Does God Really Have One Specific “Soul Mate” for You?

bride and groom holding hands

You know how the movies and books go, they often describe how a man and woman magically find each other out of all of the billions of people in the world, and they instantly know that they were destined for each other.

Sparks fly. Fireworks erupt. The world stands still.

They know that they are meant to be soul mates, and that they will complete each other and fulfill each other like no one else ever could. They just know they will be completely perfect for each other. Together, they will have unending bliss in this lifetime. They will feel totally in love every moment of every day. Infatuation will never end for them.

They won’t even have to work at nurturing the romance. It just magically happens without effort or problems.

A lot of us believe this idea.

But is this worldly idea of one perfect soulmate in all the world for each of us biblical?

There are four areas I want to address with this issue:

  1. Is there actually a person who can completely fulfill us, never disappoint us, give us total security, peace, joy, eternal happiness, and perfection?
  2. What kinds of fruit does the soul mate idea bear?
  3. What does the Bible say?
  4. What does the Bible not say?

The truth is, there is no perfect human

There is no completely flawless human soul mate who will never hurt us, always completely understand us like Hollywood portrays, and who can meet our deepest spiritual and emotional needs every second of every day forever.

  • For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Rom. 3:23

If we try to put a man on the throne of our hearts like this, we are making him into an idol. The problem with idolatry is, it always destroys us and it always destroys the relationship we have with the person we idolize. (Another way of describing this kind of relationship would be “codependent.”)

  • It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. Ps. 118:8
  • Thus says the Lord: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord… Jer. 17:5-6

Once we marry a man, that person is to be our spouse for life. We are to work on that relationship and nurture it out of love and honor for God and for the marriage covenant and our husband.

Marriage is a good gift. It is a blessing. God intends for each marriage to portray a living picture of the gospel (Eph. 5:22-33).

But marriage is also hard. There are difficulties. This doesn’t mean we abandon our marriage covenant. Check out what the Bible says about divorce.

But there is a perfect God who can fulfill us

What we really need is Jesus. We need the perfect Creator of the universe, the Prince of Peace, the Lord of lords, the Great Physician, the Good Shepherd, the Heavenly Bride Groom. He is the only one who can meet our deepest spiritual needs all the time. He is the only one who will never fail us, disappoint us, or leave us.

If we have Him, we have the Greatest Treasure in all the universe!

  • Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Prov. 3:5-6
  • Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” Jer. 17:7-8
  • For my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water. Jer. 2:13
  • Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.” Matt. 22:36-40

In Him, we truly can have absolute security, peace, joy, contentment, fulfillment, purpose, and our identity.

The problem with the world’s soul mate idea

When we have a mindset that a person can take the place of all that only Jesus can do for us, when we depend on a human man to be our soul mate, this is what happens:

  • We marry a man we idolize, with all these unrealistic expectations and then realize that he is not perfect. Even if he is a strong Christian, he sins and stumbles at times. And we are shocked and appalled. We begin to resent him and disrespect him.
  • We assume that we married the wrong person and we need to divorce this guy and find our real soul mate so we can be happy. We are angry at God for allowing us to marry a man who is not the soul mate we wanted more than anything.
  • With the soul mate mindset, our primary hope is in a flawed human being, not in Christ.
  • Our goal is our own momentary happiness (which is one of the greatest idols in our culture) rather than holiness or exalting Jesus above all and seeking His glory above everything else.
  • The marriage covenant and God’s commands for us as believers and as spouses become secondary to our feelings and desire for Hollywood style romance.

I believe this kind of soul mate concept is very dangerous to our marriages.

In reality, any Christian man we marry is not going to be perfect. And any Christian woman a man marries is flawed, as well. That includes us! We will have plenty of opportunities to give and receive grace, forgiveness, mercy, and unconditional love and respect. We all have a steep learning curve in marriage. And we all need the power and wisdom of God’s Spirit to build a strong, godly marriage.

What should happen when we realize our spouse is not perfect, is—it should remind us that only Jesus can truly meet our every spiritual need. And it should remind us of our own sin and how much we are completely dependent on Christ because on our own, none of us have any good in us. And it should also make us remember that the only one we can completely trust to be faithful all the time is Jesus.

What does the Bible say?

Is there only one man for you out there? One specific man that you have to find among the billions of others?

  • Well, for Adam and Eve, there was definitely only one potential spouse for them. It was pretty obvious who God’s will was for them to marry!
  • And for Eleazer, who was looking for a wife for Abraham’s son, Isaac, he did pray for God to show him the wife He wanted for Isaac and God answered his prayer. (Although, Rebecca was certainly not perfect.) We can certainly pray for God to lead us to a godly spouse.

But for us as followers of Christ, what are the qualifications we need to have for choosing a spouse?

  • A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord. 1 Cor. 7:39
  • Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? I Cor. 6:14

So really, the main thing is, we are to choose someone who is committed to living for Jesus. The rest is pretty much up to us.

In biblical times, most marriages were arranged. Sometimes the spouses didn’t even meet before the wedding. Or they were betrothed from infancy. There was no dating like we know in our culture.

Of course, for those who are already married to an unbeliever, God’s will is for them to stay with that spouse if possible and seek to influence the other one for Christ.

What does the Bible not say?

There are no verses that say things like:

  • Seek the one true love that God has for you among all of the other people in the world. Don’t marry anyone but him. If you marry some other Christian man, you are doomed to misery forever.
  • There is only one man for you that is perfect for you. Pray for God to help you find him. If you can’t find him, God can’t do anything of value with your life.
  • If you realize you married someone who is not perfect for you, divorce him and search the world for your real God-given soul mate so that you can be happy.

God’s will is for us, as Christian women, is for us to remain single and completely devoted to Christ or for us to marry a believing husband and remain completely devoted to Christ and faithful to our marriage covenant.

Did you know that we will not be married to our human husbands in heaven? Marriage is temporary for this lifetime. In heaven, all of the members of the Body of Christ make up the Bride of Christ and Jesus is the Bride Groom. We will celebrate the marriage supper of the Lamb together and be one in Spirit eternally together with Jesus. Earthly marriage is just a temporary picture that foreshadows heaven.

Again, only Jesus can promise happily ever after in heaven. There is no 100% happily ever after on earth. In fact, Scripture promises that on earth, and in earthly marriage, there will be trials.

  • those who marry will face many troubles in this life, 1 Cor. 6:28

But here is our hope in Jesus:

  • I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

FOR A HEALTHIER WAY TO VIEW THE CONCEPT OF SOUL MATES, please check out this post by www.gotquestions.org.

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How has the soul mate concept impacted you? Has it been helpful or hurtful? What scriptural support do you find for your beliefs on this issue?

(If you can’t see the comment space below, click on the title at the top of the post and then scroll down to the bottom of the post.)

Much love! <3

RELATED

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I Was SURE I Would Never Make My Husband an Idol – Guest Post

How to Respect Your Husband without Idolizing Him

Is Your Spouse Responsible for Your Happiness?

The Idol of Happiness

Oneness in Marriage (overcoming codependency)

Closeness in Marriage Is Not What I Expected – by A Fellow Wife (also about overcoming codependency)

Resources for Wives with Angry Husbands

angry man yelling into a phone

Dear sisters,

For dealing with an angry husband, I have several resources I would like to share that I hope might be a blessing. Of course, each situation is a bit different.

It is tempting to respond to our husband’s anger with anger of our own. But it is much more productive and healthy for us to respond in the power of the Spirit. It can also help us if we remember that anger is often a secondary emotion that springs from hurt or pain of some type.

By far the most helpful thing is to have God’s wisdom and discernment about what is really going on and how the Lord is prompting us to respond in that situation.

Sometimes, a husband may be open to discussing the things I am about to ask. Other times, you’ll know the answer when you see the questions without having to ask him about it. If a husband is particularly angry, he may not want to have a big discussion about any of the things I am going to share.

Sometimes, it is important to try to talk through things. Other times, a man may need some healthy space to work through his own anger.

When he is super volatile and feeling out of control, he may need to walk away to calm down. He may not be able to have a deep discussion right then. Let him go get himself under control. Don’t follow him and demand that he speak if he feels like he is about to blow up. That will probably only make things worse.

These questions are really mostly for you to prayerfully consider:

Is he actually angry?

  1. Is he just from a family culture or a geographical culture where people tend to speak loudly and forcefully, but they aren’t actually angry? Sometimes people from the South, for example, think people from New York City are angry because they talk faster and more loudly, but the New Yorkers may be speaking normally, from their perspective.
  2. Are you especially sensitive/insecure and maybe looking for anger behind everything he does, even when maybe he is not angry at you? Do you struggle with people-pleasing or idolizing your husband? Do you feel nervous at the thought that there could be any tension or conflict ever?
  3. Is it possible you could be misunderstanding him/his personality and that he doesn’t intend to communicate anger? Maybe he is simply trying to communicate something he would like to be different, but maybe he is not angry about it?
  4. Could he be reacting defensively because he feels attacked?

If he really is angry, with what or with whom is he angry?

  1. With God?
  2. With circumstances?
  3. With you?
  4. With other family members?
  5. With coworkers/customers/neighbors/church members/others?
  6. With himself?

What kind of anger is it?

  1. Righteous anger/jealousy? – Is someone sinning against him, someone he loves, or his family?
  2. Unrighteous anger/jealousy? – Is he holding onto resentment, bitterness, impatience, hatred, or another sin? Is he in rebellion against God or living in unrepentant sin?

What is the pain behind his anger?

  1. Does he know Jesus as his Savior and Lord? If he doesn’t, this is his greatest need.
  2. Does he feel that he is trying to lead in godly ways, but those entrusted to his care won’t cooperate (even though he is not asking them to sin or abusing them)?
  3. Is he attempting to rightly address sin against him or someone he loves?
  4. Does he feel like a failure, or is he afraid of being a failure?
  5. Does he feel shame for sin in his life or does he feel shame just for being a man?
  6. Does he feel rejected by someone important to him?
  7. Does he have deep wounds from his childhood that are not healed?
  8. How did his dad express pain and deal with conflict? Is it possible that this approach feels “normal” to him?
  9. Does he feel really pressured by someone about something?
  10. Does he feel someone has let him down?
  11. Does he feel disrespected, humiliated, or mistreated by someone?
  12. Is he stuck in an addiction to drugs/porn/alcohol/gambling?
  13. Is there unrepentant sin in his life?
  14. Is anyone egging him on and baiting him, trying to get him to get angry and lash out?
  15. Could he be under spiritual attack of some kind?
  16. Is he spiritually, physically, or emotionally depleted?
  17. Is he upset about a real or perceived injustice against himself, a loved one, or someone else?
  18. Is he afraid to trust God or others because of past scars?
  19. Is he taking a medication that can cause irritability or does he suffer from a health issue that may contribute to this (low blood sugar, ADD, Asperger’s, autism, bi-polar, schizophrenia, PTSD, low thyroid, abnormal testosterone levels, an infection, poor nutrition, or something else)?
  20. Does he feel overwhelmed by all he has to do and he just can’t figure out how to handle everything on his plate?
  21. Does he feel like he can’t win? Like there is no way for him to be the hero in the situation?
  22. Is he worried about someone he loves or something that is important to him?
  23. Does he feel powerless to fix a problem or to help someone he wants to be able to help?
  24. Does he feel emasculated in some way as a man?
  25. Is he fearful of something bad happening?

Is the anger explosive, violent, or out of control? If so, please seek outside help!

Most of all, we need the Holy Spirit’s leading and wisdom. He can prompt us to speak up or not to speak and what to say, many times, if we are tuned in to His leading.

We may not know what exactly he is angry about, at the time, at least. He may not even be able to explain it, sometimes. But God knows and He can give us His wisdom to respond rightly and without sin on our end.

PRAY

Don’t forget to pray Scripture over your husband and to invite God’s healing, His Spirit, His comfort, and peace into your husband’s heart and your home. Don’t forget the power of approaching God with praises and thanksgiving. Remember, if you are in Christ, you are seated in the heavenlies with Jesus and you have His authority, Spirit, power, and love.

Strength and Dignity eCourse

I love Nina Roesner’s eCourse, “Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity.” It helps women find their bearings spiritually and heal in Christ individually and then gives tools for how to respectfully address a husband’s anger, defensiveness, and other difficult issues. And once you finish the 11-week eCourse, you get access to a private email forum where other women share and you can support each other, led by trained moderators. 

Also, Nina has an article I like called, “Got an Angry Man?”

Sacred Influence by Gary Thomas is a book that may be a blessing for wives with angry, difficult husbands, as well.

FOR THOSE WITH SERIOUS ISSUES

If you have really serious issues going on in your marriage, please seek godly, wise, experienced counsel or go to appropriate medical, spiritual, or police authorities for help. Please try to keep yourself and your children safe. And if you are abusing your husband or children and they are not safe, please reach out for help for yourself ASAP!

COUNSELING RESOURCES

What Does Scripture Say?

  • For the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. James 1:20
  • Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, Eph. 4:26
  • A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Prov. 15:1
  • Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; James 1:19
  • Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the bosom of fools. Eccl. 7:9

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If you know of some helpful resources, preferably biblically based ones, we’d love for you to share them with us!

More Resources:

Righteous Anger VS Unrighteous Anger

To Speak or Not to Speak?

6 Reasons Not to Criticize Your In-Laws

Do I Have a Spirit of Offense?

If I Insult Others, I Need a Spiritual Check-Up ASAP!

My Response to Insults Says a Lot about My Character

Is Avoiding Arguing Really Possible?

Some Conflict Is Inevitable

My posts on conflict

How Does One Handle Conflict in a Marriage? by www.gotquestions.org

A Godly Wife Confronts Her Angry Husband Respectfully

When a Husband Is Negative, Critical, or Hurtful

What Is Respect in Marriage?

Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin

What Speaks Disrespect to Husbands?

Some Things God Has Shown Me about Conflict with My Headstrong Husband – a guest post

To Trust or Not to Trust? – VIDEO

Should a Christian Wife Consider Separation?

When Would I NOT Submit to My Husband?

Prayer to Change in the Spiritual Atmosphere in Our Homes – by Radiant

Prayer for Us to Stand in the Authority of Christ – by Radiant

Where Do Hatred, Rage, and Violence Fit in Our Lives as Christians?

Do I Condone Marital Rape or Abuse?

Handling an Unwanted Divorce with Christlikeness

4 Approaches When You Think Your Husband Doesn’t Care

Healthy VS Unhealthy Relationships

A Critical Spirit VS a Godly Rebuke

What Is Gaslighting? by www.gotquestions.org Gaslighting has three main components: 1) Convincing the victim that the abuse she suffers is her fault, 2) Convincing the victim that she did not experience what she thinks she did, and 3) Separating the victim from people who support her. 

Cultivate a Spirit of Gratitude in Your Marriage

Part of a mural Greg painted when I was pregnant with our son.

I invite you to think back to some of the sweetest things your husband has ever done for you. Big things and small things. Write them down somewhere special. Then think about your husband’s strengths and anything you can imagine to be thankful for about concerning him.

It’s easy to get hung up on the little annoying things. The enemy would love for us to take that wide path to discontentment. But we will have much more joy, peace, and contentment as we focus on the blessings we have. As the saying goes, “Whatever you focus on grows.”

Maybe you’d even like to start a list in your prayer journal or in your phone. And every time you think of another good thing, you may want to add it.

Everyone will have different things. That’s okay! We don’t need to compare husbands with each other. But let’s commit to focusing on the good things we see in our own men as we seek to develop grateful hearts.

  • Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Phil. 4:8
  • Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thess. 5:18

We are at our best spiritually when we focus primarily on positive, good things about our husbands, our children, God, our homes, our bodies, ourselves, life, etc…

Much love, dear sisters!

 

Note – This doesn’t mean we ignore sin or don’t address it properly. We do need to address sin in godly, humble, respectful ways. We need others to lovingly, respectfully address sin in our lives, too. If there are very serious issues in your marriage, please reach out for experienced, godly, trustworthy help in your area, if at all possible.

Verses about Thankfulness

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How do you like to cultivate a spirit of thanksgiving in your life and marriage? <3

 

PICTURE:

When I was pregnant with our son, who is now a rising high school senior, my husband painted a beautiful mural of our town. We no longer live in that house. It was so hard to leave it! But I can still think back and appreciate the projects my husband did to show his love.
Image may contain: indoor

Is Avoiding Arguing Really Possible?

Photo by Timothy Eberly on Unsplash

We are continuing our 21 Day Fast from Negative Words and this week the focus will be on arguing. The Lord gives very clear instructions throughout the Bible that those who know, love, and follow Him are not to argue, quarrel, or fight.

Oh, and don’t forget to comment on how you are doing with the fast. Let us know if you are stuck or need some prayer or encouragement, too.

The Lord instructs all believers in Christ not to argue or quarrel.

  • Do everything without grumbling or arguing, Phil. 2:14
  • Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. Titus 3:1-2
  • Charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. 2 Tim. 2:14

Sometimes conflict is inevitable. But arguing and quarreling CAN be avoided!

We need to be able to discuss, share, inform, request, and suggest things in our relationships. We even need to be able to appropriately confront sin, at times. We need to be able to state our opinions and desires respectfully. We need to be able to have important and unimportant discussions. Thankfully, we can do all of this without arguing with God’s help, wisdom, and power.

What Does It Mean to Argue or Quarrel?

Google Dictionary gives two definitions of arguing.

  1. give reasons or cite evidence in support of an idea, action, or theory, typically with the aim of persuading others to share one’s view.
2. exchange or express diverging or opposite views, typically in a heated or angry way.
In this post, we are talking about the second definition. Or about quarreling, squabbling, bickering, or fighting. We are not to pick fights. We are not to act foolishly, only caring about trying to force our own opinion and agenda on everyone with selfish motives. We are not to try to crush other people and hurt them to prove how “right” we are about something.

What Does It Mean to Discuss Something?

Google Dictionary gives three definitions of “discussion.” Here are two that are most pertinent to our conversation today.

  1. the action or process of talking about something in order to reach a decision or to exchange ideas.
  2. a conversation or debate about a certain topic.
Note that with a discussion, there is no anger.
There is no attempt to hurt others or to “win at all costs.” It is a peaceful conversation about ideas, priorities, perspectives, and solutions. This is very freeing! We can discuss without tension at all – recognizing that the relationship is generally more important than the issue being discussed. The only time the issue is more important is if it is something about God or sin. And even then the Lord instructs us to handle those who oppose us gently and with respect, desiring the opponents to come to repentance, salvation, and right relationship with God (2 Tim. 2:25).
We can respectfully share and discuss our perspectives, ideas, desires, needs, and concerns. We don’t have to insult anyone or be rude. We don’t have to go after anyone with sinful anger, rage, hatred, or malice. We don’t have to be selfish. We can remain Spirit-filled, self-controlled, calm, and peaceful. We can treat others with honor, godly love, and respect as we act in our new nature in the Lord.
Yes, even if we disagree.

Why Do We Quarrel and Argue in Sinful Ways?

The Bible shares several reasons for the prevalence of quarreling among believers:

The Cure Is to Live in the Spirit with Love and Humility

The cure for quarreling, bickering, and fighting:

  • Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Phil. 2:3-4
  • Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Eph. 4:2
  • A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35
  • But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. Gal. 5:16
  • But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. James 1:22
  • If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, Luke 17:3

In witnessing, there are times to stop. When people don’t want to hear the Gospel and they reject it and us, we move on. This will help avoid quarrels, as well:

  • Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces. Matt. 7:6
  • And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, leave that place and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them. Mark 6:11

But how in the world do I avoid arguing in practical ways when I live with sinful people who want to argue constantly? And how to I avoid arguing when I have my own sinful nature to contend with, as well?

Some Suggestions to Prayerfully Consider

To avoid arguing, there are some disciplines and things I need to pray about:

Some Verses about Avoiding Arguing and Quarreling:

From the New Testament:

  • As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. Rom. 14:1
  • But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned. Titus 3:9-11
  • Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, 2 Tim. 2:23-24
  • But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. James 3:17

From Proverbs:

  • Do not contend with a man for no reason, when he has done you no harm. Prov. 3:30
  • A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Prov. 15:1
  • A wife’s quarreling is a continual dripping of rain. Prov. 19:13
  • It is an honor for a man to keep aloof from strife, but every fool will be quarreling. Prov. 20:3
  • A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back. Prov. 29:11
  • A man of wrath stirs up strife, and one given to anger causes much transgression. Prov. 29:22
  • Pressing anger produces strife. Prov. 30:33

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What are some things that have hit you in this post or in this series? How is your 21 day fast going? Do you need some encouragement or prayer? What has been the hardest part? Have you noticed any good fruit in your life or relationships?

Much love!

RELATED

We have been doing a 21 Day Fast from Negative Words inspired by this wife’s story. We started on Valentine’s Day and agreed that we would seek to avoid the following:

What Does It Mean to Accept Jesus As Your Personal Savior? by www.gotquestions.org

What Is Lordship Salvation? by www.gotquestions.org

Humility” by Andrew Murray

NOTE – If you are not safe, if someone is abusing you or threatening you or your children, please try to get to safety. Avoiding quarrels and arguments doesn’t mean we sit and take physical abuse or we just stay and let someone mistreat us terribly. Please reach out to proper authorities if you are not safe. Or you can contact www.thehotline.org if you are on a safe computer.

If I Insult Others, I Need a Spiritual Check Up ASAP

Photo by John-Mark Smith on Unsplash

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).

  1. To love the Lord our God with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strength.
  2. 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

Lord,

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.

Amen!

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

SHARE

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.

Much love!

RELATED

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

Much love!

If I Stop the Negative Talk – What on Earth Will I Talk about?

Photo by Courtney Clayton on Unsplash Continue reading “If I Stop the Negative Talk – What on Earth Will I Talk about?”

8 Practical Tips to Put the Brakes on Complaining

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8 Tips to Nip Complaining in the Bud

1. Replace negative thoughts with thankful ones. Think about good things.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Phil. 4:8

2. Focus on praising God in your thoughts and with songs. 

Not to us, Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness. Ps. 115:1

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Ps. 100:1-2

3. Memorize and meditate on Scripture.

I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds. Ps. 77:12

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Ps. 119:11

I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes. Ps. 119:99


4. Invite God to use the negative things in your life to help you grow in spiritual maturity, to bless others, and to bring glory to His Name.

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. Rom. 5:3-5

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

NOTE – If you are not safe. If you are in an abusive or dangerous situation, these verses don’t mean to just sit there and take abuse if you have the power to leave. We have a responsibility to get somewhere safe and to keep our children safe if there are actions we can take.


5. Avoid negative input from other people (when possible), from media, music, movies, books, etc… and replace the negative input with healthy, wholesome, Christ-honoring input that will feed my soul. 

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Rom. 12:2

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. Col. 3:2


6. Journal about my journey or have an accountability partner. 

Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Eccl. 4:12


7. Make it a group project at church, in the family, at work, in the neighborhood, with friends, or wherever.

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, Heb. 10:24


8. As soon as I mess up, I need to repent and get right back up and invite God to continue to make me more like Jesus. 

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

 

Added Bonuses When I Stop My Habit of Complaining about Every Little Thing:

  • There is more peace in my relationships.
  • I have more peace in my own heart and mind.
  • I can be closer to the Lord.
  • It’s easier for my husband to lead.
  • I have a much more powerful witness for Jesus.
  • I am more fun to be around for everyone.
  • I have more joy.
  • I am more attractive to my husband.
  • I don’t annoy myself as much.

SHARE

What tips do you have to share to help us all avoid complaining?

What bonuses have you noticed when you cut way back on a complaining spirit?

RELATED

Complaining VS Informing – We do need to be able to share important things. Thankfully, we can do that without complaining!

Other posts about complaining

If I Stop the Negative Talk – What on Earth Will I Talk about?

17 Tips to Ask for What You Desire Respectfully

I Can’t Ask for Things. I Can’t Have Needs, Desires or Emotions. – by Radiant

I Must Avoid Conflict at All Costs. That’s the Godly Thing to Do. – No! Sometimes we do need to engage in conflicts and disagreements. But, thankfully, in the power of the Holy Spirit, we can do that without sinning.

Some Conflict Is Inevitable 

I Don’t Want to Lose My Voice, My Power, or My Identity!  

Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin

Another Challenge – Let Your Yes Mean Yes and Your No Mean No – Sharing our desires vulnerably

 

How to Have a Saving Relationship with Jesus:

Of course the foundational thing – before I can do anything good – is I need to have Jesus as my Savior and Lord. I’d like to share the “ABC’s of Salvation.”

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.

  • “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

RELATED

How to Have a Saving Relationship with Christ

What Is Lordship Salvation? by www.gotquestions.org

What Is the Gospel? by www.gotquestions.org

 

Much love!

Contentment on Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is coming up, ladies! With all the pressure and expectations that come along with it.
Sometimes, we may be tempted to judge our husband’s love for us or the strength of our marriage based on if we get just the right gift. Special, costly gifts and things our husbands give us can be fun. But let’s remember that our relationship, marriage, motives, and how we treat our husbands are far more important than exactly how we celebrate on one day.

Appreciating Our Own Husbands

Our husbands show love in many ways that advertisers never portray. Everyday kinds of ways. And sometimes, heroic kinds of ways. These gestures of love are important! Probably more important, in the light of eternity, than whether they pick just the right card that we would like or whether they give us a new diamond necklace.
I’m so glad our worth as women doesn’t have to all hang on this one day!
Our worth comes from Jesus and His incredible love and sacrifice for us. Anything else is icing on the cake! Each husband has his own strengths, talents, and ways of showing love.
Thankfully, we can learn to receive love in the ways they give love.
It is amazing how much more loved we feel when we learn to see and appreciate what our men do to try to show us love. Even if it is not our favorite way of receiving love. We might discover, their ways are pretty amazing, too. They do things for us all throughout the year. Think about the kind things your particular husband does for you – and write them down.
Consciously choose to be thankful for the man you have.
In Christ, we don’t have to measure our husband’s love by whether they meet all of the standards of advertisers on TV and billboards for this day. We can be free from worldly expectations and dictates. We can choose to love, appreciate, respect, and honor our men for the ways they show love to us every day of the year. We don’t have to compare them to anyone else – real or fictional.
We get to decide whether we will set the emotional thermostat in our marriages to warm and inviting or cold and resentful. We can also learn to give love to our men in the ways that are meaningful to them.

The Most Important Thing Is Our Attitude

We can approach this day with a grateful heart and contentment.

Instead of focusing on ourselves or on our culture’s very rigid expectations for this day, I’d love to see us take some pressure off of our husbands – and ourselves. Sure, we can sweetly ask for things we would enjoy. (With a pleasant tone of voice and a smile):
  • Babe, I would really love to do X.
  • Honey, I would like a box of X chocolates for Valentine’s Day.
Let’s also ask our husbands what would be special to them. If we choose to celebrate this day, let’s make it about appreciating our unique marriage in our own unique way as a couple. Why let some strangers we don’t even know – who will financially benefit if we do what they want us to do – put demands on us or our men? And why allow some marketing executives to get us to resent our guys if they find their marketing plan unpalatable? 
 
The Most Important Ability Is Flexibility
This is my Sunday School teacher’s favorite saying. And it is so true! So if someone gets sick with the flu or finances are tight and doing something elaborate is not possible, we can be flexible. This is life sometimes. We can roll with it. God can give us the power! We don’t have to freak out or get upset. We can enjoy:
  • A homemade meal or take out at home together on the couch.
  • Making our husband’s favorite dish or dessert. Just to bless him.
  • Snuggling on the couch together.
  • Thanking our men for all they do for us and our families.
  • Sharing a few reasons we admire them.
  • Doing something fun with the kids.
  • Making homemade decorations for the supper table with the kids.
  • Taking cookies to a single mom, a pregnancy crisis center, or an elderly widow/widower.
  • A walk through the neighborhood.
  • A relaxing bath together after the kids go to bed.
  • Some time together another day if schedules don’t work out on the 14th.

Contentment IS Possible!

Paul is such an incredible example of contentment for us to follow. He was able to be content in Christ in the midst of violent persecution for his faith, imprisonment, suffering, illness, injuries, and all kinds of trials (Phil. 4:11-12). Surely, because we have the same power of Jesus in us, we can be content no matter what may happen on Valentine’s Day.
Look at the standard of contentment God has for us:
Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. 1 Tim. 6:6-8
God calls us to be content with godliness, food for the day, and clothing for the day. Wow. That is very different from the messages we receive in our culture. But it is extremely freeing!
We can respond graciously and with respect and self-control even if things don’t go the way we would really like on Valentine’s Day. We can bring joy and delight to our husbands by being understanding, patient, peaceful, joyful, considerate, and thankful for them.
With an attitude like this, we are bound to savor Valentine’s Day, and every day.
Much love!
 
SHARE
What secrets have you found to approaching Valentine’s Day in a way that is a blessing to your husband, your family, and yourself? We’d love to hear about it!
 
RELATED
Let’s Talk about Sex – links to every post I have on this subject
BOOKS

Do I Wish Harm on My Husband?

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If I cannot sincerely pray for good things for my husband and I genuinely wish him (or anyone else) harm, I should be very alarmed.
 
Malice is the desire to cause pain, injury, or distress to another. (Merriam-Webster dictionary)
 
This spirit is not of God, my precious sisters. It is of the flesh and of the enemy. It’s purpose is to steal, kill, and destroy. It speaks death, not the abundant life of Christ. It is a snare designed to keep us shackled and imprisoned. It causes us to aid the cause of hell.
 
The cure for malice is to humble myself before God and to repent to Him. I resist Satan’s lies that I am the exception to God’s Word and that it’s okay in my situation for me to hate someone and wish him harm. I resist the lie that I am an exception to God’s command for all believers to forgive others who sin against us. I yield myself to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. I seek His will, not my own. I seek His wisdom and invite Him to transform my thinking to make me more and more like Jesus. I take my thoughts captive for Christ. I die to myself and live for Him.
 
Lord,
Please forgive us for every speck of hatred, unforgiveness, bitterness, rage, violence, and malice. It is abhorrent to You. Help us to see just how poisonous they are. Forgive us for our sin, Lord! We have no excuses that will stand in Your presence. There is no good in us apart from You. Cleanse us. Wash us with the blood of Jesus and make us a Spirit-filled, holy, loving people, fit for Your kingdom and Your service.
Amen!
 
Helpful Verses:
 
  • Love does no harm to its neighbor. Rom. 13:10
  • Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Eph. 4:31-32
  • We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him. 1 John 3:14-15
 
SHARE
Has God helped you overcome malice? We’d love to hear about it. (Let’s seek to avoid sharing details of other people’s sin in what we share in a public forum. Thanks!)
Note – If you are facing really serious issues in your marriage, please seek godly, experienced counseling with someone you know you can trust. We aren’t to have malice in our hearts toward anyone, but this doesn’t mean we can trust people who are abusing us or severely sinning against us or who are not in their right minds. Sometimes, we do have to set appropriate boundaries if someone else is not willing or able to stop hurting us.
COUNSELING RESOURCES