Women With Wise Words part 2

In part 1 of this topic I pointed out that women are known historically for being contentious. That means that some women tend to say things that make for argument and strife.

“It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house.” Proverbs 21:9

“A foolish son is the calamity of his father: and the contentions of a wife are a continual dropping.” Proverbs 19:13

I pointed out that the basis for such trouble-making words is “pride” and that it involves a desire to “rule” others and be their “judge”. Insecurity has a part to play in that as well.

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I won’t repeat the background points made in part 1, but if you missed them I encourage you to go back and brush-up on the points made there.

Wise Words

The point of these articles is to teach women and all who need to know it, to stop contending and start sharing. Wise words do not lead to contention. Hasty, angry, thoughtless words will tend toward strife. So I want to give you some wise counsel about alternative ways to respond, rather than with contentious words and argument.

There are two issues that need to be addressed. One is your heart and intention. If you are given to strife, like the woman I mentioned in part 1, then you will step into strife all the time. That woman ended up in strife with another lady in her church, and she was known as a difficult person to befriend.

The second issue is the appropriate process to follow. Even with the right intentions we need people to give us guidance about the best way to do things.

Let me discuss these two issues with you, to point you in the right direction.

The Heart of the Matter

If you are contending with your husband, your children or others, there will be something going on in your heart that prompts you to do so. You may be wrestling with disappointment, that your family and marriage are not what you want them to be. You may be wrestling with unforgiveness for offences they have brought upon you. You may be frustrated because you have not been able to achieve some personal ambition, which may even go back to your childhood.

Whatever the issue that is gnawing at your heart, you need to resolve it and give it to God. You are to cast all of your cares upon Him because He cares for you.

Casting all your care upon him; for he cares for you.” 1Peter 5:7

Stop looking to people to deliver you from your challenges. Trust those issues to God. Your husband, children, family, friends, career and social connections cannot do for you what God is meant to do. If you trust in people to be your saviour you bring a curse upon yourself.

“The LORD says; A curse on the man that trusts in man, and makes flesh his arm, and whose heart departs from the LORD. For he will be like the heath in the desert, and will not see when good comes; but will inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land.” Jeremiah 17:5,6

Determine to trust God, and not to carry heart issues toward people who let you down. People are imperfect and only God can be your deliverer.

Control Your Speech

As you deal with your heart attitudes also take steps to control your speech. Hasty, impulsive, reactionary words will keep you in the unhappy cycle of contention. Stop contending and start sharing.

When your husband or child says something that you want to react to, stop yourself immediately. Don’t leap into the automatic response that you are urged to offer. Bite your tongue and hold yourself until you can find a wise and honouring response.

It is not easy to tame the tongue. The Apostle James warned us of that.

“But no man can tame the tongue; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.” James 3:8

We cannot do it in our own strength and so we need God’s grace and power to master our verbal responses. Start by trying to hold your tongue. And call out for God’s help at the same time.

Wise Counselor

Stop taking the position of ruler and judge and take on the role of wise counsellor to your husband and children. Stop violating their will, by being demanding, argumentative, emotionally charged and manipulative. You are not their king or judge, so drop that role. Take on the much more valuable role of being a godly counsellor to your family.

Compare the Roles

In one home the children are about to head off to school. As they do so the mother calls after them with a bunch of questions, like, “Did you remember your book?” “You’ll need something warmer than that!” “Don’t dawdle on the way home.” And so on.

The children are not really paying attention, because they know that if they have forgotten something their mum will take up the issue for them. They are just mindlessly running out the door as they always do.

In a nearby home the children have all gathered to their mum before heading off to school. She will pray with them, but not until they can account for all the things they need that day, to show they are properly prepared.

When she sees that one of them has forgotten something she wisely asks, “Now, isn’t there something else you said you had to take to school today?” Thus she prompts her children to remember. When they are all fully prepared she blesses them and sends them off with a hug.

The second mum is coaching and counselling her children as she shares her life with them. The first mum is acting like their ruler and judge, apart from their life, rather that sharing it with them.

Helping Hubby

In one home a husband announces that he thinks it’s time to buy a new car. His wife reacts with irritation and scolds him for thinking about a new car when they can’t be sure they have the money for other expenses. He defends by saying he was only thinking about it, but she launches in and gives him the history of all his unwise decisions. She further blasts him for never listening to her, always doing his own thing and making her feel so worthless.

The husband shrinks away, rattled and stung. He finds some excuse to be out of the home and away from the woman who is contending with him. It is better for him to be in the pub, or at work, or anywhere else, than with his wife when she is in that frame of mind.

In another home a husband announces that he thinks it’s time to buy a new car. The wife smiles and affirms her husband. “You do love cars, don’t you? What do you have in mind?” The husband begins to share his thoughts and the wife enjoys them with him.

After a time of happy discussion she asks him how he can possibly afford it at this time, and if there is anything she can do to help make it possible. Together they realise that it is really only a dream, until they can get on top of some other commitments. However they thoroughly enjoyed the dream and will both be delighted when it is realised.

In the second example the wife is sharing life with her husband. They are partners in the process, not adversaries contending over an issue.

Getting the Picture?

Can you see how dropping the role of ruler and judge takes the contention out of the discussion? Sharing life together is much more rewarding for you and your family, than becoming an adversary to your loved ones. I hope you are getting the picture that even disagreements can be worked through, rather than turned into a stand-up fight.

I want to give you more examples of “sharing” instead of contending. I want you to feel comfortable with changing the way you relate and speak to one another. I’ll give you those examples in part 3 of Women With Wise Words.

To go directly to Part 3 of this series click this link:
http://chrisfieldblog.com/?p=1193

Women With Wise Words part 1

Some women struggle with their tongue. So here is practical advice for wives and mothers and for others who end up creating trouble through their words. The point is to stop contending and start sharing. Let me explain.

The Unruly Tongue

The Apostle James, Jesus’ younger brother, warned that the human tongue is impossible to tame. Everyone says the wrong thing at times, and those who rule their tongue have mastered their whole life.

“For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.” James 3:2

“But no man can tame the tongue; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.” James 3:8

Only God can empower us to tame our tongue. So we need God’s wisdom and His grace and power to succeed in this important challenge.

The Argumentative Woman

bossyIt is significant that the Bible makes several references to an argumentative woman. On three occasions King Solomon advised that you are better off living on the rooftop or the wilderness rather than with a woman who wants to argue with you.

“It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house.” Proverbs 21:9

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

“It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman and in a wide house.” Proverbs 25:24

We know that men, women and children can all be argumentative, so the points made in this lesson can be put to use by us all. But the argumentative woman is clearly bad news and a common enough reality for repeated mention in the Bible.

Contending

Let’s look at the dynamics that occur in contention and argument. Contending is a form of fighting. Two people become adversaries when they contend with each other. One or both are trying to gain some victory over the other. Or one is trying to defend against the demands of another.

For some reason women have a propensity to become contentious. This means they will contend with their husband and their children. Possibly as younger women they will contend with their parents. And they probably contend with others, outside the family, as well.

Many husbands comment on how their wife “nags” them and how she will not let up on some point or other that she is trying to press upon them. Solomon even refers to this.

“A foolish son is the calamity of his father: and the contentions of a wife are a continual dropping.” Proverbs 19:13

The Roots of Contention

Contention springs from pride. King Solomon points out that contention only comes when pride is involved.

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

The pride that produces contention is linked to a person’s desire to rule others or to judge them. We know that from the Hebrew word for contention, ‘midyawn’, which comes from a Hebrew root word meaning to rule and to judge.

When a person is given to contending with others they are most likely motivated by pride in their own opinions or their own importance, and will feel they have the right to rule others and to judge them.

A contentious person can often operate as “judge, jury and executioner”. They take rulership over others and execute judgement upon them. They will do this purely on their own account, according to their own opinions and evaluation of a situation.

Powerless Women

I suspect that one of the motivations for some women to become argumentative and contentious is that they feel powerless. They feel the need to gain control over their husband and children, so they are not so vulnerable.

The godly challenge for women, however, is to submit to their husband. So women need to find security in God, not in their powers of argument. Since it is God who asks them to submit, they can appeal to God to protect and bless them, even if they have grave concerns about their husband’s leadership abilities.

When women become secure in God’s care for them, they will not need to “rule” or “judge” others. They will be content and happy to get on with the life God gave them.

Contending on Autopilot

I have noticed that contentious people are quick to scoff, rebut, react and create arguments.

I recall an example from my time in New Zealand. While preaching, I asked a builder in the church for an on-the-spot estimate of the length of the building. I was showing how people develop good estimation skills. He scanned the building, then said, “Fifty Feet”. Immediately an older woman in the congregation gave a loud scoffing, “Hoh!” She clearly thought the estimate was ridiculous.

There was so much emotion in her mocking reaction that the builder later grabbed his tape-measure and confirmed that the building was within inches of the fifty feet he had estimated.

That lady had a problem. Without any ability to come up with an answer herself, she instantly and loudly contended with the very accurate information offered by someone who knew what he was talking about.

I am afraid many people who give in to contention are similarly ruled by it. They feel impelled to buy into things they are not qualified to speak about. They contend as if it was their automatic setting, whether they have anything to offer or not.

Getting Personal

Argumentative people also seem hard to instruct. When someone shows that they know what they are talking about the contender is likely to say something like, “You think you’re SO smart, don’t you?” They are unlikely to say, “Thank You. I’m glad you explained that to me.” Pride and the desire to dominate and judge others are at the heart of contention, so the contender will be too aroused to be humble and teachable.

Note too that if people feel threatened they will resort to personal attacks, rather than argue the issue at hand. Accusations, dredging up past failures, mockery, personal taunts and the like often find their way into arguments.

A Better Way

There is a much better way to communicate than to argue. Even if the other person is wrong there are better options than argument and contention. And it’s that better way that I really want to share with you. Now that I’ve taken so long with these background remarks, I’ll save the “better way” for Women With Wise Words part 2, which I’ll post in a couple of days.