Woman Beware

As a dad and as a pastor giving guidance to young people I have written very little for young women.  Following the pattern of King Solomon in his instructions to his son, I am starting out with some cautions.  And much of what I share here comes from the wisdom of Solomon.

The Heart of the Matter

For all of us the heart is the “heart of the matter”.  Our actions are less significant in God’s eyes than our motives.  So any guidance to youth is really guidance for their heart.  This is particularly so for young women who can be distracted by externals, such as their own appearance or competing with the beauty of others.

King Solomon instructs us to be very diligent in protecting our heart, because the reactions of our heart become the “issues” we have to live with and deal with in our lives.

“Keep your heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23

“Solomon my son, know the God of your father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searches all hearts, and understands all the imaginations of the thoughts: if you seek him, he will be found of you; but if you forsake him, he will cast you off for ever.”  1Chronicles 28:9

Womanly Issues

From my counselling experience and from my reading of the Bible I am aware of several issues which women are likely to struggle with.  I want to draw them to your attention with the caution that these areas deserve careful consideration to keep the heart free.

I note, for example, that women are more concerned about security and preparation for the future than their husbands often are.  I note, too, that women want to feel “loved” and yet their husbands can often neglect them without realising it.  I also note that women can fall into contention, argument and having the last word, when they are upset with their husbands.

Then there is the reflection about womanhood that I once heard from Iverna Thompkins.  She observed to a large group of women that men tend to have a pigeonhole for everything – from work, to the kids, to the car, wife, dog, etc.  A man can therefore shut off to his unhappy thoughts or feelings about work (or some other issue) when he faces something that is not in that pigeonhole, such as playing with his children.

Iverna observed that women operate differently.  “For us girls,” she observed, “it’s just ONE BIG HOLE!” What she meant is that if a woman is upset about one thing her feelings spill over to everything else as well.

This leads to the observation that women must pay attention to Solomon’s advice to gain “rule over your own spirit”.

“He that has no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.” Proverbs 25:28

Proverbs 31 Woman

It is often observed that the last chapter in the book of Proverbs provides a description of an ideal woman.  Many women, therefore, take note of that description and try to match the various qualities, such as rising early, running a home business, and so on.

Let me remind you that it is not our actions but our heart that is the heart of the matter.  Despite the many activities described there, the key verse for women is not about wool, flax, food, enterprise or rising early.  The key verse is about the heart.

“Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that fears the LORD, she shall be praised.”  Proverbs 31:30

The true “Proverbs 31 Woman” is defined by a heart to fear the Lord.

So let me point out how having such a heart makes you a very rare woman indeed.

Humility and Faith

I believe the two most powerful qualities a young woman can develop, and which will save her from the many traps that womankind falls into, are humility and faith.

Pride is a terrible thing in a woman because it leads her to fight and argue with her husband, which is the very opposite of being submissive and fitting in with his plans.  Let me show you how that works.

A contentious woman is proverbial, both in modern society and in the Bible.  King Solomon made repeated references to how terrible it is to be around a woman who is contentious.

“It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.”  Proverbs 21:19

“… the contentions of a wife are a continual dropping.” Proverbs 19:13b

Putting up with a contentious woman is like Chinese water torture!

So where do contentions come from?  Contention is evidence of Pride!

Only by pride comes contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.”  Proverbs 13:10

And a fruit of pride is that people look down on others, scorning them, and holding them in contempt.  That’s why getting rid of a “scorner” removes contention.  Scorn is an evidence of pride of heart.

Cast out the scorner, and contention shall go out; yea, strife and reproach shall cease.”  Proverbs 22:10

Scorning the Husband

One of my lovely daughters-in-law related a few years ago how she attended a ladies group in her church and all the women did was complain about their husbands.  These young wives held their husbands in contempt.  They “scorned” them.  This means they had pride in their own heart about how much better they, as women, were, compared with their husbands.

When a wife lectures her husband, scolds him, belittles him, treats him like a naughty schoolboy, takes control over him and the like, she is in pride and is scorning her husband.

Yet it seems very easy for a woman to do that.  So beware of your heart.

Wives are commanded to submit to and honour their husband.  If you do not rule your heart properly you will probably find contentions coming from you because you scorn your husband.

The Place of Faith

I mentioned the need for both humility and faith.  I have shown that humility is important, to neutralise pride that leads to scorning and contention.  So, what about faith?

Wives are instructed to submit to their husband.  Yet many wives struggle with the lack of care, wisdom and planning they see in their husbands.

Because women are geared toward a need for security, the impulsive, undisciplined actions of her husband can make a woman fearful.  From that place of fear, combined with scorn for her husband’s lack of care for her, a woman can take control of the home and family, so she will feel secure.

This is where “faith” comes in.  Since it is God who commands the woman to submit, she must seek to do so with all her heart.  If she is insecure in the abilities and thoughtfulness of her husband, then she must focus her faith on God, not her husband.

A wife may pray something like this: “Lord, I know You want me to submit to my husband.  But he is so irresponsible and I am afraid for myself and our children.  He wastes money and makes decisions on impulse, despite all the times I try to get him to grow up!  But Lord, I want to worship You by obeying Your instructions.  So I choose to submit to my husband and honour him.  I do this as an act of faith in You.  I give You my fears and my needs.  I ask You to protect me from my husband’s foolishness.”

Such a prayer places the woman’s faith where it is supposed to be; on God, not the husband.

Out of Order

The ideal woman is one who fears the Lord (Proverbs 31:30), and rules her own spirit, having both humility and faith.  So what is a woman like if she does not follow this wisdom?

A woman who does not fear God allows her pride and fear control her, so she then seeks to control the man and children in her life.  This is where we get the idea of the matriarch who rules the family, or the woman who makes her husband a “hormone hostage”.

Manipulation and control are a ready pitfall for a woman who is out of order.  King Solomon has a description of such a woman.

“And I find more bitter than death the woman whose heart is snares and nets, and her hands as bands: the one who pleases God will escape from her; but the sinner will be taken by her.”  Ecclesiastes 7:26

Note that a man will feel like it is better to be dead than to live with such a woman.  That has echoes of the comment about living in the desert rather than putting up with a contentious woman.

I have had to counsel both men and women who struggled with the manipulation and control of a mother or wife.  Such control is more than just emotional, it is devilish, because it is rebellion against the will of God.

Witchcraft in the Home

While a godly woman is a most wonderful thing, a rebellious and contentious woman is a bitter thing.  However the deeper danger is the spiritual curse such a woman can bring in a marriage and home.  So let me add this observation to caution your heart.

A woman driven by fear, pride, scorn, self-will and an out of control heart will be in rebellion against God and he husband.  And “rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft”.

“For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.”  1Samuel 15:23a

If a wife was to practice witchcraft in the home then spiritual oppression would come upon her, her husband and the family.  So, when a wife practices rebellion against God’s instruction to submit to her husband, she also brings spiritual oppression upon herself, her husband and the family.

This is part of the “snares and nets” problem a woman can be in a home.

What is Ruling You?

If a wife gives in to her impulses, fears, pride or reactions, she will be out of control.  She will not be under God’s headship, nor will she be under her husband’s headship.  Instead she will be ruled by her fears and other things that are ungodly.

If she then tries to contend, manipulate, control, argue and the like she is exalting that wrong spirit over the home.  Her husband should not give in to her, otherwise he is saying to Jesus, “You can’t be the head of this home right now, because my wife wants that spirit of anger to rule her and me.”

A wise husband will resist his wife’s manipulation and control, tantrums, outbursts, verbal attacks, contentions or the like, because he wants Jesus to remain as the head of the home, not some out of order attitude or spirit that wants to rule through the wife.

A Good Thing

Don’t think that these cautions mean women are terrible or evil.  All men and women have fallen short of God’s glory.  The challenge for each of us is to be holy as our God is holy.  For women that involves some challenges different to men, and vice versa.

It is God’s favour to give you as a godly wife to a man the Lord blesses.

Whoever finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favour of the LORD.”  Proverbs 18:22

Godly women want to be a blessing.  And you are.  You are a gift to your husband.

Note, as a final word of caution, that you are a blessing when you are a “wife”.  A woman who is married to a man but acts as his superior, boss, mother, manipulator, jailer or the like is not his “wife”.  Being married to a man makes you a wife in human terms, but not according to God’s plan.

I call upon each of you to be a godly wife, by living in humility and faith and the fear of God, ruling your own spirit, so you do not give in to fear, pride, scorn, manipulation, control or any other thing that leads to rebellion against God.

And may the Lord bless you as you do.

Rejection 17 – Self Pity

A Rejection Profile is handled differently by people. So there is no exact image of a rejected person. I suggest that there are several lifestyles which people carrying rejection will be drawn toward. Which one any person settles for depends on their personality and other factors.

This lesson looks at the first of the “stopping points” where a rejected person may end up.

The Defeatist

Some people respond to rejection by simply giving up all hope for a normal life. These people tend to be the defeatists, who take on a self-pity based persona, as their response to what they have suffered. While others may have a strong sense of fight, or be motivated by rage or a desire to be popular, the defeatist seems to wallow in their pain and make it the focus of their life.

Since all rejected people feel at some point that everything is against them, the defeatist succumbs to those impressions and gives up any hope of winning against them.

This does not mean, however, that the person buried in self-pity is not still quite cunning, exploitative, manipulative or the like. Their choice to live in self-pity is, in itself, a survival strategy.

reject-02-heart-cryPity Poor Me

The defeatist takes on the persona of a loser and plays the “Pity Poor Me!” performance. Some are genuinely shattered and unable to find their feet. Others have simply chosen that they have no real chance of winning, so they may as well exploit the sympathies of others around them.

Many people on welfare have taken the “pity poor me” value system, but can be quite demanding and exploitative, despite their helpless position.

Those who are emotionally unstable may be lost in their depression and downcast feelings. Those who are more resilient emotionally may be careful to look out for those they can manipulate to assist them, no the basis of their “pity poor me” situation.

Withdrawal From Life

The ‘loser’ mentality that goes with the Self-pity persona may cause some people to withdraw from life. They have certainly withdrawn from the race and the competitive elements of life. They no longer expect to have the nice things that others have. They expect to live life on other people’s left-overs and charity.

Sadly, many people who go down this road lose their ability to take responsibility. They have withdrawn to the point of refusing to take responsibility when it is appropriate for them to do so.

I have seen second generation welfare recipients refuse to take up opportunities for personal success, since they will then lose their ‘benefits’. They have withdrawn to the point of refusing to re-enter life, even when they are well able to do so. One lady I knew was forced back into employment and excelled at her work, achieving financial freedom. But initially she refused to even try, for fear of losing the benefits she had become addicted to.

Emotional Wreck

Some people become so messed up emotionally that they weep openly and have public displays of emotion which others would avoid doing. Rather than hide their shame, pain and need, they let it all hang out, spilling their mess without any care. They seem to be beyond embarrassment.

They have given up. They have abdicated from life. And in so doing they have lost the ability to hold themselves together or to show appropriate decorum in certain situations.

People in this situation pull at the heart strings of the compassionate, and that leads to the next problem area for the “pity poor me” reject.

Dumping Onto Others

People who have given up usually try to find others to carry them. They need support emotionally and in most other areas of their life. Rather than being able to contribute to relationships and life in general, these people tend to always be making emotional withdrawals, at the expense of others. They dump their problems onto others.

The welfare networks and caring professions are often targets of these people. They look for people who could or should help them and they exploit that help when they can. They may ask others to manage their money, fill out their paperwork, make decisions for them, be there whenever they call, and otherwise become their permanent lifeline.

They usually have an excuse for everything and often have a whining story to tell about their hard-luck background. “I always wanted to play piano, but we were too poor for lessons.” “If only my dad didn’t leave things would have been different.” And so it goes.

Such people are terribly draining and usually wear out or burn out those they rely on. They become a bottomless pit of needs.

Manipulation

Some people in this self-pity mode become experts at wheedling their way into situations, exploiting other people, especially those who have a soft heart, and using people for their own ends.

When a self-pity person is denied any support they can prove to be quite resourceful, but when someone comes along who they can manipulate, they suddenly become “helpless” again.

When there is something to get for nothing, or some opportunity somewhere, the self-pity person can often be the first to line up, expecting to get whatever is available.

Sadly, these people are almost impossible to satisfy. When they are given more, they find some reason to put it down as “not enough”. Their need is not so much real, but perceived from their own internal mess. So, no matter what is done for them they never rise out of the situation they are in.

Irresponsibility

The self-pity mode is one of irresponsibility. The pity-poor-me person has stopped trying to make life work with God’s grace and the responsible use of what they have. Instead, they have chosen to give up and even to make other people carry their load for them.

This position of abandonment undermines their life and leaves them on the ground of complaint, unhappiness, inability to be fulfilled, and so on. They are controlled by the feelings they have given in to.

It can be very difficult to help these people to move into true freedom. Freedom means they will have to accept responsibility shoulder their own load and take their place in society. They will no longer have an excuse or be able to dump their responsibilities onto others. So, they are likely to resist coming into freedom. It takes a work of grace to awaken their hunger for wholeness and their hope in God for glorious liberty.

A Temporary Condition

Many rejection sufferers, however, do not wish to remain in the trap of self-pity. So in the next few lessons I’ll discuss some different outcomes which rejection victims gravitate toward.

Once that is done we can look in detail at how the Lord sets people free and I can share more of my own testimony of coming into freedom.

Rebel Queen

While weak husbands can become Dungeon Lord of their home, wives damage their marriage by becoming the Rebel Queen. Some women seek to subvert their husband’s home from day one.
They run an ongoing insurgency in the home, either to resist the husband’s leadership or subvert his world under her own control.

Queen

Pride in Heart

Some wives live in the delusion that they are morally superior to their husbands. Their sensibilities to domestic order, cleanliness, social propriety and the like testify to them that they are the morally superior being and the husband in the oaf or ogre who must be tamed.

Such thoughts spring from pride and self exaltation. From that position the wife can justify her efforts to enslave the husband and make him serve her leadership. She can equally justify her resistance and insurrection.

If the wife cannot win the husband she may at least enlist the children to her cause, values and domestic wisdom. The “don’t be like your father” message may be played repeatedly by the wife to push her rebel cause.

Enslaving the Husband

Because most men want their wife to be happy it is possible for women to enslave the husband, making him servant to her standards and ideals. The wife may restrict the man in his own home (“Don’t sit in THAT chair!”), dictate what he eats and drinks (“Don’t eat before dinner!”), control his money (“Don’t come to me for more!”), set the family goals and plans (“These kids are going to go to Uni!”), and so on.
Some men happily comply with this rebel cause, to keep the peace and in gratitude for having a woman in their life.

Other men are more stubborn and set on their own will. The wife may then end up in a long-term cold war of passive resistance, contention, manipulation and the like. While she may not enslave her husband, she can be a constant resistance against all the things he wants to do that don’t fit her will.

Abducting His Life

I have seen wives who simply abduct their husband’s life. Instead of being his helper, as per God’s design for the woman in Genesis 2, she sees the husband as the means to fulfilment of her dreams.
Her aspirations of wealth, home, lifestyle, etc, are forced on the husband. She sees it as her role in life to tame his wishes, and make them subservient to her own.

Many men happily comply with this abduction, not seeing how completely the family values, direction, achievements and aspirations are being set by the wife. The wife’s values and goals may be fine. But when she asserts them, in place of submission to the husband as head, she abducts the home. She is acting in rebellion against God.

A True Wife

God created the role of ‘wife’, and He made the woman to be the man’s helper. The man who finds a ‘wife’ finds a good thing (Proverbs 18:22). The man with a rebel queen has not found a good thing. A woman doesn’t become a godly wife, as a gift to her husband, just by saying “I do”. She must fulfil her unique part as ‘wife’ in her husband’s life.

The true wife is instructed to submit to her husband. He is her head and she is his helper, assisting him to fulfil God’s call on his life. She is not lord of her husband. She is not queen of the home. She is not the focus on the husband’s life. She is not there to be served.

A true wife does not manipulate, undermine, compete, resist or frustrate her husband. She empowers him by being wind in his sails, as he seeks to be the man God calls him to be.

The Rebel

When a woman rules her own home she is in rebellion against God. As a rebel queen she not only stands against her husband’s authority, but against God’s authority too.

The reason many woman engage in subversion of the home is insecurity. She fears that the husband’s ego-driven decisions will be unwise, self-serving and damaging to future security. In her insecurity she rises up and take control.

She needs to put her trust in the Lord and find security in Him. She needs to worship God, by being what He made her to be, not what her self-interest prompts her to be.

Another reason women rebel is their pride. Many have a deluded sense of moral superiority as if that gives them a different place to the one God gave them. Pride exalts, and when women exalt themselves over the husband, pride is at play. But pride leads to destruction, so it must never be pandered to.

True Beauty

The Bible teaches that a woman’s true, inner beauty comes from a submissive spirit. When a woman submits to her husband, not because she fully trusts his wisdom, but because she is determined to glorify God, a new radiance glows from within her (see 1Peter 3:3-6).

The rebel queen will never fulfil her natural beauty. She will become hardened and her efforts will be unfruitful. Her pride will lead to destruction. Going her own way will lead to death and failure. Her fears will enslave her. She will pluck down her home with her own hands (Proverbs 14:1).

A Life of Trust

Women were designed to help their husband. They are designed to be under instruction, not taking lordship. This requires trust. Her trust is not in her husband and his wisdom. Her trust is to be securely placed in the Lord, as her source of supply and defence from harm.

A life of trust in God is the highest life a wife can live. Becoming a rebel queen is the total opposite to that high calling.

Life will not be without challenges. No husband will always delight his wife. We may all have to miss out on some things we desire. But when a wife can lay down her own life, to take on the calling of ‘wife’, she will find a life far richer and more fulfilling than the one she would demand her husband to build for her.

The Crash of 2008 part 2

We are experiencing an historic time which will be referred to in future years. What we don’t know yet is just how deep this crash is and the extent of the fallout which will come from it. What we do know is that markets are reeling and multiplied millions of people have already been affected.

Banks have been nationalised. Millions of people have lost their homes. Billions of dollars of stock value has disappeared in days. Fortunes have been lost and won. International summits have been called. Moments of hope have been established, only to be demolished by the next wave of bad news.

You’ll be able to tell your grandchildren you went through the Crash of 2008!

The Big Question

The big question that people want answered is, “What is really going on?” Is this the end of the world or just a bump along the road to progress? Will everything right itself or will the carnage continue?

To help you understand what is going on I have pulled together a list of factors that have contributed to our current situation.

Greed

Greed or the Love of Money gives people a willingness to put all at risk in order to get a profit. And greed is a big part of the operation of modern markets, whatever people are dealing with.

Back in the days of the South Sea Bubble the Poet Alexander Pope pointed to greed as a key factor in the huge losses of his day. He said of the South Sea debacle – “See Britain sunk in Lucre’s sordid charms”. By this he saw that it was the lust for “lucre” (money) that had dragged Britain into the quagmire of terrible losses.

The Apostle Paul taught that the “love of money” is the root of all evil – 1Timothy 6:10. Christians must be free from the desire for “greedy gain” (filthy lucre) 1Timothy 3:3,8, Titus 1:7,11, 1Peter 5:2.

I have often heard it noted that our present financial systems are dominated by Greed and Fear. These emotions dominate our markets and most financial decisions.

So greed is clearly one of the culprits in our present situation. If the world’s finances were to move to a better footing they would be based on the use of money for noble purposes, not to indulge people’s greedy ambitions.

International Power Brokers

There are people with sufficient financial power to control what happens to the rest of us. A number of the financial busts that have happened over the centuries have been created by financial manipulators.

It is claimed that one crash in the USA was planned four years in advance, so the bankers could buy farming land from bankrupted farmers. For those who want to get some idea of the history of international financiers acting as power brokers check out the Money Masters videos on YouTube.

Orchestrated Financial Machinations can enable those in control to gain the wealth and assets of others. For example, one strategy could be to allow people to make money and start new industries, then create a bust so you can buy the proven winners cheaply, then allow another boom, so you get the profit from other people’s innovation and hard work.

If people have borrowed money then they can be trapped into having to sell their asset to pay their debts. Thus their assets get taken off them.

In the present situation we will probably never know the extent to which the problems have been orchestrated by high-level power players. It is safe to say, however, that it is likely that people of power and influence have been active in the markets, steering things to their advantage when they can.

Divine Intervention

God is bigger than all the banks and governments in the world. When God brings judgement on a people or nation those being judged will suffer all kinds of negative things.

The Bible reveals how God brought enemies, famine, diseases and trouble upon the nation of Israel and other nations. God even prophesied in advance that those things were going to happen.

God also promises that if His people humble themselves and pray He will “heal their land”. “If my people, which are called by my name, will humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” 2Chronicles 7:14

I am confident that God is at work in this present situation. I also believe that if God’s people will humble themselves and get right with God then further upheaval can be averted. I rather suspect, however, that we are heading down a rough road and people will persist in their rebellion for a while longer.

Sin has a Part to Play

The Bible says that sin is a reproach to a nation.

“Righteousness exalts a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.” Proverbs 14:34

God promises to curse people who reject Him, with famine and financial loss. See Deuteronomy 28 for the extensive discussion of blessings and curses on those who respond differently to God’s Word.

When nations give themselves over to selfishness and sin they bring problems and calamity onto themselves. The selfish determination to live as we please is sin, and God has every right to judge us for such defiance of His claim upon our lives.

Mammon is Ruling the Nations

Jesus said we either worship God or Mammon. Mammon is the desire for gain and the elevation of material wellbeing and self-interest over our willingness to worship God.

I have pointed out in other places that western culture is given over to the worship of Mammon. Instead of living for God and glorifying Him whole nations are living for self and glorifying themselves.

God says “Love Your Neighbour”, and Mammon says “Exploit Your Neighbour”. God says “Trust Me and I Will Bless You”, but Mammon says “Serve Me and I Will Bless You”.

Western Culture and much of the world are ruled by the desire for gain, not the willingness to bless others.

What is Going On?

What is going on is that we are reaping what we have sown. Greed, Power Games, Sin and Mammon worship have set us up for God’s response. God is intent on having us worship Him, as is our responsibility, since He gave us life and everything in it.

So the next concern we have to think about is, “What is God doing in all of this?” That is what I will take up with you when we come to the third instalment in this discussion.

Hurt Spirits Picnic

How would it be if a bunch of smelly, spiteful, murderous and hateful creatures were having a picnic on your lounge-room floor? How would it be if a bunch of ‘hurt spirits’ regularly turned your home into their picnic ground? Well, that’s what a lot of marriages allow to happen.

I talked before about how Hurt Spirits work in marriages (see: Hurt Spirits Working). The spirit stirs up hurt feelings in one or other of the spouses, prompting them to act out of that hurt. The spouse may be prompted to pout, withdraw, accuse, manipulate, contend, be angry or whatever. As soon as the ‘hurt’ spouse begins to behave like that, especially out of their own hurt feelings, their actions cause hurt in the other spouse. Thus the cycle of hurt is ignited and the relationship is set on a course of destruction and pain.

I believe that this process is epidemic in marriages today and most couples, including Christian couples who should know better, get caught in this ‘device’ of the enemy. We are not supposed to be ignorant concerning the enemy’s devices, but this one seems to have slipped in and caught many couples in the trap of celebrating their pain.

What the hurt spirits want to do is to move in to your home and host picnics in your kitchen, lounge-room, bedrooms and so on. They want to turn your home into a pain-filled picnic-ground where hurt spirits feel completely at home and can celebrate their evil influence over your marriage. The Hurt Spirits want to picnic at your place.

So, let me unpack for you what is really going on. The hurt spirits want to enshrine ‘hurt’ and hurt feelings as the top priority in the home. In a culture that is selfish and self-centred, that is easier than it would be in a godly culture. So, as the West becomes increasingly selfish, hurt spirits have a much easier time picking off the easy targets. There are more hurt spirit picnics these days than at times in the past.

Hurt spirits want to make ‘hurt’ the central theme of your home. So these spirits arouse feelings of hurt in marriages. They remind people that they are being neglected, misunderstood or offended. They point out that their spouse is not being what they wanted them to be. They stir up feelings of offence, frustration, disappointment and so on. As soon as a person buys into the hurt the next stage is to accentuate it until it becomes a central issue for that person, not just a passing feeling.

As the couples begin to fight with each other and hurt each other the stage is set for the home to be polarised by hurt feelings. The couple may withdraw from each other, only heightening the feelings of hurt they each carry. They may play ‘no speaks’, or one or other may become demanding, contentious, angry, resentful, or the like. Before long the unresolved hurt feelings have become king in the home.

No progress seems possible until the huge burden of hurt can be dealt with. Yet the mountain of hurt feelings is SO enormous that it would take a giant person to be able to wade through it all. The marriage may end up just limping on, with both spouses making the most of the good moments and battening down for the stormy times.

Both husband and wife will desperately want their marriage healed, but the hurt spirit will continue to stoke the fires of hurt, frustration, offence, etc, to ensure that the barrier between the couple remains firm.

Now, that’s the enemy’s strategy. Would you like to know the solution? I think it’s remarkably simple and delightfully do-able.

First step toward breaking this cursed cycle is to recognise that it is going on. I explained to a couple recently that their problem is the action of a hurt spirit and they were able to make gains in their relationship from that very night. So, this article needs to be passed on to as many people as you can get it to, so couples recognise what they are really dealing with. For some, that very realisation will be liberating and allow them to move toward forgiveness and healing.

The second step is to dethrone the hurt. Hurt and hurt feelings are not meant to picnic in your home. They are not meant to be on the throne in your heart. They are not meant to have any place in your home or heart at all. If you keep them on the throne, demanding that they be placated, you will stay in slavery to their destructive work.

Much more worthy and noble things should be on the throne in your home and heart. Righteousness and the fear of God should be exalted in your home, not hurt feelings. Humility, submission, grace, love, peace, forgiveness, compassion, hope and joy are much more worthy things for centre stage than hurt can ever be.

As you dethrone hurt you now need to push past it, knocking it to the ground and walking all over it. When a hurt spirit jumps up and says, “You should despise your spouse”, knock that thing to the ground as you step toward your spouse and fulfil your godly calling in their life.

Husbands, press in to love your wife, while she is throwing hurt into your face. Wives, press in to submit to your husband while he is hurling hurt into your heart. Determine that you will be who God has created you to be and you will serve Him, not some dirty demon.

Don’t let the demons picnic at your place. When the hurt spirits turn up with their picnic basket, throw them out. And fall on your knees to worship the true and living God, not some filthy demon who hates you and your marriage. Don’t give in to their goading and their fear-filled stories of what will become of you if you don’t stand up for your rights and fight your spouse. Reject their taunts and the aroused emotions of your heart.

Be who God has made you to be and do what He wants you to do, whether you have hurt feelings or a heart of joy. As soon as you change course to accommodate hurt feelings you have elevated hurt above God and allowed the hurt spirits in with their picnic baskets. If you purpose to do what God asks you do to, no matter whether it is easy or hard or whether you are filled with joy or struggling with pain, you have dedicated your heart and home to God, and fortified it against evil spirits.

It is time to withstand the enemy’s scheme. It is time to resist him to his face. It is time to fight the demons, not our spouse. It is time to so worship God that we do what He asks us to do, despite the hurt feelings our situation prompts within us. Cast your care onto Him, don’t take arms against your spouse.

And let us celebrate the glorious liberty which God gives us as His children. Don’t let that bully who hates you have any place in your heart, home or marriage.

“Lord God, we ask You to empower us with wisdom and insight, to see the enemy’s hand at work and to resist him with all the authority of heaven. Lord, forgive us for elevating hurt feelings when You ask us to elevate forgiveness. Forgive us for fighting with our spouse, instead of fighting with the enemy. Forgive us for pressing on in our own strength, instead of working in Your power. Now, come and deliver us from all evil we pray, in Jesus’ name, Amen.”