A Critical Spirit VS. a Godly Rebuke

Photo by Noah Buscher on Unsplash

 

As believers in Christ, we are not to have a critical, judgmental spirit, but there are times when we do need to share a life-giving, godly rebuke. We don’t just want to ignore a situation where someone is hurting others or himself/herself.

How can we rightly discern the difference?

Here is a picture that helps me. I imagine someone is in danger, hanging perilously from the edge of a tall cliff.

  • Do I want to kick the person’s hands so he/she falls farther?
  • Do I want to throw him/her a lifeline?

If I have a critical, judgmental spirit (if I am acting in my sinful flesh):

My motives will include things like: resentment, bitterness, condemnation of others, self-righteousness, hatred, jealousy, pride, hypocrisy, gossip, slander, or some other sinful motive. I do not examine myself first. I do not see sin in my own life. I approach the other person harshly and/or go to other people and tell them how terrible this person is. I cause division and more hurt. I set myself in the place of judge and jury – maybe even executioner. My sinful response only adds gasoline to the fire.

  • My primary goals are to exalt myself and hurt others. I want to see the person I criticize defeated. I view him/her as “the enemy.”

If I am operating in the power of the Holy Spirit:

My motives will include things like: wholehearted love for God, unconditional love for all the people involved, truth, a desire to see the sinning person turn to the Lord in true repentance, a willingness to examine my own life for sin first, a longing for spiritual healing for all involved, a desire for genuine unity in the Body of Christ, hatred of sin and the destruction it causes. I seek to approach the sinning person very humbly. I want to honor God’s Word in Matt. 7:1-5, Matt. 18:15-17, and Gal. 6:1-2 about how to lovingly, rightly confront a sinning brother/sister in Christ.

First I deal with sin in my own life thoroughly before the Lord and I also repent to anyone I have injured. I seek to make things right. Then I approach the person in private. I don’t share details all over social media or with my coworkers and friends. If the brother/sister still doesn’t repent, I bring 1-2 strong believers along with me to address the issue – again, in private. And then, if the person still doesn’t repent, we are supposed to take them before the church. I am to watch myself carefully, so that I do not fall into any sinful temptation myself in this process.

  • My primary goals are to exalt and honor the Lord, to build up His kingdom, and to bless and love others. I am throwing a lifeline to someone who is about to be swept away by danger. I want to see the real enemy (Satan) defeated and everyone in the Body of Christ healthy and functional. I want to see those who don’t know the Lord come to Him and be transformed and healed.

Lord,
Please radically transform our hearts and minds with the power of Your Spirit! How we need Your power and holiness each moment – that we might love You and love others. Use us to shine Your light in this dark world. Be greatly glorified in our lives and help us to rightly handle Your Word and difficult relationships.
Amen.

Check out the post below for a great summary about what it means to properly give a rebuke.

https://www.gotquestions.org/rebuke-believer.html

 

SHARE:

What are some red flags you have noticed to help you see your motives clearly before you attempt to address someone else’s sin or wrongdoing?

What things have you learned to help you respond in a godly way?

 

Much love!

 

IF YOU NEED PERSONAL HELP WITH A TOUGH PROBLEM:

If you are facing a difficult situation and someone is sinning against you and you need to talk about it – please seek wise, godly counsel in private.

Check out the free counseling resource at www.focusonthefamily.org, or you can check out www.biblicalcounseling.com to find a counselor. Or please check with a trusted pastor or godly mentor for a referral.

Of course, if you are facing someone who is extremely abusive or acting in dangerous ways, it may not be safe to confront them privately. There are times when things are so bad you may need to go directly to the police or seek outside help ASAP.

 

 

 

The Respect Dare, Day 10 – His Biggest Critic, or His Biggest Supporter?

siloutte couple

Do not judge, and you will not be judged.  Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned.  Forgive, and you will be forgiven.  Luke 6:37

How can we apply this verse to ourselves as wives?

Nina Roesner, in The Respect Dare on Dare 10, challenges us not “to judge, criticize or condemn others, but instead be a woman who speaks carefully in wisdom and encourages her husband.”

HE NEEDS MY HELP

That is what I used to think.

You know, there is some truth there.  I was created by God to be my husband’s helper.

But when my sinful nature is in control of my life instead of God’s Spirit, being a”helper” can easily become being controlling.

What is the difference between “helping” and “controlling”?   That is a REALLY important question!

CONTROLLING:

  • I overstep my husband’s boundaries and do things for him that he does not appreciate.
  • I think I know best and I am determined to do things my way no matter what my husband says or what he thinks.
  • I do not give my husband a choice – I insist on what I want.
  • I make his decisions for him, and I make family decisions for him.
  • I don’t see God’s sovereignty, I act as if I am sovereign and everything depends on me.  I don’t trust God to lead me through my husband.
  • I offer unsolicited advice to my husband – he may interpret that to mean that I think  he can’t come up with good solutions and ideas on his own.  That feels disrespectful to many men.
  • I jump in to help him with something without him asking me for help.  This can be confusing – because to a woman, it is loving to jump in and help someone usually, but to a man it is disrespectful many times to help without his asking for help
  • I offer plenty of criticism about his ideas and shoot down his plans, suggestions, dreams, wisdom and solutions.
  • I clean up my husband’s stuff, give away his things, organize them or mess with them without his permission.
  • I look down on my husband with contempt.
  • I believe I am better than my husband.
  • I have a HARD time forgiving.
  • I have a lot of negative things to say to my husband and about my husband.

HELPING (by God’s Spirit working in me):

  • I only offer help when he asks me for help.  And when he does ask me for help, I make his request a priority.
  • I listen to him intently, trusting him to come up with the solutions and answers himself.
  • I show my faith in him that I know he’s “got this.”
  • I say something like, “I don’t know what the answer is, but I know you, and I know you will come up with the right way to handle this problem.” (Gary Thomas, Sacred Influence)
  • I only offer my suggestions when he asks for my opinion.
  • I respect my husband’s ability to handle his job, his family relationships, his friendships and problems without my assistance.
  • I do my best to stand behind his decisions.
  • I share my perspective and ideas respectfully.
  • I don’t tear him down with my words to others.
  • I have only good and kind motives towards him.  I think of myself as being on his team.
  • I have his back and defend and support him to others.
  • I support his authority as a dad and stand united with him to our children.
  • If he does ask for my advice, I am gentle, not bossy.  I present options to consider, not iron clad things he has to do.
  • I am a safe place for my husband to confide his vulnerabilities, weaknesses, temptations, struggles, emotions, ideas, dreams and plans.
  • I generously and freely offer grace, mercy and forgiveness.
  • I focus on the good in my husband.

DARE:

1. Seek to avoid giving unsolicited advice to your husband.

2. Let your husband know that you want to be a safe  place for him to share his struggles/difficulties with you.  Do what it takes to become that safe place.  You may want to ask him how you could improve in this area.  Then just listen and take his suggestions to heart.

SHARE:

How is the Respect Dare going for you?  What challenges are you having?  What victories have you seen?  Please share, I know that your story will touch and bless many other wives. 🙂

OTHER RESOURCES:

You have GOT to read this post by Jennifer at www.unbrokenwoman.com

SOME OF MY YOUTUBE VIDEOS (My Channel is “April Cassidy”)

Handling "External Pressure" on This Journey

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A Wife’s Questions

I just wanted to start off by saying thank you and God bless you so much for your labor of love in creating the wonderful blogs that are blessing me and so many others.  I was thinking to myself this morning that ever since I discovered your blog about a month ago I have been so inspired and so relieved!  So many of the things I felt God speaking to my heart over the past few months are so well covered in there as confirmation, and it is amazing to see you and others describe walking through this journey. I feel like I am not alone in learning some of these things that can be difficult on the flesh, especially after being a certain way for so long.
Something I have deeply struggled with relationship-wise is what I view as great “external pressure”.  The people around me have always been very much involved in every aspect of my life.  But in this season, I find it so difficult to talk to the people around me even about minor things because I worry about their judgement and comments, especially as I walk through this respect journey.  Its hard enough dealing with my own expectations, but when I focus on my family and friends, its unbearable! So I have a hard time opening up even as I am learning awesome things and see God moving in the midst of it. My attitude right now is that I have been listening to the wrong people for so long; others opinions, the devil’s lies, and my own flesh. Now I am doing something different, which is listening to God and obeying Him alone for a change, leaving whatever the outcome will be to Him, and I just want to stay focused instead of being so stressed that I feel I need to avoid people sometimes. I just want to be able to be honest about my growth journey while at the same time not letting their opinions bother me too much.
My question is what is the best way to deal with all the questions all my well meaning friends and family members constantly have about my relationship?  I don’t want their comments to get in the way of how God leads me, but I feel weak in this area. When they notice I’m not talking about my man very much, because they are so used to me being an “open book” they harass me and ask why I’m not updating them on things, then I feel guilty lol! I almost feel like I need to establish new ground rules, because I feel like this is a delicate period.  I just wanted your take on the best way to go about this.

Peacefulwife’s Response

WHAT I DID (I am not saying this is what everyone should do – this is just what I personally did)
I was controlling and disrespectful towards other people in my life, too, before I learned this stuff – AND I had awful boundaries, or no boundaries, and was always an open book as you describe and also allowed other people to control me before.
When I realized my sin – and WOW – was there a lot of it – I wanted to hide in a cave and never talk to another person again.  I knew I would sin if I opened my mouth.  And back then, I would have.  Everything out of my mouth was criticism, control, disrespect, gossip, bitterness, pride… yep.  Sin.  
I actually immediately backed away from everyone.  I practically disappeared as I began studying respect and biblical submission and realizing my sin and repenting and asking God to take all the evil out and rebuild on His foundation alone.
I was afraid to talk to anyone.  I knew I would say something disrespectful and I did NOT trust myself with words to anyone for a long time.  I am not sure that this is necessarily the healthiest thing ever – it would have been better if I had a godly mentoring wife, probably, or a women’s study group or a godly girlfriend or two, but I didn’t at the time.
I became a bit of a recluse, praying, studying and trying to apply what I was learning just to my marriage.  I could only really focus on that one thing at first.  So I apologized to my husband and my young children, and began to try to set a godly example of respect and submission for them, too.
I spent hours studying, praying, reading and taking notes almost every day.  I was SO DETERMINED to learn this stuff and do it God’s way.
THE RESULTS
Backing away from my family and friends actually ended up being good in several ways for me (again, I am not saying this is what everyone must do):
– it kept me from temptation with MY MOUTH
– it forced me to develop new and stronger boundaries and hedges to protect my marriage.  I had not properly “left” other relationships to “cling” to my husband.  So part of backing away helped me cement in my mind, and probably in their minds, that I was leaving all others and cleaving to my husband.
– I wasn’t trying to explain what I was doing to other people
– it gave me time to  work through all the new things I was learning and time to try to process all the new information I was studying before I had to apply it in more difficult situations
You may not have to back away as much as I did. I don’t know!  But I had to take some BIG STEPS BACK emotionally and even time-wise for a long time as I learned.  Later, I was able to re-enter some of those relationships and only speak highly of my husband.  But it took time.
Some people did not take kindly to me backing away.  But I didn’t single anyone out, I just backed away from everyone but God, Greg and my children.  I focused on those relationships and was loving and kind to others, but didn’t do a lot of talking with other people for awhile.
If people ask questions, only say POSITIVE things about your husband and your marriage.
** For wives being physically abused or who have SERIOUS problems in their marriage, please find godly, experienced help ASAP!  Those issues go far beyond the scope of this post and this blog** 
HANDLING CRITICISM AND QUESTIONS
First of all, the unfortunate reality in most cultures today is that  there are almost no women who will be supportive of your efforts to truly become a godly wife – not when you talk about respecting your husband and honoring his leadership.  And if you use the word, “submission,” you may have rotten tomatoes thrown at your head.   If you don’t have super godly friends, even Christian women will get upset about respect and biblical submission – some of them become downright hostile.
Many times, we have learned our disrespectful and controlling ways from our own mothers and sisters  – so sometimes they can be the most difficult to deal with. (My own mother was not at all controlling and was very respectful – but I guess I learned the control thing from being a dominant twin).  And if you talk about what you are learning with them, they may take these new ideas as a huge threat and try to control you even more than ever.  The HARDEST place to break dysfunctional relationships is in our family of origin.  That is usually where we learned our messed up ways of relating to people, and we can quickly revert back to those old ways when we are around our family because that is what is expected and it is hard to buck against the usual old “dance” that everyone does in the family.
Right now, I am not sure I would do much explaining.
You can smile and say, “Thanks for asking.  I’m doing well.  God is working on my heart.”
And if they pressure for more, “I am not at liberty to discuss any details right now.  Thanks for praying for me. :)”
PEOPLE’S PRYING QUESTIONS
People probably don’t mean to cause angst and trouble and pain, but sometimes the questions they ask are just not very polite!  Definitely don’t expect anything from your man right now (for Valentine’s Day).  Thank him if he does something for you.
But you can just nonchalantly say something to those who ask what you got for Valentine’s Day like, “That’s my little secret.”  or “I have such an amazing husband, he is a gift from God in and of himself.”  Or “God has given my husband to me.  I’m really thankful for him.”  Or, “I hope I get to spend some time with my favorite man in the world tonight.”  Something that promotes your admiration of your husband and expresses your gratitude.
NEW GROUND RULES
YES.  You will need new ground rules and boundaries.  Here are my goals:
  • I don’t talk negatively about my man or anyone else’s marriage or their relationship
  • I don’t gossip (about my husband or anyone else)
  • I only say positive things about husband
  • I don’t ask other people for advice about my husband – only godly mentoring wives
  • I build a hedge of protection around my heart and marriage – “guard your heart, it is the wellspring of life.” (Proverbs)  Being a Christian does NOT mean we are total open books.  I used to think it did!   We are honest and open to a degree, but there are some things we must guard as sacred and precious that are not available to public view.  Our marriages are one of those things.  The most important thing!
  • I may need to say something like, “God is working in me.  I can’t talk about it much right now.  Thanks for understanding.”  Or “God is teaching me so much.  It’s too personal to go into right now.  I hope I can share more one day.”
The way God-given authority works is like this:
God>>Christ>>Husband>>Wife>>Children
Also there are God-given authorities we must submit to like the government, church leaders, our bosses, the police, teachers, etc.  Children must submit to their parents.  But once a child is grown, God commands us to honor our parents, but not to submit to them and obey them.
You answer to God primarily and also to your husband.  Your goals are to please THEM.  First to please God – and then your man.  If your husband asks you to sin or condone sin, you must respectfully resist him to obey God.
Other people’s opinions and ideas are nice, but you do not answer to those people.  It is no longer your job to please other people.  (That can quickly become idolatry – seeking the approval of men over the approval of God)  You answer to God and your husband.  It helps to clarify that, I think!

The Wife’s Response Back to Me

Thanks so much!  I think the thing that gets me the most is when people seem to think I’m “suffering in silence” since I am being so quiet nowadays.  Mind you he is the sweetest, kindest, gentlest person, not mistreating me in any way, but the emotional distance I feel right now is the thing that makes it difficult. Is my flesh suffering as I learn to walk this out? Absolutely!  And sometimes the repentance I feel is so thick and the lessons and realizations and remorse hit me so hard that I feel heavy.  But I don’t know that its for me to necessarily share with everyone. I think that since females are so used to sharing our feelings with eachother that it seems natural that that would be the case, but for some reasonthese feelings seem sacred as I am going through my process and allowing God to show me things.  I hope that makes sense, just venting.  It can be hard changing so much in a short period of time!  But I know its all for a great purpose.

Here is a post about healthy boundaries and controlling people that might help, too.
YOU ARE WELCOME TO SHARE YOUR STRUGGLES!
All wives struggle on this path!  It is the most difficult and wonderful thing most women will ever do in their lives, in my view!  Please share your struggles or your story if you would like to.  MANY sisters in Christ are on this same walk and we are stronger when we hold hands and walk together side by side!