Keeper of His Home

by Chelsea McCafferty

Teaching Your Kids to Look Down on Others

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Being a parent is such a huge responsibility. I can say with confidence that teaching my daughter to love and follow the Lord are at the top of my priority list as a mother. Preserving her purity and training her up in the Word are of the utmost importance. I want to instill in her a love for the things that God finds beautiful in a woman – purity, meekness (power under control), prudence, patience, modesty, kindness, gentleness, forgiveness, grace and mercy. These are virtues that I long to see her grow into as a young woman someday.

In order to instill those virtues, I teach her God’s Word, pray over her and give her real life examples. Those examples may be good and bad examples….what TO do and what NOT to do. However, I think it’s very important that in giving her examples, I am not teaching her that it is in any way okay for her to look down upon, condescend, despise or judge those brothers and sisters who are not convicted in the same way that we are on these issues. In other words, I do not want to raise a snotty young woman who is quick to offer disapproval to anyone who isn’t like her.

When I use the dreaded word “Judge”, by the way, I understand that some will confuse what that means. The Word talks a lot about judging. The Bible doesn’t tell us not to “judge’ in terms of identifying sin. We judge all the time. We judge what is right and wrong. We are to judge rightly. However, we are not to judge in the sense of passing a judgement or sentence, and we are not to condemn or despise someone, looking down on them. That’s the judgement both I and God’s Word forbids.

Here’s an example. The Smith Family are great. They are Christians and seek to follow the Lord in all they do. In the Smith Family, the girls have decided that they led to wear skirts or dresses everyday because they truly feel that God is honored in it. There’s nothing wrong with that. What is wrong is how the 12 year-old Fanny Smith reacts when a new girl her age comes to church wearing jeans and a t-shirt. She wears a look of shock and distaste on her face. She refuses to make eye contact. She immediately sees herself as a “better” Christian and labels the other girl as being “carnal.”

Or maybe it’s the other way around. Maybe after years of wearing skirts the Smith Family suddenly feels the Lord put on their hearts that they don’t need to dress that way all of the time and they discover a new liberty in Christ. Will others who continue to wear dresses and skirts teach their children to look down on them? Will the Smiths judge the skirt-wearers for being stuck in “legalism”? Where will the judgement end????

There are plenty of other examples. Parents who emphasize healthy eating may inadvertently teach their children to look down on overweight brothers and sisters. Perhaps the parents look down on them too? Homeschoolers may teach their kids to look down upon public schoolers and vice versa. Sigh

You know, when I aim to raise my daughter in the Lord, my number one lesson to her is not whether or not the Bible teaches that women should wear skirts or headcoverings or eat only organic or homeschool. You see, those are secondary issues. They are dead end issues. I want my daughter to be used by the Lord for wonderful and awesome things. I want her to be a light in this world to a lost and dying population. I want her to shine forth the love and grace of the Lord Jesus to all who come in contact with her. I do not want her to be an uppity, antisocial child-young person-adult, who looks down her nose at anyone who isn’t just like her. Where’s the love of God in that? Where’s the graceful heart of the Lord in that?

So do we stop teaching our kids to walk in their convictions? Absolutely not! I know the standards I want to set for my daughter, and I pray that they are a blessing to her as they guide her into adulthood someday. However, I want to teach her at the same time that we are called to love one another and to accept one another the way Jesus does. We are called to friendship with other believers. We aren’t to stand in a corner or with a small group of like-minded friends and just watch as other young people stand alone or leave. We aren’t supposed to be so heavenly minded that we are no good to the people here on earth. We learn from Jesus, whose own disciples questioned Him for eating with and ministering to sinners. Jesus showed them a love and acceptance they couldn’t resist and they were changed.

Teach your young ones that, in order to minister to someone, we must first be willing to love them unconditionally. We must pray and work to empty our hearts of this type of judgement. We need to reach out with open arms, regardless of the way another looks, talks, dresses, eats, smells…haha…whatever! Teach our kids to be like Jesus, who didn’t sin but loved sinners. Amen?

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” Colossians 3:12-14

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The Popular Church Girl & The Other One

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Two young, married women join a local church around the same time. While both ladies are married and have children, they are different in appearance, personality and background. One of the women (we will call her Rachel) is lovely physically. She is slender, fit and lives a healthy lifestyle. She has four beautiful children, all perfectly behaved. Her husband is charming and popular. They have a comfortable income and a beautiful home. Rachel is sweet and friendly. She loves the Lord. There is nothing at all to dislike about her.

The second young woman (Leah) is also kind and loving. She is generous with her friendship and quick to serve where needed. She is well-studied in the Word and has a burden for the lost. She also loves Jesus. Leah is in a difficult marriage. She has made mistakes and the consequences linger, but she and her husband work hard to honor the Lord in their marriage. They love their two children and are committed to their family. Leah’s family struggles financially. There is rarely enough money each month to pay all the bills. Leah also struggles with health issues. She is overweight and doesn’t feel attractive by worldly standards, but her husband loves her and says she is beautiful.

Rachel and Leah are both welcomed into their new church home with open arms. They are both treated with kindness and shown hospitality. Yet, as the weeks go on, Leah begins to wonder if any of her new friends at church will seek a deeper friendship with her. A few months later, she is at church and is talking with Rachel. Rachel shares about how she has been invited to another lady’s house for a little get together with a few of the ladies. Rachel is surprised to hear Leah wasn’t invited. Leah also notices that Rachel seems to be surrounded by ladies after service each week. She is making lots of friends. In fact, they all seem to want to be her friends. Despite Leah’s efforts, she still hasn’t managed to make one good friend. Leah is feeling the pangs of loneliness and unwanted battles with jealousy. She prays for a friend…just one person who wants a deeper friendship with her than the typical Sunday chit chat.

The months go on. Leah watches on Facebook as every post that Rachel makes ignites a long list of replies. She and her family are invited to birthday parties, bridal showers and other events. During the week she receives no calls or emails. She doesn’t get invites to lunch. She is keenly aware that, for reasons she can only assume, she has not be counted worthy of relationship. She has no one who will check on her or know if she is going through a trial. She has no one to turn to when she needs a listening ear. She has no one to call a best friend…at least not from her church family.

This “Rachel & Leah” story is nothing new in church today. It is common. It is disappointing. It often goes unnoticed. The truth is, the church is sometimes a breeding ground for being a respecter of persons. Cliques and preferential treatment is far too common. There are always Rachels, who walk into the church and are immediate hits. They are popular, loved and preferred. People flock to them and seek to have meaningful friendships with them. There are always Leahs, who are the ones that are left unchosen and unselected as a friend of importance. They may be very pleasant and loved by others in the church, but they are never the ones that people choose as close friends. It’s really quite sad.

What is this preferential treatment based on? It’s usually the same criteria that the world uses, which is extra sad. Appearance. Wealth. Popularity. I think most people don’t even recognize what they are doing. It is a subconscious working of the flesh to prefer one person over another for these reasons. They are just drawn to them.

At the end of the day, both Rachel and Leah need close friends within in the church. They both need relationships. It’s so important that every Leah who walks into the church is singled out and pursued by someone. We need to keep watch for those Leahs who are slipping through the cracks and going home hurt every week because no one is trying to get to know them.

Sure, be friends with Rachel, but don’t forget about Leah!

A few years ago my world was rocked when a woman from our small church took her life. She had relapsed into alcoholism in a moment of weakness and was overwhelmed with guilt. I remember weeping and being filled with conviction because I knew I missed so many chances to get to know her better. She needed relationships. She had some, but maybe if she had more she would have had someone she felt she could turn to. I don’t know. What I do know is that there are too many Leahs out there, of all ages and backgrounds, who are getting completely overlooked in church. It is a shame. It is wrong.

I’ve committed myself to loving Leah. I’ve committed myself to seeking out Leahs who need friendship. I am completely committed to loving all of my sisters, regardless of how the world would measure them up. They are daughters of the King and so precious to Him. Thus they are precious to us!

I am committed to Leah because I know Leah. I understand Leah. I have been Leah at times.

If you are Leah, I pray you will understand that your worth is not measured by worldly standards, but by the Creator of the Universe. He made you wonderful and well worth friendship and love. Don’t give up. Perhaps you will find another Leah who needs you as much as you need her.

My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court? Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called?

If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture,“You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well.But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. 11 For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said,“Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12 So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty.13 For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

James 2:1-13

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Real Tears with Jesus

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As a writer and blogger, it is my deepest desire to be real in my writing. I have no intention what-so-ever of painting myself as a perfect Christian, woman, wife, mother or even friend. I don’t have a need for people to see me as anything more than the real me – a woman who longs deeply to be who the Lord wants me to be, but is completely and totally flawed. There’s no use in denying it. Like Paul, I consider myself to be the chief sinner. I can’t wait for that day in glory when my flesh no longer desires sin and the enemy’s lies never even come close to the ear of my heart! Oh what a glorious day that will be! Until then, you’re stuck with this mess of a friend…this flawed wife and mother…this imperfect, perfect-only-by-grace woman.

While I’m perfectly happy to be upfront and honest about my shortcomings, my pain is a different story altogether. You know, we all go through difficulties, trials and valleys. We all struggle at times in our lives. While I desire to be real with my readers, friends and family, I also know that I am prone to hide away when I’m in pain. I’m prone to hide the hurt, the struggle and the tears. My closest friends know that when I am going through hurt, I tend to isolate. I prefer to cry alone.

And yet….I’m not alone.

“You have kept count of my wanderings,
put my tears in your bottle.
Are they not in your book?” Psalm 56:8

In those hurting times, when my heart is failing and the tears flow freely, while I may hide away from the world, my Jesus is there. He’s always there. He knows every tear that slips away and every broken beat of my heart. He remembers them and cares. He understands what I’m sure no one else can. He holds me, rocks me, comforts me and reminds me that I can cry real tears with my Jesus. I don’t have to be brave or put on a show. I don’t have to pretend my life is perfect and that I’m beyond the pain that we experience in this life. I can just cry. I can weep freely and allow my tears to be caught up by my Savior who loves me.

If you’re hurting today and hiding away, remember that you can cry out to Jesus. You can be real with Him. He sees your heart and He cares for you deeply and truly. He knows every tear and every heartache. He may not take away the circumstances that are bringing the pain, but He will most definitely carry you through them. He will most definitely be near you and capture your tears in a bottle. You can cry real tears with Jesus and He will turn your mourning into dancing when the time is right. Thank You Lord!

 

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Five Marriage Killers Part 5

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5. Money, Money, Money

“Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:31-33

Whether it be the secular world or within the church, marriages are ending rapidly, and one of the biggest causes for marital distress is financial discord. A large percentage of marital fights are over the issue of money. Whether it’s a lack of finances that is straining the marriage or someone who is spending more than they should, money problems can be rough. Family budgeting is an important aspect of family life, and yet somehow, even when we try to do our best, the issue of money can creep in and cause problems.

If you and your spouse fight over money issues, perhaps you fall into one of these general categories?

1. Unemployed Spouse. When the family is suffering financially and a spouse is unemployed, it can be very difficult. Sometimes that person is hard-working and desperate to work but unable to find anything. Maybe he just refuses to work and would rather live on benefits and do side jobs under the table. Either way, stress is going to be a major factor and it will affect the marriage if you let it. If your spouse is hard-working but has been out of work, be his number one support and encouragement. You have to understand that a man places great importance on how he is providing. Most men determine their self-worth on how they provide for their families. So if your husband has lost his job and is trying to find something, try not to add to his worry and troubles. Be his support, his encouragement, his cheerleader and his lover. Build him up because he needs it. He is hurting, no doubt. Trust the Lord to meet your needs, be creative on how to bring in extra money or stretch what you have, and remind your husband over and over that you love him and respect him.

If you are married to a man who refuses to work and take care of your family, you are in a difficult spot indeed. It must be incredibly hard to deal with and to remain a respectful wife. Believe me, I would have a few words to say to such a man, but God tells us to obey Him whether or not our husbands do. In other words, if your husband will not work, the most important thing for you to do is pray. Pray hard and pray without ceasing. Trust the Lord. Work hard yourself if need be. It’s not right for a man not to provide for his family by choice, and your husband needs a kick in the pants, but God has said it’s not you who is to give it to him. Pray for God to break through to him and trust the Lord to take care of you in the meanwhile.

But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” 1 Timothy 5:8

2. Overspending and Greed. Sometimes in a marriage, one or both will struggle with a heart of greed and covetousness. In these cases, it’s common for overspending, unwise decision-making and greedy living to come into play. This can lead to major marital problems. If one person is a spender and the other is prudent and wise financially, there will be strife that may come into play daily, weekly, monthly, etc. It will snowball into serious marital problems and even marital death. If both people are spenders, well then the couple is likely to come to ruin and extreme poverty. Few marriages survive that. So this is a dangerous place in which to be. If your spouse is a spender, or perhaps you are, it is important to get on track in terms of God’s calling for us to serve Him and not money. We need to address issues of covetousness and greedy spending. If your husband is the spender, you may want to respectfully address the problem and then spend time in prayer. You may ask him to get some help and counsel from an elder or financial counselor. Ultimately, if he will not change, all you can do is do your best to stay on track, do not nag and cause conflict, and pray. If you are the spender, repent of greed. Get yourself on the right track. Get into the Word. Don’t allow a love of money to creep into your heart and get a stronghold.

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.” 1 Timothy 6:10

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

3. Low-Income or Self-Employed and Struggling. So many of us, ourselves included, could be considered low-income though we have a strong work ethic and continue to work hard day by day. In this case you have honest, hard-working people who still can’t seem to make ends meet. As the bills roll in, stress accelerates and pretty soon the whole household is on edge. All it takes is one major and costly event (such as automotive repairs or a new waterheater) to through you overboard. In this case, fights are caused by the amount of stress put on the family. It is important that these trials not pull you apart but bring you closer together. Pray together, study the Word and then come up with ideas on how to move forward towards financial stability. Don’t play the blame game. Budget together and make it a family team effort. Be there to comfort one another and don’t allow your hardships to harden your hearts.

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21

Financial problems can be a real marriage killer. Being aware of this and fighting back with our spiritual weapons is the best way to combat it. Remember that God is our provider and we can trust Him. If He cares for the birds of the air, will He not care more for His children? He knows what we need. Our job is to be honorable in our handling of the money that He allows us to steward and then to trust Him through the rest. We, as wives, are called to honor our husbands and to build them up, whether or not they do everything right. Understanding how important it is for men to feel good about how they are providing, it is important we do not tear them down but rather bring words of edification, respect and love to build them up.

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Five Marriage Killers Part 4

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4. Manipulation & Spiritual Domination

When we look at scripture, we see a long list of women who manipulated their husbands in order to get their own way. Let’s start with Eve in the Garden of Eden, feeding her husband bad fruit (Genesis 3). Adam should have been leading, but Eve took the reins and led them both into temptation and the first sin. Should Adam have refused to follow her into sin? The answer is clearly yes, which is why both were disciplined by the Lord. However, would Adam have ever considered eating the fruit if not for his wife’s encouragement? Perhaps not. How about Sarah and Abraham (Genesis 16)? Sarah’s deep desire to give an heir to her husband prompted her to convince her husband to commit adultery with her own handmaid, Hagar, and to produce the son of the flesh, Ishmael. Once the son of promise, Isaac, came along, there was tremendous friction and subsequent pain. We certainly cannot forget Delilah (Judges 16) and how she manipulated Samson, causing him to lose his hair, his strength, his connection with the Holy Spirit (for a time) and eventually his life.

These are just a few examples of women manipulating their men, but manipulation may not always be leading our husbands into sin. Sometimes it is simply leading them in a different direction than they feel God has called them. A man and woman get married and the woman wants to have a child right away, while the man feels they should wait for a few years so that they can spend time together as a married couple first. The woman seduces her husband and conveniently forgets to take her birth control pills. Whoops! Now certainly there is no sin when it comes to sex in marriage, nor is having children a sin, but the refusal of the wife to follow her husband and her clear manipulation is far from fitting behavior for a daughter of the King. Perhaps you want to move to the beach but your husband feels called to buy a home in the mountains. Circling the ads for lovely beach homes for sale and leaving them sitting on his favorite chair when he comes home is not the way to do it. Neither is crying and complaining all day and night until you get your way. These are tactics of manipulation and are not in line with God’s Word.

The same principle holds true when it comes to spiritual issues. Women are far too swift to take up the role as spiritual leader when they think their husbands are doing the job incorrectly. Spiritual domination by a wife can be a marriage killer. I know a young woman who was the daughter of a pastor, and she married a nice, young Christian man when she was about 19 years old. This young woman and I would chat about married life, and I was always taken back by her attitude of spiritual superiority over her husband. Her husband was raised in a different type of church than she was, and so there were small differences in doctrine. She would complain that after hours and hours of trying to convince her husband that his church was wrong and hers was right they would get nowhere. She called him stubborn, but I think the more problematic of the two was this woman who thought it was her job to teach her husband in spiritual matters. If I, as a friend and outsider, picked up so quickly and with such clarity that this woman considered herself far above her husband in spiritual wisdom and maturity, than there is no doubt her husband felt the weight of her spiritual domination on a daily basis. No doubt he felt disrespected and deflated at home instead of built up and edified.

Don’t get me wrong. It is fine for a wife to share with her husband in a respectful and humble way. Most godly husbands cherish their wife’s opinions and are more than happy to hear her feelings on various topics of faith, the Word and spiritual growth. However when a bossy, dominating woman sits across the table from her man and lectures him for hours about praying longer, throwing out any PG-13 rated movies they have, or his faulty views on the issue of whether or not the Bible speaks against tattoos, I have to question her spiritual discernment. God never intended wives to lead their husbands in spiritual matters, or to instruct them. Yes, she may be right sometimes, but her disobedience to the Lord is far worse a sin than her husband’s occasional bad decision. The correct response would have been to lift her husband up in prayer and to speak with the law of kindness on her tongue. God is the head of her husband, and He will complete the work He has started. A pushy woman is merely a hindrance to the handiwork God wants to do in her husband’s heart, and she ought to spend more time focusing on her own spiritual growth than worrying about that of her husband’s.

Now we look for a moment back to Eve. People love to debate which of the two was more to blame for the fall in the Garden of Eden. Eve was the first to fall into sin, being deceived and tricked by that cunning serpent, and she gave to her husband of the tree as well, who was not deceived but willingly disobeyed God’s instruction. Men love to talk about how women lead men into trouble, just as Eve led her husband into temptation and sin. On the flip side, where was Adam’s leadership or discernment? We don’t see him struggling against doing what he knows is wrong, or rebuking his wife. When it comes down to it and their sin is exposed, both man and women tried to pass the blame and both were punished and therefore both guilty. While figuring out who was more to blame is not necessarily an important quest, we do learn something quite fascinating and significant from this passage about our strengths and weaknesses as women and the roles we are intended to have. We will take a right turn in the Bible to 1 Timothy 2:11-15.

 

“Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.”

 

Feminists hate this verse. They love to label our brother Paul as being sexist and the Bible as being outdated and oppressive. Others will attempt to explain away this verse by saying that it was only for the early church and does not apply today or that perhaps it is acceptable for women to teach as long as they are under the authority of male elders. After all we’ve come so far in our mission to create equality between men and women, and to prove to the world that there is no difference between us, right? Wrong. The Bible doesn’t change because God doesn’t change. He created us for a beautiful role and purpose. As women we are precious jewels to our Heavenly Father and to our husbands, should we choose to follow God’s plan for us as wives. There is nothing belittling or insulting about this passage of scripture. Nor does it say it is for a time or a generation, and therefore we must accept that it is for all generations and still applicable today.

Let’s move on to the second part of the passage from 1 Timothy about Adam and Eve. Paul is explaining why women are to learn in silence at church and not to teach or have authority over men. Notice he doesn’t say it’s because women are not educated well enough in the Bible or that it is because at the present time woman were not treated as equals in society. Paul gives two reasons for creating these role boundaries. 1. Adam was created before Eve, and 2. Adam was not deceived in the Garden but Eve was.

Indeed, as we read back in Genesis 2 we see that Adam was created first. This does not mean he was more important than Eve or that he has priority over Eve. It is simply the order in which the Lord God willed for mankind. He has appointed the man to be the leader, going forth first with his wife following right by his side. Men are given a huge responsibility here. Teachers of the Word of God are always bearers of great responsibility as they must pray and study diligently not to lead anyone astray or misinterpret the Word. Secondly we see that Eve was deceived by the serpent. In Genesis, Eve makes the mistake of having conversation with the serpent, misquoting God’s actual words and then allowing the enemy to fill her heart with lies. She was caught up with the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. As a result, she was deceived. She certainly wasn’t the only one in sin. Adam sinned willfully. The Word does not mention him being deceived, but he did sin. Perhaps in God’s deep knowledge of the character heart of women, He knows that we are often times more easily deceived and led away by emotions than our other halves. There is no shame in this, but the verse in 1 Timothy makes it clear that this commandment not to allow women to teach or usurp authority spiritually over men is not cultural or for Paul’s generation alone, but based on the will and wisdom of our Lord God.

As women we are to refrain from taking control of situations and decisions, even if we think we will handle them better. If you are a controlling woman, this will really be a challenge for you. If you are set in your ways and are married or planning to be married, pray for God to change your heart as I did before I was married. If you are one of those ladies who must have everything “just so”, pray that the Lord will give you a spirit of flexibility, patience and submission. God finds these characteristics so lovely in his children.

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A Gentle Tongue

“A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.” Proverbs 15:4

I was not born with a gentle tongue. I think that before I could even form words I was probably complaining, whining, criticizing, debating and making large declarations. I have always been somewhat strong-willed and opinionated. I admit it, though I’m not proud of my disposition. It is most certainly my nature to speak harshly, confidently, arrogantly and sometimes without consideration for how my words may be received.

That being confessed, I share with great joy that God has and is always working on me to mold me into the kind of woman He wants me to be. He is taking my stubborn tongue and teaching it to be gentle so that my words are a blessing to my family, friends and the lost instead of being a loud and brassy, clamorous noise. This education in speaking with gentleness does not come easy for me and so I must be walking in the Spirit to be able to do what my hearts wants. As with so many struggles, the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.

In Proverbs 15:4 there, the word for “gentle” is the Hebrew word “marpe'” and it’s definition may surprise you. It surprised me as I looked into it. The word means, “gentle, soothing, profitable, able to cure, healing and sound of mind.” In other words, it’s not just the tone of the voice that is used. Gentle does not equal quiet. It’s the words that are spoken that matter the most. The words we speak with the tongue should be soothing, healing words. They should minister to and edify those around us. They should bring comfort, joy, peace and be filled with love. Isn’t that beautiful?

“A healing, soothing tongue is a tree of life…”.

Words are powerful indeed. Our tongues can bring life and health and goodness. With wisdom and spiritual maturity we can truly allow God to use our tongues to minister to His children and to share the gospel with the lost. We can use our words to build up our husbands and our children. We can use our tongues to teach our kids the ways of the Lord and to encourage those younger than us in the faith to grow in the Lord. The tongue can be a tree of life, powerful and edifying, or it can be used to break the spirit with perverseness.

The Hebrew word for “perverseness” is “celeph” which means, “crookedness, perverseness, crooked dealing, and perversion.” When we use our tongue for evil, we can literally crush the spirit. Another way to consider this is that, when we use the members of our body (including the tongue) to do/say evil, we absolutely quench the Spirit of God within us. Our crookedness and perversion keeps us from being able to minister to our families and friends or to serve God as we desire to do.

So what is crookedness or perversion of the tongue? A good indication is found in the scriptures surrounding this one in Proverbs 15 and in other verses throughout scripture. Here are some of the descriptions God uses in regards to the tongue/words of the crooked.

“…a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1

“…the mouths of fools pour out folly.” Proverbs 15:2

“The lips of the wise spread knowledge; not so the hearts of fools.” Proverbs 15:7

“….the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.” Proverbs 15:28

“May the Lord cut off all flattering lips, the tongue that makes great boasts…” Psalm 12:3

“Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit.” Psalm 34:13

“Your tongue plots destruction, like a sharp razor, you worker of deceit.” Psalm 52:2

These are just a few verses. There are many, many more. Lying, gossip, speaking disrespectfully to your husband, stirring up wrath and anger, inciting division, breaking people down, etc. are all ways that we use our tongue for perverseness rather than for edification. We want our words to bring life, not misery. We want to speak encouragement, not judgement. We want everything we say to be filled with love and wisdom and kindness.

I thank the Lord abundantly that He continues to chip away at the areas of my life where I still struggle with sin, and this is one of those areas. I know my weakness to speak with anything but gentleness and blessing. I submit my heart and my tongue to the Lord Jesus Christ and ask Him to perfect His love in me and to make me an instrument of blessing, encouragement and edification, within my home and outside as well. I thank Him for bringing me this far and thank Him for what He’s yet to do. Hallelujah!

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