share your vision with your children as their mom. Even if Dad doesn’t want to participate. I encourage you to invite God’s Spirit to work in both your husband and yourself and to be open to any way the Spirit of God wants to lead your husband. Even if it looks different from this exact plan. Even if your husband hates coming up with written goals. God can still lead you through such a man. Check out this post for inspiration.
Raise a Daughter Who Doesn’t Need to Date – by Shelly Wildman
First Ask Why – Why I Wrote the Book – by Shelly Wildman
A number of prominent women – college professors and women in the mainstream media – have been quite vocal lately about that they believe women should hate all men. They point to many examples of men who mistreated women, who sexually abused them, who assaulted them and raped them. The examples they give are truly awful. There is no doubt that there are many men who have done horrible things against women.
It is very wrong for men to hurt women. God hates violence, rape, abuse, and every kind of wrong men may commit against women. Of course, God also hates every kind of wrong women may commit against men, too.
As women who profess Christ, what are we to do? Is hatred really the answer to the problems in our society and in our families?
Let’s go back to Scripture, the only source of absolute truth, my dear sisters!
BASIC TRUTHS OF GOD’S WORD
- The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Prov. 8:13
- Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. 1 John 2:9
- But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes. 1 John 2:11
- If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 1 John 4:20
- Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matt. 22:36-40
- Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. John 14:23-24
- Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:8
About eternal life:
- Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. John 3:36
- For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
- Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. 1 John 3:15
- “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ 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. 5:21-22
- But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death. Rev. 21:8
HOW GOD DEALS WITH SIN
Sin is anything that falls short of the holiness, perfection, and glory of God. It is anything that deviates from His goodness and His perfect will. We have all sinned against God and against people. Not just men. And not just women. We have all fallen short of His standard of holy perfection and are in desperate need of a Savior.
God hates sin. All sin. God hates sin so much that – in His holiness, righteousness, and justice – He cannot tolerate any sin in His presence. The wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23). That is why we as sinners, on our own, cannot enter heaven and we are condemned to hell if we don’t have the Savior. God doesn’t want us to go to hell, though. He longs for us all to be with Him in heaven forever. God had to come up with a way to deal with the sin He hates so that He could separate the sin from us and have the chance to be with the people He so dearly loves.
- Jesus answered, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6
That is what the cross of Jesus is all about. It is where the mercy and love of God meet the righteousness, holiness, and justice of God. This is the only way to salvation. It is the only way we can be made right with God. It is all about what Jesus, in His holiness, did for us that we could not do for ourselves. He overcame our sin with His divine love, not with hatred. How humbling is that!? He loved us enough to die for us to rescue us when we were still His enemies and we hated Him.
PEOPLE HATING PEOPLE IS NOT GOD’S WAY
We all lose when we hate each other. We miss out on real relationship with people. And we miss out on intimacy with the Lord. It is impossible to hate people and love God.
We should have righteous anger when anyone is wronged – men, women, the elderly, children, the unborn, and anyone else. We should hate sin like God does. We should seek to use our voices, our influence, and our power to guard people from harm. We should seek to elect leaders who will help enact laws that will protect the innocent and punish the guilty. We should seek to build governments that will protect all people from violence, rape, injustice, and abuse. We should address and confront sin in biblical ways.
However, women hating men is not the answer to the problems in our culture or in our families.
If men hate women, this will not solve anything or accomplish any good, either. Hatred always only brings more pain, more dysfunction, more division, and more hurt for everyone. Genuine repentance from our sins and our willingness to individually yield our lives to the Lordship of Christ Jesus is what will bring healing for us all.
MASCULINITY AND FEMININITY ARE GOOD GIFTS FROM GOD
Masculinity is part of God’s good design for us. So is femininity. God created us to be different on purpose. Masculinity, in and of itself, is not toxic, in spite of what our culture may say. Masculinity and femininity have become skewed because of sin and the Fall. However, masculinity and femininity are beautiful and precious gifts that, when used rightly, point us to the image of God and to the gospel of Christ (Eph. 5:22-33).
We need strong, godly men as leaders in our communities, churches, businesses, government, and families. Getting rid of masculinity, as some propose today, will hurt everyone. Women, men, families, marriage, children, and society all depend on healthy, godly masculinity and femininity to thrive. Let’s address the massive spiritual issue in our hearts – our sinful nature. That is what needs to die. That is the real problem.
If we seek to completely annihilate masculinity, especially God’s design for masculinity, we will hurt our societies, relationships, and children in ways we cannot imagine.
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Rom. 12:21)
Those who know and love Jesus display the fruit of His Spirit in every interaction – His love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23). When we have Christlike people – men and women – who know the Lord, we will have real peace. We will treat each other with mutual respect and unconditional love. Then our communities, businesses, government, churches, families, and our world can be a safer place for us all.
Godly Masculinity – by www.gotquestions.org
Sin includes things like:
Pride, unbelief in Jesus/God, idolatry (loving other things/people/ideas/desires more than we love God), greed, addictions, drunkenness, trusting ourselves or things other than God, cursing, hatred, disrespect toward God’s Word, lack of reverence for God, vulgar words, course joking, disobedience to anything God asks us to do, lack of submission to the Lordship of Christ, hurtful words, a critical spirit, disrespecting others, usurping someone’s God-given authority, rudeness, selfishness, self-righteousness (believing we are better than other people spiritually), envy, lying, stealing, taking God’s name in vain, vanity, people pleasing, perfectionism, sexual immorality, lust, apathy, lack of love, lack of faith, legalism, false teaching, false religion, and many other things.
Note – Thank you for all who have been praying for my Grandma and my family. Grandma passed away peacefully on June 8th with each of her sons there at her side, holding her hands. She is with Jesus now and will never face sadness, illness, suffering, pain, or death again. We miss her greatly, but we know she is having the best time ever with the Lord and all of her loved ones. We so look forward to seeing her again in heaven.
This is a pic of Grandma with our son about 14 years ago.
It has been a tough month. Things are slowly getting back to a new normal. Thank you for your patience as I spent a lot of time with my Grandma in her final weeks. My prayer continues to be for God’s greatest glory in her life, in her death, and in our response to her death as a family.
MY $10 BILL INCIDENT
I took our children and two of their friends to a nearby store to pick up some pool noodles 2 weeks ago. I quickly found a $10 bill and my wallet and and gave it to my daughter and her friend to go to the register to pay. As they were paying, the cashier kept holding the bill up to the light. Then she called the store manager to look at it. The girls started feeling nervous.
The manager inspected it, glared at me, and quickly announced – loudly in front of all of the other customers – “This bill is FAKE! There is no strip in it, and it is printed crooked.” And she kept it. Didn’t even let me look at it.
I was in total shock!
I had never been accused of passing counterfeit bills before, and was running on about 4 hours of sleep per night for the past month since my grandmother had been so sick. So I gave her a $20 to pay for the 6 pool noodles, and left without the ten dollar bill. All four kids were freaking out. Especially the eleven year olds were traumatized. The cashier and manager looked at them just as hatefully as they looked at me. The girls were so upset.
I called Greg and my dad. I was confused – wondering if the bill really was fake, or if I had just been robbed of $10. If the bill was counterfeit, I wanted to be sure the police had it. But even then, my prayer was, “God, somehow use even this for Your glory!”
(Later, I looked up what I should have done – and apparently I should have called the police if I was accused of unknowingly passing counterfeit money so that if it was found to be legitimate, they could get the money back to me and make sure the manager didn’t pocket it. Just in case you ever need to know.)
Greg’s dad actually went back to the store and talked to the manager and asked to look at the bill. He got her to give it to him and he took it to the bank. (So I didn’t call the police.) The cashier at the bank told him that if it was counterfeit, she would have to confiscate the bill – which was totally fine with me. If it was fake, I just wanted it to be in the right hands. The bank called the FBI and confirmed that the bill was actually legitimate. The problem was that it was slightly off-center and it was printed in 1950 – so it was very old. Of course, bills printed in 1950 don’t have strips in them. That is a relatively recent development. And it was odd that it was a bit off-center. I do understand why the cashier and manager were suspicious now.
If it hadn’t had a smudge of dirt on it, it actually would have been worth $20 for a collector.
Whew! What a relief to know that my $10 was totally legit.
But it got me thinking about counterfeiting. When people make counterfeits, their goal is to make the bill as close to a legitimate bill as possible so that they can deceive people. Of course, they usually don’t make counterfeits of ten dollar bills. Not when they could make $100 bills! The criminals try to imitate every feature perfectly so that no one will notice the bill is fake. Then the unsuspecting victim will think it has great value when actually, the bill is completely worthless.
SATAN IS A COUNTERFEIT MASTER
This is exactly what Satan does. He uses big chunks of the Bible and tries to make false religions/cults look true. He tries to make his lies look like the truth, and if you are not looking closely, they can seem legitimate. But there is always a bit of a twist so that it is not completely true – and so that those who believe his lies will not actually know God at all and not experience His salvation.
What a shock it would be to think you had God and truth – only to find out when it is too late – that you don’t.
Let’s remember what Satan was and who he was before he fell. He was the highest ranking angel – Lucifer. His downfall was his pride. He wanted to be equal to God and worshipped like God. He knows how to disguise himself as an angel of light.
This is why we MUST know the Bible and handle it rightly. This is why we must test the spirits and not just accept what anyone says about God. We need to check the teachings of a pastor, a church, a denomination, a religion, against what the Bible says. If someone preaches another gospel other than what the Bible declares to be true, we are to run away from false teaching. This is a very big deal! We must be able to discern biblical truth from Satanic lies. And, we must remember that Satan plants false teachers in the church, not just in cults and false religions.
Let’s not be naive – Satan also loves to spread counterfeit information about many important topics – masculinity, femininity, marriage, parenting, relationships, God, and everything else. Let’s be willing to question everything and hold it up to the light and scrutinize the messages of our churches, our favorite teachers, our favorite songs, the media we consume, our friends, and our culture. Let’s be alert so that we do not fall prey to the schemes of the enemy to rob and destroy us.
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6
Please help us discern – by the power of Your Spirit and by our right handling of Your Word – between truth and lies. Let us run from every counterfeit. Let us only listen to and obey Your voice and Your truth alone. Help us build our lives only on the Solid Rock. And help us not to miss any precious truths of Yours, assuming they are lies, when they really are legitimate and valuable.
- Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 1 John 4:1
- For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds. 2 Cor. 11:13-15
- I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. Rom. 16:7
- For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 2 Tim. 4:3
- See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. Col. 2:8
- But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. Gal. 1:8
Hey, my sweet readers!
Just wanted to let you know that my 98 year old Grandma broke her leg Tuesday – had a very severe fracture. She had just gone out to eat with us at a Chinese buffet on Sunday for Mother’s Day and was doing so well. She has been living with my parents for almost 29 years now. Such a powerful, beautiful example of love. For many years, she did all of the shopping, cooking, laundry, and ironing. In recent years, she has had to slow down a bit. But she still was extremely independent, which she loved. They have done such an incredible job taking care of her.
Grandma had high risk surgery Wednesday and was doing amazingly well. Everything went according to best possible case scenario. But then Thursday she began to have some complications. Now, she has pneumonia and is not doing well at all.
I am going to continue to spend as much time as I can with her and helping my parents and taking care of my family. So I am not going to be running a post in the next week or so. Thanks for your patience and understanding.
Grandma knows and loves Jesus and has been ready to go home to heaven for a long time. She is not suffering or in pain. I don’t know if she will recover or not. It is a day-by-day kind of thing. I am very blessed to have her for my grandmother.
I am praying for God’s greatest glory in this trial and I am extremely thankful for the opportunity to spend a lot of time with my Grandma and my parents the past few days. Each moment we spend together is such a priceless gift.
- Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4
The hymns I have been singing the most this week:
And the one my Grandma liked the most yesterday when she was still coherent enough to be able to tell me:
What is a wife to do if this is her difficult situation?
NOTE – I am speaking about a hypothetical situation here. Greg and I wholeheartedly endorse tithing or even giving more than a tithe for believers in Christ. Not because we have to – but because we GET to!
Let’s do a little overview of the concept of tithing just to get our bearings biblically. (Don’t take my word for anything, please feel free to study the Bible yourself to confirm that what I am saying is correct.)
Tithing in the Old Testament:
Tithing was a requirement in the Old Testament Mosaic Law that provided money for God’s work and for His designated workers. The Levites were in charge of running the Temple and taking care of all of the sacrifices of the people. They had no land inheritance like the other 11 tribes did. They were given land on which to live, but it did not belong to them. Their lives were to be fully devoted to service to the Lord. So the people’s tithes supported the tribe of Levi. Also, Israel was a theocracy when it was established, so the Levites also fulfilled the function of a government. Everything that the entire nation needed for religious purposes and government purposes was accomplished through what God commanded the people to give in His law.
Tithing is not specifically required in the New Testament. We are no longer under the Mosaic Law. The church is not Israel. We do not support the Levites, the animal sacrificial system, or the Temple. Jesus fulfilled all of the Old Testament Law and now, we are under Grace. So things are different in a lot of ways now because we are under the New Covenant rather than the Old Covenant. However, giving is mentioned in the New Testament – giving money to the work of the Lord, sharing with those who teach and instruct us in the faith, and giving to the poor is also mentioned.
Tithing in the New Testament – excerpt from www.gotquestions.org:
After the death of Jesus Christ fulfilled the Law, the New Testament nowhere commands, or even recommends, that Christians submit to a legalistic tithe system. The New Testament nowhere designates a percentage of income a person should set aside, but only says gifts should be “in keeping with income” (1 Corinthians 16:2). Some in the Christian church have taken the 10 percent figure from the Old Testament tithe and applied it as a “recommended minimum” for Christians in their giving.
The New Testament talks about the importance and benefits of giving. We are to give as we are able. Sometimes that means giving more than 10 percent; sometimes that may mean giving less. It all depends on the ability of the Christian and the needs of the body of Christ. Every Christian should diligently pray and seek God’s wisdom in the matter of participating in tithing and/or how much to give (James 1:5). Above all, all tithes and offerings should be given with pure motives and an attitude of worship to God and service to the body of Christ. “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).
There are believers in Christ who give 20% of their income to the Lord’s work to support local churches, mission work, and charities. And there are even those who give 90% and live off of 10%. I think that is amazing! We are commanded to give as believers in Christ. It is not a command in the New Testament that we must give a specific percentage now. Rather, it is our joy, honor, and privilege to give generously and cheerfully out of thanksgiving for all that Jesus has done for us.
I wholeheartedly endorse giving to the Lord’s work! If you and your husband agree on 10%, that is awesome!
If you agree on some other amount, that is great! Giving, like just about everything else in the New Testament, is primarily a heart issue. The Lord blesses us in many ways as we give generously.
- “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:38
If My Husband Doesn’t Want to Tithe
First, I think it is important to take special note of 2 Corinthians 9:7.
“Each man should decide in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
If my husband doesn’t want to give as much as I do, I may consider giving “behind his back.” Or I might give with his knowledge, but knowing he is not in agreement. Unfortunately, attitudes like these are disrespectful toward my husband’s God-given leadership in our home and toward his free-will. They are also disrespectful toward the Lord. God is not going to bless my giving to His work if I am giving in a way that is dishonest or disrespectful to my husband or to God’s system of order. My attitude is important. And my husband’s attitude is important, too. God wants us both to willingly and voluntarily choose to give what we give. Both of us must be on board.
I can absolutely respectfully share what I want to give or that I would like to tithe:
- Honey, I would really love to start tithing. What do you think?
- I’ve been thinking that it would be amazing if we might give X% or $X amount to the church and/or Christian ministries each month.
- It would mean so much to me if we could sponsor a child with a Christian charity.
In my understanding, the amount of money a Christian or Christian couple decides to give to the Lord and His work is a matter of personal conviction. This means, I don’t get to accuse my husband of sinning if he doesn’t want to give 10% to church, if he calculates a tithe differently from how I would, or if he wants to give in a way that is different from my preference.
If I had a desire to tithe, but my husband did not, then I would want to let him just think about my respectful request and wait on God to work in his heart. Or if we were on the same page about tithing, but if I wanted to ask about giving more than we have been giving, I could share what I want to do and then give him some time to think about things.
Some husbands are fine with the wife tithing her own money. Some husbands have particular charities they trust and prefer to support. Some have valid reasons why they don’t want to give to certain ministries. There are all kinds of different arrangements that couples construct. The biggest thing is, I want to be sure to honor the Lord by respecting my husband’s decision and not run ahead. I don’t want to force him into giving against his will.
As I wait, I can pray:
You know my heart to want to give so much more financially to Your church and to Your work. Please inspire my husband to want to give generously, too. Help us to be cheerful givers. I know he needs to make up his own mind and decide to give without me forcing or coercing him to. Help me to be patient and wait and to treat my husband with a godly, respectful, honoring attitude. And help me to see ways I can contribute to Your kingdom and share Your love while I wait on You to work in his heart on this issue. I trust You to work. I am not going to run ahead and try to force my way. I thank You and praise You for what You will do in this area for Your glory!
If you would like for me to consider anonymously sharing your story related to the issue of tithing and giving and how the Lord worked in your own marriage, I’d love to hear about it! Please send an 800-1000 word story to my Contact Page.
Does a Christian Have to Tithe? – by The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association
Posts about Various Ways Different Couples Handle Finances
There is no doubt about it, being a woman, wife, and/or mom is tough today. With so many crazy things happening in our own families, relationships, jobs, and schedules – not to mention the complete insanity going on in the world – a peaceful heart may seem like an impossibility.
Yet, each of us has a built-in longing to live in perfect peace for ourselves. And we desperately desire peace in our families and for our precious children, too.
Here are some critical keys that I have found on my own journey of discovery to become a peaceful wife and mom:
- Choose to allow Jesus alone, the Prince of Peace, to sit firmly on the throne of your heart. If anything/anyone else competes for His place there, you will not experience His peace. Peace is part of Jesus and His character. It is something we have because we have Him and we are close to Him. It can’t be separated from Him.
- You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Isa. 26:3 ESV
- “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 ESV
- Carve out the time you need with God to praise Him, to thank Him, and to fellowship with Him. As you spend time soaking in His love, His Word, and in prayer -He radically transforms your mind and heart. He restores your soul. Receive the tender love of your Good Shepherd. This leads to great peace because you allow yourself to sit at His feet, to be with Him, to know Him, to be still before Him. You allow Him to care for you, protect you, love you, and provide for you in spiritual abundance. He is so very generous to those who come to Him in faith and trust.
- He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young. Isa. 40:11 ESV
- Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. James 4:8 ESV
- Invite God to help you examine your fixed beliefs and thinking about Him, relationships, and yourself. As you allow Him to help you eliminate lies (big and small) and embrace His truth, He heals you spiritually in amazing ways. His truth truly sets you free. This leads to the ability to have peace with God, with your children, with others, and yourself.
- “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32 ESV
- Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 ESV
- Develop the discipline of taking your thoughts captive for Christ so that you can walk in the victory of Christ over negative emotions, tempting thoughts, and even crazy hormones. Then you can often avoid even starting down the mental and spiritual pathways that lead away from peace.
- We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, 2 Cor. 10:5 ESV
- No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. 1 Cor. 10:13 ESV
- Get rid of anything God labels as sin. Whether it is sexual impurity, porn use, sex outside of marriage, homosexuality, lust, bitterness, hatred, unforgiveness, gossip, pride, self-righteousness, dishonesty, stealing, false teaching, idolatry (putting anything above Christ in your heart – even marriage, a relationships, a boyfriend, beauty, money, children, happiness, or a career), a cult, or an addiction – it all has to go. You can’t have peace and sin at the same time. It is impossible!
- Now He commands all people everywhere to repent, Acts 17:30ESV
- Bear fruit in keeping with repentance.Matt. 3:8 ESV
- Seek to treat others with respect and honor on your end, responding with the power of the Spirit rather than in destructive ways. When you set a godly example, you open the gates of heaven to pour the Lord’s Life, healing, and peace into your family and relationships
- Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor. 1 Pet. 2:17 ESV
- Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Rom. 12:10 ESV
- Give up attempts to be responsible for/trying to control other people’s decisions. The ability to accept other people and their own God-given free will is such a gift! When I try to control things over which I don’t actually have control, it creates anxiety. A lot of anxiety. But if I focus on what God has given me control over – myself – and trust God with other people, this is a huge key to peace.
- But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. 2 Tim. 3:1-5 ESV
- Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7 ESV
- Forgive other people – wholeheartedly. Forgiveness may seem impossible in some situations, and it certainly is difficult. It requires the power of the Holy Spirit to help us. But unforgiveness, resentment, and bitterness are toxic. They lead to anxiety, hatred, contempt, and, eventually, even to violence, suicide, or murder if left unchecked long enough. Forgiveness releases you from poison. It allows you to have full fellowship with Jesus and sets you free to live in peace with others as far as it depends on you. (Forgiveness is not the same thing as trust. Trust has to be rebuilt when it was broken. Trust is conditional.)
- Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Eph. 4:32 ESV
- But if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Matt. 6:15 ESV
CORRECTION ON A COMMENT LAST WEEK:
I had a comment on my post briefly last week where I inadvertently said, “Jesus gave up His deity.” YIKES! That is NOT what I intended to say! I meant to say, “Jesus gave up His rights to claim equality with God – even though He was God – and put on the heart of a servant.” (Phil. 2) Jesus was fully God and fully man.
My deepest apologies to anyone who saw that, and to the Lord. I long to handle His Word rightly with every word I speak or type.
What are some keys to peace you have found on this journey?
7 Keys to Finding Real Peace – different keys from the ones in this post. 🙂
The Peaceful Mom – Building a Healthy Foundation with Christ As Lord is a book for moms of any age. It’s an easy-to-read, step-by-step guide to help you discover the abundant spiritual life and divine peace that is available to you in Jesus. It gets into the meat behind these 8 keys, and much more. Honestly, it would be a blessing to any woman, even those who are not married and who don’t have children. But it is especially designed with moms in mind. The best part is, as you become a Peaceful Mom, you also learn to give the same tools to your children so that they can learn to live in God’s supernatural peace, too. There is no greater gift than that for our children!
Today through Sunday, I am doing a promotion on The Peaceful Wife Blog Facebook page. Whoever shares my post about the giveaway will be entered into a drawing. I plan to give away five free signed hardcopies of The Peaceful Mom – Building a Healthy Foundation with Christ As Lord.