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.
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.
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!
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 usbut 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.
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?
Complaining VS Informing – We do need to be able to share important things. Thankfully, we can do that without complaining!
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
Avoiding complaining can get a bit fuzzy, at times. There are situations where we need to inform those around us about important things they need to know. How can we discern the difference between complaining vs. informing?
The Greek word translated “complainer” means literally “one who is discontented with his lot in life.” It is akin to the word grumbler. Complaining is certainly not a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) and, in fact, is detrimental to the peace, joy, and patience that come from the Spirit. For the Christian, complaining is destructive and debilitating personally and only serves to make our witness to the world more difficult. Who, for instance, would be attracted to a religion whose adherents are dissatisfied with life and who continually grumble and complain?
Clearly, as believers we are challenged not to grumble or complain (Philippians 2:14-15; 1 Peter 4:9); rather, we are to love one another deeply so that we may become “blameless and pure” in God’s eyes. If we grumble and complain, it shows how worldly we still are (James 4:1-3). A complaining spirit leads to fighting and quarrelling because complaints come from unfulfilled desires, which lead to envy and strife.
How Can I Tell If What I Want to Say Is Complaining or Informing?
Complaining is primarily about focusing on the negative about circumstances, people, or perceived negatives about God. It is about communicating a lack of gratitude and a lack of faith in the Lord. A complainer is not looking for solutions, but just wants to spread negativity and discontent. The information shared is not something that the hearers need – or want – to know. And, sadly, a complaining spirit is very contagious.
Informing is primarily about sharing important information that the other person needs to know. We may need to share our desires about certain things. We need to share if we are physically, emotionally, or spiritually so unwell that we need help from a specific person. And we need to share, with the right people, if someone else is not okay and he/she needs help.
From four of my wonderful readers(shared with their permission):
I think complaining assigns blame, seeks sympathy and usually doesn’t solve anything. The hearer may not need the information at all. Informing seeks solutions and is intended to benefit the hearer by giving them needed information.
I look at this way, “First, can it change?” If it can, “does it need to?” And then, “how can I say it in such a way that isnt received as competition?” A lot of concerns come out as “I’m better than you.” Or “At least I do the dishes” when in reality we just want to be appreciated and have our concerns heard.
I think it’s all wrapped in the words you use. Instead of saying, “Why do “you” always leave the toilet seat up after “you” go?” The better approach would be, “Honey, guess what almost happened to me last night, I almost sat right down into the toilet “… then ask can we work together to think of a way we could possibly remember to put the seat back down? (This has actually happened to me long ago.) When I made “you” statements, it was complaining. When I made the “we” statements, it included us as a couple/team. Working together for our good. My husband didn’t want me to fall or get wet. It was just a habit he had. Talking and agreeing on a problem brings resolve. Not pent up frustration that steams and brews until it becomes a screaming match. Love isn’t like that. Moral of my story: We agreed to put both the seat and the lid down after using the toilet. Happy endings prevail where love abounds!!😍
This scripture impacted me recently. Both complaining about OR withholding the truth of what is going on in our lives can be detrimental. If speaking the truth of our circumstances could lead others to eventually rejoice in God’s deliverance, then it is worth telling. Here, Paul is neither complaining nor withholding:
“For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.” 2 Corinthians 1:8-11 ESV https://www.bible.com/59/2co.1.8-11.esv
I think it is helpful to look at my heart, motives, and scripture as I try to decide if what I want to share is complaining or informing.
Am I saying negative things about God, assuming He has evil motives or speaking wrongly about His good character?
Am I condemning other people or highlighting their sins to people who aren’t involved and who don’t need to know?
Am I walking in a lack of gratitude?
How often do I talk about the problem? Is it a continual habit?
Am I gossipping? Meaning, am I sharing negative information about others in order to make others thing poorly of someone else or to try to make myself look better than someone else?
Do I tell lots of people, even those who can’t do anything to help the situation?
Is this something I need to accept and invite God to use it to change me? What if this trial is an answer to my prayers to help me grow spiritually? Or is it something I have a responsibility to change?
Am I encouraging others to complain, to be afraid, to not trust God, or to be upset?
Am I attacking or criticizing others?
Am I looking for genuine help and resolution of the problem, or do I just want attention and sympathy?
“Lack of gratitude is the first step toward idolatry.”
Obviously, if we don’t trust and thank the Lord, we are going to look to other things to trust. We must guard our hearts carefully against this tendency, my precious sisters!
We need Your clear wisdom, guidance, Word, and Spirit to help us discern rightly in this – and every – area. Help us to see our motives clearly. Help us to long to honor You in our thoughts, attitudes, motives, words, and actions. Help us to receive Your Spirit’s power to walk in holiness because we can’t do this on our own. Change us, Lord! Make us more like Jesus.
What do you think? How do you believe we can discern between complaining and informing? We’d love to hear your thoughts and insights in the comments. Thanks for being on this amazing journey with me.
I received a great question from a wife about what to do when someone else complains. She said she normally would complain about her life, too, so the person would feel she could understand them and they wouldn’t feel alone. And she worried that if they said they were really tired and she didn’t tell them she was really tired, too, that they would maybe feel like she thought her life was better or that she would come across as being rude in some way.
This is a really important issue! I’m super excited it has been brought up.
We can empathize and sympathize with others if they are sick, tired, upset, etc… But we don’t have to complain about our lives, too.
If a friend/coworker/customer says she is really tired, I can say:
“I’m so sorry to hear that. It sounds tough.”
“Oh, no. I hate that you are so exhausted. That’s no fun.”
“Hey, is there anything I can do to help?”
I do think that one reason women tend to complain about our husbands together is this very thing. Many women want their friends to feel like they understand them and can relate. So if one wife complains about her husband, the others will join in. We don’t want other women to feel isolated or abandoned. We want them to know we all have similar struggles.
It’s a good thing to want to be a supportive friend.
But a negative, grumbling, complaining spirit about our husbands (and other things) hurts us. It hurts the way we think of our husbands. It hurts our marriages. It hurts our friendships. It hurts our relationship with other coworkers or our boss – if we complain about them. It hurts our ability to witness effectively for Jesus. It grieves the heart of God. And it stunts our ability to be thankful and to live by faith in God. So we need to be cautious about this, my precious sisters.
If a Friend Has Significant Issues Going on:
If a friend begins to complain about her husband, I can empathize that she is feeling upset. “I’m so sorry things have been frustrating. That sounds really discouraging.” And then I can pray and invite God to give me wisdom about how to be an encouragement to her. Depending on the situation and how close of a relationship we have, maybe I can:
Listen and hear her heart and pain. Try to understand the situation.
Validate her feelings.
Relate to her struggle. (Without complaining about or disrespecting anyone in my life.)
Pray with her about the situation and invite God into the situation to work for His glory.
Do a spiritual checkup with her to be sure she is receiving good things from God.
Possibly share some things I have learned that have helped me in similar situations.
Offer insights or possible helpful resources as the Lord leads.
Make sure she is safe – if she is facing abuse or something truly awful, she may need more help and resources for a very difficult situation.
It depends on the relationship – and how much time we have – how we would approach another woman in this situation. Ultimately, we will need the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit to give us exactly the right words to share in each scenario. We want women to feel validated and supported. And then we want to be able to point them to the hope that is available to them in Christ. We may even be able to witness and share the gospel with them if they don’t know the Lord. Or if they know the Lord already, but are struggling with faith, we may be able to encourage them to yield to His Lordship. God may help us see exactly what they need.
Some women may be open to some positive new suggestions from us. Especially those who are really close to us. Others would not be. Some may be offended if we try to encourage them to look for good things in their lives. We can’t force anyone to change her thinking. We can invite them to. But if they clearly don’t want to, we can respect their decision. That is their choice to make. We can back away.
If a Friend Has a Pretty Good Situation, but Just Has a Habit of Complaining
Some women in our lives may not have big problems in their lives or marriages, they may just be in a bad habit of thinking and talking about only negative things. In a situation like that, I may be able to gently mention some blessings she has in her life, or encourage her to think about the good things in her life. I may even invite her – in a sweet, friendly way – to join me on a fast from negative words. Who knows, she may be excited about it!
If Someone Is Very Emotionally/Spiritually Toxic
Sadly, there are some people who are so negative and toxic, we need to be careful about how much influence we allow them to have on our lives. They could easily drag us down. There are times when we may have to distance ourselves from those who insist on focusing on complaining, resentment, bitterness, hatred, negativity, insults, arguing, etc… If someone encourages me to resent my husband or to think and speak in negative ways about him, my life, other people, my job, or the Lord, that can be a problem. If someone tries to divide my marriage or other relationships, I want to be very cautious.
As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him. Titus 3:10
Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” 1 Cor. 15:33
Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. Prov. 13:20
A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends. Prov. 16:28
Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends. Prov. 17:9
Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare. Prov. 22:24-25
Let’s seek to bring the God’s joy, peace, and a spirit of thanksgiving into our homes, workplaces, and relationships. This is part of how we can be salt and light!
How is the 3 week fast from negative words going for you so far? We’d love to hear about your experience.
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
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thess. 5:18
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Rom. 8:28
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
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.