These petitions are primarily based on Scripture and the promises of God to those who follow Jesus. The prayers themselves are not magical. The Word of God and the Spirit of God are powerful! When we pray the promises and truth of God back to Him in faith, we are praying according to His will and we open the floodgates of heaven. This is how He allows us to take part in birthing His will into our lives, our families, and this world.
If you see a few verses or thoughts that stand out to you, you could print just those on a card to remind yourself to pray throughout the day and this week.
Praying in the Authority of Jesus Christ
You Are Our Encouragement
Thank you, Jesus, that You are the lifter of our heads.
Thank You that You have plans to give us a hope and a future for us our families.
Thank You that You are pouring out an anointing of wisdom and love over our families in this new season.
You Are Our Healer and Comforter
For our families and ourselves, we confess, repent of, bind and send to the Cross all division, strife, hurt, self-effort, pride, offense, fear of man, fear of failure, critical spirits, judging, wounds, slavery, torment, perfectionism, religion, negativity, complaining, unbelief, hindrance, futile ways handed down by our fathers, forms of godliness without Your power, worldly wisdom and control.
Thank You that You are teaching us to live by faith, and not put ourselves under the law and a curse.
Thank You that You are pouring out Your healing, love and Spirit on each wound that each of us has spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically.
Thank You that You are binding us together in love by Your Spirit.
You Are for Us
Thank You that You have called each person in our families by name and they are Yours.
Thank You that He who started a good work in each of us will be faithful to complete it.
Thank You that You alone are Intercessor, the Author and perfecter of each of our faith. We give our own hearts and each family member’s hearts, destiny, past and future to You.
Thank You that Your design for marriage is to reflect Christ and the Bride. We declare that anointing over our kids, their future spouses and our marriages.
Thank You that if You are for us, who can be against us? There is no condemnation now for those of us who are in Christ Jesus!
You Are Our Freedom
Thank You that Your definition of freedom is freedom from sin and the freedom to walk in holiness and obedience to You!
Thank You that it is for freedom You set us and our families free. And if the Son sets us free, we will be free indeed.
Thank You that where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
You Are Changing Us
Thank You that You are changing the desires and delights of our hearts so that we delight in You, our Bridegroom.
Thank You that we have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer the old us who live, but the new us. We are now one with Christ, full of the Spirit, covered by His blood and made totally new with Your resurrection power!
You Are Our Rest
Thank You that You are making crooked things straight, strengthening the things that are lame.
Thank You that a bruised reed You will not break, and a smoldering wick You will not put out. You bear with us in our weakness.
Thank You that all of us who are heavy laden and weary are coming to You and You gladly give us Your supernatural rest.
Thank You that we cast our cares on You because You care for us. We remove all yokes that are not of You from us and our families in Jesus’ Name – and we take on Your light yoke, Your joy and Your presence for each of us.
You Are Our Peace
Thank You that You are our peace. You have made us and our families one, and have broken down the dividing wall of separation.
Thank You that You will reign as the Prince of Peace in our hearts and our families’ hearts today.
Thank You that no scheme of hell or man can ever separate us from Your love or pluck us from Your hand.
Thank You that You are giving us wisdom from heaven which is first of all peaceable.
Thank You that You, Yourself, promise to be our Teacher and the Teacher of our kids, and great will be our peace.
Thank You that we are each setting our minds on the things of the Spirit – which is life and peace – instead of our old way of setting our minds on worldly things that lead to death.
You Are Calling Us
Thank You that the Spirit of the Lord is on You (and now on us), because the Lord has anointed You (and Your Bride – even me) to bring good news to the poor, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, to open prison doors to those who are bound, and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
Thank You that even though the enemy has been stealing, killing and destroying many things in our lives, You came that we might have life and have it abundantly. You restore the ruins, You give restitution for what the locusts have eaten.
Thank You that those who look to You lack no good thing in light of eternity. Our faces are radiant.
You Are God with Us
Thank You that You are flooding our hearts with You, to treasure You and be full of love and grace.
Thank You that we will not bite and devour each other, but bless each other.
Thank You that You are helping us live lives that will be good places for Your Spirit to dwell and bring good fruit and fruit of the Spirit rather than barrenness or thorns.
Thank You that You are pouring out Your Spirit on all flesh — on us and our descendants.
Thank You that Your Word and Your Spirit teach us all things.
Thank You that You are giving us a beautiful crown instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit.
Thank You that we will all be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.
Thank You that You are working the qualities of the Proverbs 31 woman into me and my daughter as Your Bride.
You Are Our Victorious Warrior in Spiritual Battle
Thank You Jesus that what the enemy means for evil, You use for good.
Thank You that we will build up ancient ruins, raise up former devastations, repair ruined cities and the devastations of many generations.
Thank You that You have given us every spiritual blessing, supply, weapon and tool we need in Christ for this spiritual battle we are in. And Your Name is Victory!!
You already defeated the enemy. Now we declare Your victory over us and our families and homes.
We praise You Jesus for what You are doing and all that has shifted in the spiritual realm as we declare Your promises over us.
We give it all to You and ask for Your help for us to yield, be pliable and surrender our wills to Yours.
In the Mighty Name of Jesus and according to His perfect will,
A year ago this past week, my second book, “The Peaceful Mom,” released. I had visions of maybe being able to start doing full-time or part-time vocational ministry: blogging, speaking at women’s conferences, and doing YouTube videos.
That didn’t happen.
I mean, I did continue to blog and do videos. But after one conference in April of last year, nothing else came to fruition. And my ministry didn’t take off and soar to new heights, numerically or financially, at least.
Instead, our family has faced a very difficult year of one death after another and many trials. My online and speaking ministry seemed to almost dry up, at times. But it was a good thing that I wasn’t scheduled for a bunch of speaking engagements or writing another book. In God’s mercy, He provided a way for me to be much more available to minister to my own family – and to spend more time with Him – during our time of greatest need. I am grateful! I’m also very thankful to you all for the way you have prayed, encouraged, and loved us during so many trials over the past 9 months.
I am not where I expected or wanted to be in my life, family, or ministry.
However, my faith is stronger than ever and I continue to seek God with all my heart!
My Deepest Prayer
Last spring, during the time I spent 6 weeks away from ministry and communing with the Lord, more than me praying that I might get to do vocational ministry, I prayed for God’s will. I asked Him to transform me and make me holy and allow me to experience much more of Himself. I asked that if I was not ready for an increase in online women’s ministry, that He would shut the doors. I prayed that He might make me as fruitful as possible for His kingdom and cleanse and refine me.
I prayed for His will far above my will.
The path I thought would be mine is not mine. That is okay! As long as I am close to Jesus and on the path He has for me, I am exactly where I need and want to be. His plans are much better than mine could ever be. I trust Him! His wisdom is infinitely greater than mine. And He knows the future. I do not! I believe He is preparing me for good things.
God revealed to me, even last March, that Greg would need my support, respect, and love more than ever soon. And wow, was He right! I knew that online ministry may have to take a backseat, at times. How thankful I am that God gave me that time with Him and that closeness and some warning.
As long as I know I am with Jesus and He is with me. I am content. Peaceful. Joyful.
I have seen God do amazing things in our family spiritually, even in the midst of the painful trials we have experienced. Even in our sadness and grief. He has been answering so many of my prayers for my children and my husband. Things I have prayed for years — I am seeing them blossom. God is still good. I still trust Him completely and praise Him!
Lord, bring Yourself the most possible glory through my life. Whatever path that may be!
A New Season
God gently let me know in October of last year that I was entering a new season. I wasn’t sure what all that would mean. And then in January, He whispered to me that there were going to be new horizons opening up for Greg and me in the near future.
I have been a pharmacist for almost 24 years and was a pharmacy student/intern/technician for 3 years before I became a pharmacist. There are parts of pharmacy I really love — especially taking care of patients, getting to know them, counseling them, and trying to help find solutions that may have been missed. I care very much about each of them and long to be a blessing in every way to them. I want to always have a friendly smile for each of them and treat them with the utmost professionalism, courtesy, and respect.
But there are some parts of pharmacy that I don’t love so much. I have actually been praying about the possibility of leaving pharmacy for about 17 years.
Now, an amazing opportunity has presented itself. I have done much wrestling — even agonizing — in prayer over this during the past few weeks. I have received many confirmations to my prayers. And, of course, Greg has given his full leadership, support, and blessing.
I have decided to take a job with my parents’ and brother’s company.
They do bulk mailing, website design, printing, fulfillment, book printing, and graphic design. They have about 30 employees now and I have known many of them for ten-fifteen years or more. My dad stepped down from the position of president in January and my younger brother is now the president. My mom and dad are still there working full-time.
I sit at the reception desk to interact with people who come in and direct phone calls — which I love. I will spend the bulk of my time using my writing skills to help write website content, work with customers, and do some editing for the company’s website and for customers. I am also helping with some of the book work and financial things. I will be gaining more and more responsibilities over the coming months. There is a lot of room for me to grow my skill set and spread my wings with new opportunities.
I’m super thrilled that I am going to learn a lot about managing websites. Can’t wait to see what I get to learn! I believe God is going to equip me to be able to do a better job on my own ministry websites through what I learn on my new job. How amazing is that!?! This is an area where I don’t know much and where I really want to grow in my understanding.
I am working full-time this week at my new job and only have 3 hours left to work in pharmacy. My plan, at this time, is to essentially retire from pharmacy.
Change Is Hard
In some ways, it is sad to leave pharmacy. It’s hard to leave so many patients and coworkers I have grown close to. Some of them don’t want to see me go. Several patients cried when I told them goodbye last week. And I cried, too.
It’s also scary to make a big change and to face so many unknowns in a huge career switch like this. I definitely had some major fears to pray through and important questions to hash through with the Lord — especially the night after I turned in my two week notice in the pharmacy — until about 3 in the morning. I took my major anxiety to God and the fear that was overwhelming me. He calmed every fear and spoke so sweetly to my soul. He gently showed me His answer to every fear. I’m so thankful.
I am very grateful for the opportunities I have had in pharmacy.
I did much praying about what career to choose when I was in high school and I believe that God was leading me in the decision to choose pharmacy all those years ago. I have seen God use me in pharmacy to be a blessing to many people over these past few decades. I’m sure it may sound crazy to leave pharmacy for something else. Especially after so many years in this field. But I believe it is now time. The timing also worked out just right with what is going on with Greg and our kids and what my family’s business needs.
I’m very excited to get to spend more time with my parents and brother — all of whom I love and respect greatly. I can’t wait to connect with all of my new customers and coworkers. I am thrilled to see all that God has in store in this “new season” for our family and for me. I want so much to be a blessing to everyone at my new job and to represent my family and their business well.
We have seen in recent months how short life is. I want to make the most of our time together as a family with my parents and brother and also with Greg and our children. I’m also excited to use my writing skills and to spread my wings a bit and do some challenging, new things. I’ve got four days at my new job under my belt and feel right at home there. I can’t wait to really get to dig into all of my new responsibilities.
I am at peace.
The biggest adjustment will be that I am increasing my work hours quite a bit from about 11 hours per week to 32 hours per week during the school year and 25 hours per week in the summer. So I need to carefully order my priorities as the Lord leads me and things may have to look different in several areas of my life with these changes. I’ll definitely need to be much more careful with time management. And our children will be taking on more responsibilities with chores and maybe even grocery shopping — which will help prepare them to be mature, responsible adults, as well.
Another Job Recently
I also have been painting almost the entire inside of Greg’s parents’ house — agreeable gray. I have almost finished 12 rooms. Just two rooms need to be trimmed and I will be done. Apparently, agreeable gray is one of the most popular colors in the housing market right now. It really does look beautiful. Greg is starting on replacing about 700 square feet of old carpet with new vinyl planking. I think it will be gorgeous! We hope to put the house on the market soon.
We have had several new waves of grief, all of us, as we have cleared Greg’s parents’ house out and as we get ready to put their house on the market. Some of this grief stuff is tough! I’m sure many of you are all too familiar with how hard it can be.
It is sad to be in Greg’s parents house. It doesn’t feel like their house anymore. Everything is empty and strange. Even so, I do love to see the house being transformed and ready for a future family to enjoy. There is something amazing about fixing up a house and getting it looking its best. We have spent years doing renovations on the three houses we have lived in since we got married – always with Greg’s dad helping us on almost every project. So we are used to this kind of thing. We learned from one of the best teachers! I am already praying that this house — and all of that agreeable gray — will be a huge blessing to the new buyers and that God will bring just the right family to live there.
We will be selling his parents’ rent house, too, soon. But I don’t plan to paint that house! I think I’ll let someone else handle that job. We’ve also been dealing with quite a lot of illness with one of our children over the past 2 months that has kept us on our toes and on our knees.
So things have been a tad bit crazy lately!
Counting Trials As Joy
I’m so thankful God is with us and working in and through us and all of the circumstances for His glory. What a blessing to know this and to be able to hold onto all of His Word and promises.
It’s a priceless gift to know that we, as believers in Christ, can count every trial as joy (James 1:2-4) as we invite God to use each one to help us grow and to bring about fruit in His kingdom. This doesn’t mean we don’t grieve and feel sad. We do. We have to allow ourselves the time and space to feel and express our grief. We can’t stuff it or ignore it. We feel it. We hash through it. We take it to God and invite Him to heal, carry, and comfort us in the midst of our sorrows and trials. He is with us. He never leaves us or forsakes us. And He is able to use all things — good and bad — for His ultimate glory and our ultimate good to conform us to the image of Christ. (Rom. 8:28-29)
The comfort God gives us is comfort we can then extend to others who are hurting.
I have had many opportunities — especially in the past year — to practice the principles God has been teaching me over the last 10 years that I have compiled in the books, “The Peaceful Wife,” and in, “The Peaceful Mom.” If nothing else, His wisdom has greatly blessed my family and me during our times of suffering over the past year. I am thankful beyond words for all that God has done for us — and for the chance to write those books and this blog to share the treasures of Jesus with y’all.
Please Pray for Me!
As I adjust to the new schedule over the next few weeks, I will continue, as always, to invite God to show me what direction He would like me to take with ministry. If you would also pray for God’s wisdom and leading for me about ministry things, it would be such a gift! I still have a huge heart for women and long to be useful to the Lord to make an impact for His kingdom in His way and through His power. Also, if you would also please pray for God’s continued healing for all of us in our grief, that would be amazing.
More than anything, I want to be where God wants me to be — close to His heart. I want to be faithful and obedient to His calling on my life. I want Him to make me more and more like Jesus. I want to see His will be done and His kingdom come in my life, family, and ministry — whatever that means in God’s eyes and whatever it may cost me. I want more of Him!
Thank you all for your encouragement, love, and support!
A guest post by one of my readers, Cheryl. I’m so thankful she is willing to share some of the things she has learned on the tough road she and her husband and family have shared. Honestly, they are pearls of wisdom for all of us!
As we sat in our car in the medical parking lot, somewhat numb and in shock, we wondered what God was doing. We had just been told our 7 month-old son had Lissencephaly. We had no idea what to expect. Married just under 3 years, we had already experienced the birth of our first-born son, the still-born birth of his twin brother, and numerous hospital stays – all before our first anniversary.
Now what was God doing? Didn’t He know we couldn’t do this?
What about our hopes, our dreams? What now? So many questions and no answers, except to trust the One who knew them. We had vowed we would stay together and persevere, no matter what life brought our way. It is this commitment and a gracious, merciful and faithful God that has carried us through.
Fast forward five years and our family now consisted of four boys; our youngest, also diagnosed with Lissencephaly. Our lives revolved around therapies, IEP’s, school and government paperwork, doctor’s appointments and seizure management – along with work, school and church activities. We did our best to keep up, to be the best parents we could be to all our sons. And, life went on.
Our marriage often took a back seat.
Although we did attend a few marriage conferences and took a few weekend getaways and short vacations, bitterness, anger and isolation was creeping in, unseen, ignored and left to grow. What I started realizing around 23 years of marriage, was that I had baggage that needed to be addressed. I had bitterness. I had attitudes that needed adjusting and a heart that needed to be changed. A lot of pain and subsequent consequences could’ve been avoided had I chosen to heed the early warning signs.
With this in mind, may I share with you some of the lessons God has been teaching me the past couple of years while in His loving refining room?
Abiding in Christ: Growth, peace and contentment in my personal life and marriage begins and ends with abiding in Christ. “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5. This means staying close to my Shepherd, getting to know Him, loving Him, trusting Him, obeying Him.
Obedience: I am learning that my obedience and yielding to Christ, or lack there-of, affects not only my ability to know Him, to hear His voice, to see His work in my life and to be used by Him, but also affects my relationships, my marriage, my attitudes, my peace of mind and my heart. In the midst of all the demands and responsibilities that come along with being a mom of boys with special needs, I oftentimes put obeying God on the back burner. I neglected my time with Him. I didn’t guard my heart, my words, my thoughts, or my actions – especially in my marriage. I took my marriage and husband for granted, failing to realize the gradual erosion taking place.
Address Issues Early: Looking back, I wish my husband and I would’ve worked through our baggage, couple issues, and differences in the early years of our marriage. Although, it would’ve been difficult finding childcare (as is often the case due to high medical needs and challenges), and expensive to see a counselor, we probably would’ve avoided pain and pitfalls down the road.
Thankfulness: God is teaching me that a thankful heart and attitude keeps bitterness and a sour attitude from nesting in my heart. If I keep fixated on what my boys can’t do, what they are missing out on, and what my husband and I are missing out on, then, not only do I grow bitter, but, I can become depressed and lose hope. Finding reasons to thank God each day helps me keep an eternal perspective, see God’s blessings in our lives and helps keep me abiding in Him.
Mentors:This can be a lonely and isolating life. I’ve learned that the Christian life isn’t meant to be either. We need Christian mentors in our lives; older, wiser women as well as older, more experienced couples. It’s hard to reach out and invest the time and energy necessary for close friendships amid all the on-going responsibilities that come with the special needs territory, but it is well worth it! Years ago, God brought an older, wiser woman of God into my life who has walked with me through many seasons, mountaintops and valleys, joys and sorrows. She offers encouragement, a listening ear, wisdom, truth and perspective. My husband and I are also in a couple’s small group Bible study. Getting there isn’t always easy or convenient and requires sacrifice on our part; but, we receive encouragement and accountability in our marriage, and the opportunity to encourage and minister to other couples.
Reaching Out in Ministry: God is helping me to reach out and use my gifts to help others. This is a toughie as we SN (special needs) moms just don’t have a lot of extra time to devote to long-term, even short-term ministry. For many years, I was involved in music ministry. It worked well as it was flexible and allowed me the opportunities to use my gifts and talents for the kingdom. God has changed my direction somewhat the past few years, stretching me in undeveloped areas and giving me many smaller opportunities to serve others. I’m learning to look for these opportunities daily and though they are often small acts, others are encouraged and blessed, and so am I.
God’s Word/Hope: God’s Word, His truths and promises, sustain me and help keep my eyes on Him. Meditating on and memorizing Scripture is not an easy discipline for me, but the verses I’ve learned are readily available when I need them the most. Lately, these two verses on hope have really encouraged me.
“[Now] we have this [hope] as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul [it cannot slip and it cannot break down under whoever steps out upon it–a hope] that reaches farther and enters into [the very certainty of the Presence] within the veil.” Hebrews 6:19 AMPC
“Now may God, the inspiration and fountain of hope, fill you to overflowing with uncontainable joy and perfect peace as you trust in him. And may the power of the Holy Spirit continually surround your life with his super-abundance until you radiate with hope!” Romans 15:13 TPT
We praise You as Creator. You formed us and knit us together just the way You wanted. We are fearfully and wonderfully made! Forgive us for our impatience, selfishness and reluctance to trust You. We pray for strength and stamina through sleepless nights and long days. Give us friends who can encourage us and give us relief when our nerves are frayed. And, give us hope when everything seems dark. We look forward to the great reward of someday seeing our special children, specially perfect!
What struggles and trials have you gone through in your marriage, family, career, or life that has brought about a harvest of godly wisdom you feel led to share with us?
Or do you simply need some encouragement and prayer today to help you in the midst of your current trial? Let us know so we can pray with you.
Also, if you have a testimony you’d like to share for a post on any topic, I’d love to read it. I’m looking for women’s stories about things God has taught them and how God has changed and healed them through Christ. I prefer articles about 1000-1500 words in length. You may send them to me on my contact page. I’d love to have some guest posts to share especially for the month of April.
A guest post by a sister in Christ who has had a very, very difficult life. I’m excited about what the Lord is doing in her life! Please pray with me for His continued total spiritual healing for her heart, mind, and soul:
Without me realizing it, I prayed out of a lot of unbelief and distrust – unwittingly attributing characteristics to God that were that of my father and other authority figures who had been unjust or untrustworthy. There were many such figures in my life which made it hard to think from any other basis.
Additionally, because I had cried out to God during an abuse incident and did not hear any response from God nor witness any rescue come to pass soon after, I really didn’t trust God or think He could be relied upon to do anything about things that were of great concern to me. So I would pray from a place of doubt and mistrust with my feelings as the indicator as to what was, or was not God’s response.
I did not base my understanding of God on scripture but on my feelings which I trusted more. I regarded Christians who would insist on putting aside my feelings in favor of scripture as nuts, self-righteous Pharisees, and totally insensitive. And some of them did, indeed, fit that bill. They were in such a rush to offer the solution that they acted as if my wounds were inconsequential. And from my end, I was so hurt and felt so sorry for myself in the face of abuse and injustice that I was just not ready to value truth more than feelings or seek for anything beyond healing.
Consequently my relationship with God was often an arm wrestling match, with me trying to persuade an unwilling God to do what I needed or hoped He would or ought to do.
I saw God through the lens of my father who was very unwilling to do anything for me or to meet my needs, and whose stance towards me was one of devaluation and contempt. Dad despised women and had a very idolatrous relationship towards them; he saw women as withholding, manipulative, and whiny users and entrappers, which affected his attitude towards me. He was also a sex addict and so our home included some violation and being aware of things we ought not to have been exposed to.
As a result, my needs and feelings were invalidated and I often had to “prove” that what I wanted, needed, or felt was valid by arguing for it convincingly like some trial lawyer. I won mercy by extreme submissiveness and even prostrating myself, as if before a king with the power of life and death.
That our lives were full of drama is an understatement.
His judgements of me were always negative and tainted by his own deep bitterness, hatred, and unforgiveness of his mother. The result of all of this was a sort of idolatrous interpretative bias in my own heart as I struggled to come out from under all the nasty stuff my father had transferred onto me from his undealt with issues. And I had my own hurt and reaction to it and to feeling unloved and unwanted. I think that our reactions to such things are a combination of being sinned against and sinful responses which would of course include a sort of idolatry as our lives become about seeking what was denied us.
This can also result in anger at God who surely must have been a party to the whole thing, insofar as we might see things at the time they occurred and without any understanding of what God has already done in response to evil. Our focus in this head space is usually life in this world in the here and now and wanting to be happy. We are often unaware of God’s perspective being eternal and about right relationship with Him as the source of all life and joy. This makes it hard to grasp a larger picture.
So my prayer life and the lens of my heart was tainted by these things so that I was, in effect, praying to a version of God mixed with my father.
The idea that God was a loving and just Father did not compute for me and I found the idea revolting. One day, I decided to disregard my feelings and stand on what scripture said as a higher authority. I always felt filthy and unforgiven so I decided to stand on 1 John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness – and believe that.
That little decision turned out to make a huge difference, and suddenly it seemed that the universe swung around and snapped into precise order and I was able to see clearly.
I realized at that moment that God was not obligated to respond to me if I continued to pray to Him as something He was not, rather than praying to Him according to the truth of who He was.
Hebrews 11:6 New King James Version (NKJV) says:
But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
And James 1:5-7 says
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. 8A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
I definitely needed my prayer life corrected and redirected by scripture and still do; praying by our emotions which tend to reinforce themselves, usually leads to a wilderness and brings despair and hopelessness as it tends to go in an ever tightening and defeating downward spiral.
Note from Peaceful Wife –
This dynamic with this dear sister’s dysfunctional relationship with her dad impacting her understanding of God is very common. We tend to assume that God is just like our earthly fathers and we have to be sure we separate the failings of our earthly fathers from our understanding of who God really is. We all need healing to some degree in this area, because none of us had perfect fathers.
We can’t trust God if we have a warped, jaded picture of who He is, if we think He is evil and out to get us. So often, we end up getting Satan and God switched up in our minds. Not purposely, but we tend to attribute the evil attributes of Satan to God. It would be terrible to trust such a one.
If you would like to share your own skewed views of God and how that hurt your faith, you are welcome to. And if you want to share how you learned to reject the lies and receive God’s truth, we would love to hear that, as well. Or if you need prayer, you are welcome to share that here.
I, (Peaceful Wife), will be handling the comments, not the author of the post.
** If you experienced severe trauma or abuse from your father, parents, an authority figure, someone in the church, or anyone else, please reach out for experienced, trustworthy, godly counsel – and to the Lord – to help you heal. And if you are not safe now, please reach out to the authorities if you can safely do so.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline Call 800-799-SAFE (7233). Staff is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Get information in more than 170 languages. You will hear a recording and may have to wait for a short time. Hotline staff offer safety planning and crisis help.
First of all, if you have decided to walk on this road, I am thrilled that you want to allow the Lord to change you and you want to become the woman and wife God calls you to be. This is not an easy journey. It is a narrow, lonely path and very few find it. But God’s path is the most wonderful place to be in all the world – full of the presence of God, the glory of God, and spiritual treasures and blessings in Christ.
Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work. 2 Tim. 2:21
Many times, we wives (especially us Type A personalities, like me), throw ourselves into trying to completely change everything in our lives all at once. We expect ourselves to be able to master these new ways of thinking, speaking, and acting in a few hours or a few days. We are sincere about wanting the Lord to change us. And… we really want our husbands to be supportive as we change.
One thing I have noticed is that most husbands remain skeptical about the changes their wives make on this journey for quite some time – whether they are believers or not. That seems to be a pretty common pattern. I have seen one husband who was super supportive immediately and who made his wife breakfast in bed the next day after she apologized for her disrespect. But most of the time, husbands are confused and concerned about the sudden changes they see. Even good changes can seem scary to someone who isn’t sure what is going on.
If you have a history of months, years, or decades of acting one way, and now you are seeking to allow God to change you, that is awesome! And I want to encourage you to keep going and to press on, allowing God to do all He wants to do in your heart and life. I am right here, cheering you on, praying for you, and rooting for you with all my heart!
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Phil. 1:6
But let’s stop and try to see from a husband’s perspective in this situation. They do have legitimate concerns, many times. Just like a wife may have concerns if her husband suddenly changes abruptly after years or decades of acting in certain ways.
The truth is, it generally takes time for people to have total heart change.
People can put on a front for a while. But not many people actually have a total heart and life change that lasts.
If you have been married any length of time, and you have a personality much like mine, you have probably read a lot of marriage books and tried many new approaches in the past. Your husband may assume that this is just “another one of those phases.” He may think that this is another attempt at manipulating him. Or that it is a fad that will fade in a few weeks. So he may not get on board right away and cheer for the good new things you are doing. He may be afraid that if he doesn’t respond the way you want him to, that you will get really upset. Change can be super scary for husbands. Even good change. They aren’t sure yet why you are making these changes and if it really will be as good as it seems.
He wants to see that what is happening is for real.
And the only thing that will convince most husbands that this kind of change is real – is that they see it consistently over a significant period of time. Like many – months or even years.
I haven’t ever come across a woman, in my 7 years of ministry, who suddenly and completely changes in an instant. I sure didn’t. It took me over 3 years to begin to feel like I had any clue what I was doing. And I was studying and praying 3-5 hours per day almost 7 days per week that entire 3 years. It was another year or two after that before it all began to really feel like the new me. And I am still learning every day, after 10 years on this journey, and will be for the rest of my life!
Besides that, your husband has his own journey to make, too. And his timing may be different from yours. God can reach him all the more as you get out of God’s way and as you cooperate with the Lord in becoming the woman and wife He calls you to be. That will make it easier for your husband to hear God’s voice to him. Don’t worry. He will have a lot of changing to do, too. God will handle that.
This Journey Is Completely Life-Changing
This journey is more like a baby learning to walk than it is like flipping a light switch. Or it is like learning a brand new language that is foreign to us. We don’t go from infant to being able to walk in a day or even a month. And we don’t suddenly become fluent in a foreign language in a few hours or a few weeks. Or even a year.
What God is calling us to is radical.
He wants us to give up our old fixed beliefs about God, other people, and ourselves. He wants us to unlearn all of the brainwashing and indoctrination we have received from our culture, our sinful natures, and the enemy for decades. He wants us to crucify our sinful natures with Jesus on the cross and receive His Spirit. He wants to shine His blazing Light into the darkest, most wounded areas of our hearts and minds and get rid of anything toxic and bring total healing. He wants us to rebuild our lives completely on His Word and His truth alone.
He wants total sanctification.
This is not a matter of a house that just needs to be painted on the inside and have new curtains hung in the windows.
What God wants to do is raze the old house and rebuild from scratch.
Positionally, I am sanctified in God’s eyes. I am cleansed by the blood of Jesus. I have received all of Jesus’ righteousness and holiness into my account. He completely paid my sin debt in full. When God looks at me, He sees Jesus and His holiness and goodness! How amazing is that!?!?
The process of experiential or progressive sanctification lasts our entire lives on this planet. There is always so much more to learn, so much more to comprehend. There is always more growing to do in our faith and so many more spiritual treasures to discover in Jesus.
Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thess. 5:23
What Do I Do If My Husband Stays Skeptical for a Long Time?
My precious sister, you just keep doing what God calls you to do. Until He calls you home to heaven.
Be patient with your husband’s skepticism. Realize that he does have a point – that people don’t generally change 180 degrees in an instant. And use this time where your husband may not be super supportive to let God refine your motives. If your motives are that you want your husband to change, you won’t be able to hold on for months with a skeptical husband. When you find you are disappointed in your husband’s lack of support, let that be a reminder that you want your motives to be simply to please and honor the Lord. Change for Jesus.
If your husband hasn’t experienced the transforming power of God, himself, or he hasn’t seen it before, he may not realize that it is even possible for people to dramatically change by the power of Jesus. So you have an incredible opportunity to be that example.
Note to any husbands who may be reading – The more supportive and encouraging you can be toward your wife who wants to become a more godly wife, the easier it will be for her to make these changes!
I can remember feeling discouraged many times in the first 3 years, especially, of my journey. I had no clue what I was doing. No mentor. No one to help me navigate this seeming minefield but God, my journals, and over 30 books. I would get frustrated that Greg didn’t seem to be changing or didn’t seem to be as supportive as I wanted him to be.
In those moments, God would gently speak to my heart, “April, why are you doing this? Are you changing so that you can control Greg and make him do what you want him to do for you? Are you doing this so that you feel more loved by Greg? Or are you changing for Me?”
Then I would redirect my motives and focus to the Lord and keep on trusting Him and inviting Him to change me.
Be patient with yourself. You are human. This is a difficult journey that very few women make, especially today in our culture. None of us will be completely perfect until heaven. We need to give ourselves much grace – and our husbands, too. But we can allow God to help us grow. We can allow Him access to our souls and minds. We can determine to yield to His leading and trust Him to give us the light we need for each little baby step. We can trust Him with the outcomes. We can allow Him to give us the power we need to walk in holiness and obedience. We can rest in Him and allow Him to restore our souls and to be our Good Shepherd.
Note to Wives with Severe Marriage Issues:
If there are any uncontrolled mental health issues, active addictions, lots of secrecy about money/time/other contacts, adultery, abuse, or other serious problems going on in your marriage, please reach out to a trusted, experienced, godly counselor for help one-on-one – preferably in person. You are probably going to need additional support, prayer, and wisdom. If you are not safe, please try to get yourself and your children somewhere safe. Involve the authorities if you need to.
PRAY WITH ME
Walking the narrow path of Yours is tricky. And lonely. And sometimes we feel like no one else is with us but You. Encourage those of us who are discouraged today. Help us keep our focus on You and all that You want to do in and through us. Help us decide to follow and obey You no matter what. Help us yield to Your Lordship and to the power of Your Spirit to give us the supernatural ability to do all that You ask us to do. We can’t do this on our own. Help us to set our faces like flint to follow You and to seek to please You far above anything else. Help us to see that You are truly the Greatest Treasure there is. Refine and purify our motives and make us more and more like Jesus for Your glory. Let us set godly examples for our husbands, children, and everyone else around us by Your power working in and through us.
If you have been on this journey for awhile and you’d like to share how your husband responded when you first began to ask God to change you, we’d love to hear about your experience!
If you are just starting out and you need some encouragement or prayer, please let us know.
If you are a husband and you have masculine insights to share to help us better understand our men, we’d love to hear that, as well.
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
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.
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.
the action or process of talking about something in order to reach a decision or to exchange ideas.
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:
I need to remember that the way I treat others is a tangible indicator of my love for the Lord (Matt. 25:31-46). The way I treat others – and my obedience to Christ – is almost always more important than the issue at hand or the decision that needs to be made. Unless the other person is trying to coerce me into sin.
I can avoid raising my voice, using a hateful tone of voice, or aggressive/angry body language.
I can seek to avoid making negative assumptions about other people’s motives and intentions. I can try, as much as possible, to assume the best and believe people’s words at face value, unless I have clear evidence that someone does have evil intentions.
I can approach discussions with great humility. Recognizing that God’s wisdom is infinitely superior to any human wisdom and that others may have wisdom and important insights to share that help me understand a situation better.
I can seek to use my words to bless, edify, build up others and speak life.
I can seek to accomplish God’s purposes of loving Him and loving others.
I can invite God to empower me to model a holy example in the way I speak and conduct myself that will draw others toward Jesus and that will shine for Christ.
I can seek first to understand other people’s perspectives.
I am called to overcome evil with good (Rom. 12:17-21), to love my enemies, and to pray for those who mistreat me (Matt. 5:44).
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
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
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?
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.
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!
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
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).
To love the Lord our God with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strength.
To love others as we love ourselves – with God’s agape love.
Here is the kind of love God calls us to have for others.
It is a divine love that we can only have through the Holy Spirit:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. 1 Cor. 13:4-8
And God calls us to live by the power of the Spirit not by the power of our sinful flesh:You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. Gal. 5:13-15
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Gal. 5:22-26
Why Do I Want to Insult Others?
Maybe it could be helpful for me to think about why I feel compelled to insult other people, if this is a struggle for me. Once I see why I am doing this, then I can invite God to help me address the root sin issues so I can repent and stop living this way and start living in ways that honor the Lord.
Do I 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.
Or is there some other reason behind my hurtful words?
Pray with Me
We invite You to illuminate our hearts, minds, motives, and deepest thoughts. Please expose any sin in the dark corners of our souls. Shine Your blazing Light of truth and love in every nook and cranny. Help us to see toxic ways of thinking and help us to repent so that we can be made right with You and we can be healed by the power of the blood of Jesus. Then please show us how to seek to repent to those we have hurt and to try to make things right and to live Your new way from now on. Help us to treat others with Your love, honor, and respect. That is how we show our love for You. However we treat people – You take that as how we treat You.
Verses about Insults
Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses. Prov. 10:12
(Note, this doesn’t mean we never confront sin. But we don’t go telling everyone about it. We handle it rightly. And we realize some things are so insignificant, we can pass over them.)
Whoever shows contempt for his neighbor lacks sense,but a person with understanding keeps silent. Prov. 11:12
Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense. Prov. 19:11
Don’t let your spirit rush to be angry, for anger abides in the heart of fools. Eccl. 7:9
But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. Matt. 5:22
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” Matt. 5:43-45
And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. Mark 11:25
And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. Luke 6:31
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rom. 12:14
Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Rom. 12:17-21
In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry. Eph. 4:26
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Eph. 4:29
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Eph. 4:32
To speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. Titus 3:2
When he (Jesus) was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. 1 Pet. 2:23
What are some things you have learned about why you have been tempted to insult people in the past? We’d love to hear any wisdom the Lord has given you about overcoming the habit of using hurtful words.
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
Unfortunately, we will all be the targets of insults, at one time or another. Even Jesus faced intense criticism, insults, and terrible persecution. And He was God! He was completely perfect. And yet, so many people hated Him.
It hurts deeply to feel misunderstood, wrongly accused, berated, or verbally attacked.
Our knee-jerk response when we feel insulted is to get defensive. Or to go on an all-out offensive attack at the person who insulted or criticized us.
This topic could easily fill many books. This post is not a comprehensive guide to exactly what to do in every possible situation. It is a general overview. We will need the Word and God’s Spirit to give us the wisdom we need in individual scenarios.
There are two primary ways we can respond to insults for believers in Christ. The flesh or the Spirit.
Yes, it is very tempting to lash out and launch a swift “nuclear attack” when we feel insulted.
But what does it accomplish – other than to add to the emotional and spiritual carnage? And it separates us from fellowship with the Lord because it grieves the Holy Spirit.
What if there is a better way to respond? A way that honors the Lord and keeps from escalating the situation – as far as it depends on us? That is what I want to talk about together today.
What Is the Source?
I think it is important to remember what Jesus said about the source of what comes out of people’s mouths.
“Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit.You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matt. 12:33-37
It is super helpful to remember that what a person says reveals what is in that person’s heart. It really isn’t necessarily about me at all.
I need to avoid making the mistake of thinking that what people say must reflect me or be about me – or that what they say must be true automatically.
What people say is primarily about them. It is about their motives, hearts, and issues. It is about who is in control of their lives – the sinful nature or the Holy Spirit.
Some people are walking around all filled up with the sinful nature. When they get pressured by relationships or trials, the nastiness that is inside them comes spewing out all over whoever is around them.
Other people are walking around all filled up with the Holy Spirit. When they get pressured by relationships or trials, the fruit of the Spirit is what gushes out of them all over whoever is around them..
So I don’t have to take everything that other people say personally. This is so freeing!
I need to carefully weigh what people say vs. what God says. If the person’s words contain a godly rebuke, even if it wasn’t thoughtfully presented, then I can humbly receive that part and repent for any sin in my life or any wrong doing on my part. I can take anything constructive from what was said and invite God to use it to help me grow. But if the person’s words are not true, if they are not constructive, or if their words are from the enemy, I don’t need to absorb them.
Who is speaking?
I want to consider who is speaking the words. Is it a spiritually mature believer in Christ whom I trust and who loves me and wants God’s best for me? Is he/she attempting to give me a godly rebuke or constructive criticism that maybe I need to hear? Am I hearing this person accurately or am I misunderstanding something or assuming negative motives where there aren’t any? Do the person’s words align with the Bible?
Or is this person someone who is far from the Lord, as far as I know, and who has a lifestyle of insulting almost everyone? Is this someone Proverbs would classify as “a fool“? An unbeliever may speak some truth to me that I need to take to heart. But I want to be a lot more cautious about receiving words from someone acting in the flesh.
If I respond in the flesh to an insult by immediately vigorously defending myself to try to “make the other person understand” and make them change their minds about me, or if I respond by attacking the other person, I will often only pour gasoline on the fire. I can escalate the situation into a much worse situation with greater tension and greater wounds on both sides.
Godly responses to insults:
Restraint and self control. (Gal. 5:22-23)
Respect and honor for God, for the other person, and for self. (1 John 4:20)
Patience and understanding if the other person is deeply wounded or may have significant spiritual, emotional, physical or other kinds of problems, realizing the person is not okay and the insult is probably a symptom of their spiritual or physical condition. (Gal. 5:22-23)
Attempt to clear up any misunderstanding if there was one.
Diffuse the situation with appropriate humor – in certain situations.
Avoid assuming the absolute worst about the other person’s intentions without clear evidence.
Repent for any sin I have committed against the other person. (Matt. 5:23-24)
Sometimes ignoring it is the wisest thing to do, especially if the person is someone who is foolish or a scoffer and clearly just looking for a fight or is so prideful he/she is not open to listening to anyone else’s perspective. (Prov. 12:16)
Other times, addressing the underlying issue in the person’s heart, not the insult, itself, may be wise. (Prov. 26:5)
Bless the person. (Luke 6:28)
Recognize this may be an opportunity to witness, to share the gospel, and/or to shine for Christ. (2 Tim. 2:24-25)
Realize the real enemy is not the person but a spiritual enemy. I need to fight the real enemy with spiritual weapons. (Eph. 6:12)
Pray for God to work powerfully in the life of anyone who mistreats me, that they would come to know Jesus as Savior and Lord and that they would be regenerated and conformed to the image of Christ for God’s glory. (Luke 6:28)
Without a spirit of fear but with a spirit of love, power, and a sound mind. (Deut. 31:6, 2 Tim. 1:7)
Sometimes humbly, respectfully confronting the sin – after I have dealt with any sin in my own life) is the best approach, if the person is sinning against me – especially if the person is a believer. (Matt. 7:1-5, Matt. 18:15-17)
Draw appropriate boundaries if someone continues on in unrepentant sin and is very toxic spiritually/emotionally. There are times when we warn someone once or twice and then need to have nothing to do with that person if they continue on sinning in certain sins (2 Tim. 3:1-5, Titus 3:10)
Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, James 1:19
From a Reader:
When offended we must be calm and be slow to speak. And ask God to help us to not be offended. It’s our response to the insult that matters most. I really dealt hard with feeling like I was offended. Someone may joke or I may have taken what they said the wrong way. What God showed me is my response with gentleness and kindness, regardless of how I felt, is what matters most. I found out that when not responding negatively, the outcome has (often) been peace, and less arguments. Feeling offended led me to give mean, angry responses that were only damaging the person and myself. I was under conviction and now I feel so much better when I don’t react in the flesh.
What Does God Say about How I Should Respond to Insults?
Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you. Deut. 31:6
The one who corrects a mocker will bring abuse on himself; the one who rebukes the wicked will get hurt. Don’t rebuke a mocker, or he will hate you; rebuke the wise, and he will love you. Prov. 9:7-8
A fool’s displeasure is known at once,but whoever ignores an insult is sensible. Prov. 12:16
Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly. Prov. 14:29
A fool’s mouth is his ruin, and his lips are a snare to his soul. Prov. 18:7
Do not say, “I will repay evil”; wait for the Lord, and he will deliver you. Prov. 20:22
Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes. Prov. 26:4-5 (Meaning – don’t stoop to a fool’s level and react in the flesh. But you may need to wisely answer to keep him from becoming more conceited.)
Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Luke 6:28
If I Am Insulted for My Faith in Christ
Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 1 Tim. 3:12
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. 1 Pet. 4:12-14
I want to see us respond to insults without fear, without pride, without a spirit of offense, without bitterness or resentment, and without lashing out and hurting others. I want to see us respond in the power of the Spirit and with the mind and heart of Christ!
Those unbelievers who insult us may be future brothers and sisters in Christ! God may desire us to help pray them into His Kingdom. They are people Jesus loves and for whom He died.
In the next post, we will talk about avoiding insulting others.
What wisdom have you learned about responding well to insults? We’d love to hear about it. What are your thoughts on today’s post? And how is your 21 day fast from negative words going? It’s not too late to start if you would like!
This week, we are diving into the topic of insults. I want to cover some important issues like:
What is an insult? And what is not an insult?
How can we avoid insulting others?
How can we respond wisely to insults?
How God can use what people intend for evil against us for His good purposes?
Today, let’s talk about what an insult is – and what it is not.
What Is an Insult?
transitive verb – to treat with insolence, indignity, or contempt : AFFRONT also: to affect offensively or damagingly
noun – a gross indignity
synonyms – OFFEND, OUTRAGE, AFFRONT, INSULT mean to cause hurt feelings or deep resentment. OFFEND need not imply an intentional hurting but it may indicate merely a violation of the victim’s sense of what is proper or fitting.OUTRAGE implies offending beyond endurance and calling forth extreme feelings.AFFRONT implies treating with deliberate rudeness or contemptuous indifference to courtesy. INSULT suggests deliberately causing humiliation, hurt pride, or shame.
From a Few of My Amazing Readers:
An insult is something that may or may not be true, and is said with the intent to harm or discourage the receiver. Constructive criticism is something that also may or may not be true, but it said with the intent to encourage the receiver to take the comment to God to determine whether changes truly need to be made.
It takes courage to speak truth in love. If something is said to insult or be nasty there’s no courage in that, there’s no empathy or concern how the word will affect the other person. That’s the main way I know how to tell the difference.
My first thought is that an insult is meant to tear down, while constructive criticism/rebuke comes from a desire to encourage & build up. Really, it boils down to the intent of our hearts and how spiritually prepared we are before we share. Also, I’m learning that no matter how spiritually prepared I am or how respectful I communicate in words, tone of voice & body language, I cannot control the other person’s response. That is theirs to own.
Another thought.. Trying to offer constructive criticism/rebuke via social media is oftentimes counter-productive and we are the only ones who end up angry and hurt. Being selective in what I post and what I comment on, as well as knowing when to just end the conversation (by not continuing to post) are all things that have helped me.
We insult someone when we purposely intend to verbally wound someone.
When we insult others, we are disrespectful, hateful, malicious, or rude with our words – or even with our actions. Our intentions are destructive, not loving. We seek to hurt the person, not bless them.
This is a sin issue.
Our motives may include resentment, bitterness, pride, self-righteousness, assuming the worst about someone else’s intentions or motives toward us, malice, hatred, fear, misunderstanding, disrespect, control, manipulation, sinful jealousy, sinful anger, self-defense, a desire to elevate self at another’s expense, etc…
Insults break fellowship, destroy trust, create division, foster strife, and hurt the gospel, the witness of believers, and the body of Christ. They grieve God’s Spirit.
God’s Word Tells Us Not to Insult Others
Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. James 4:11
There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Prov. 12:18
Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense, but a man of understanding remains silent. Prov. 11:12
Love does no harm to a neighbor. Rom. 13:10
Note – if someone makes a threat, that is much worse than an insult. If someone suggests they will cause you or someone else bodily harm, please reach out to appropriate authorities and get help as soon as it is safe to do so. No one should have to be in danger.
What Things Are Not Insults?
Now here is where it can get dicey. Sometimes an insult can be rather subjective. The hearer may feel offended and insulted – when there was no intent to hurt or offend them.
The things below are not insults when shared with the proper spirit and motives:
Deciding not to trust someone who has broken my trust and who is unwilling to re-establish trust.
Not associating with someone who professes to be a believer in Christ but who is living in certain kinds of unrepentant sin – like sexual immorality, greed, idolatry, slander, drunkenness, divisiveness, or fraud/swindling (1 Cor. 5:10-12).
Breaking fellowship between myself and a professing brother/sister in Christ who is repeatedly divisive (Titus 3:10-11).
Unfortunately, there are times when others are trying to share important information – information that may be very beneficial, good, or even life-saving – but some will take offense and feel insulted/attacked and then react defensively or offensively – often out of misunderstanding, fear, or pride.
Some are afraid of rejection, conflict,disapproval from others, condemnation, etc… Others’ pride blinds them to believe that they truly believe they are “above” needing correction from anyone. They believe they are always right – like I did for so many years.
Sometimes a person:
Purposely insults another with the intent to harm.
Says something the hearer perceives to be an insult, but the speaker did not have harmful intentions, and may have actually had constructive or even loving intentions.
We will be talking about how to respond rightly to insults – and perceived insults – in the next post.
Pray with Me
This is such a painful, difficult, muddy subject for many of us. But it is something we all need to understand. We all need Your wisdom, discernment, and Light about how to tell what an insult is – and what it is not. And we all need Your Spirit’s power to help us respond in Your ways to insults and to keep ourselves from insulting others. We invite Your Spirit to work in mighty ways in us this week. Illuminate our minds. Soften our hearts to Your voice. Grant us ears to hear and eyes to see Your spiritual treasures. Show us any areas where we are holding onto toxic sin that is destroying us. And help us to repent of it and allow You to transform our hearts and minds by the power of Your Word and truth. Your truth sets us free!
What wisdom have you learned about how to define an insult? What is the difference between an insult and constructive criticism?
Thanks so much for walking this road with me. I’m excited that we can encourage one another along the way and seek to point each other to greater faith in Jesus. May we all be open to all the spiritual treasures He has for us this week!
NOTE: The Peaceful Wife is not a licensed marriage counselor, therapist, pastor, or psychiatrist. Any information presented here is intended to encourage women to strengthen their walk with the Lord and any decisions women make are ultimately between themselves and Christ. If someone is in a dangerous situation, please reach out for help and try to get somewhere safe. Those with severe marriage issues or who have experienced abuse, please seek one-on-one, trusted counsel (medical, legal, and spiritual) as appropriate. My site is not intended for those experiencing issues with active addictions, unrepentant infidelity, uncontrolled mental health disorders, nor abuse.