Monday, May 26, 2008

oh be careful little tongue, what you say!

I've been reading Liz Curtis Higgs' book "Bad Girls of the Bible" for my Tuesday morning Bible study, and this week I was catching up when I read the story of Delilah. You remember Samson and Delilah- he trusted her, she betrayed him, and ultimately that stuff led to his renewing of faith in the Lord and his death.

Delilah betrayed the man who loved her because she was selfish and some Philistines offered her money that she didn't want to refuse. I got to thinking, and realized how often women do that to their husbands. We are so selfish that we betray a trust or say something that humiliates or brings shame to our husbands. Some things that I can think of that we may selfishly be interested in are: popularity/status, acceptance, power, a role we want to achieve/job we want to do, money, security, beauty, freedom, etc.

I have an example to share, and have my husband's permission to retell this story of a time that I brought humiliation to him because of my own selfish desires. Our church had a men's retreat a while back, and one of Ken's friends was trying really hard to get him to go. I thought he was going until the friend said something to me about it, that Ken had declined the invitation to have his way paid. The friend wanted to know why Ken wasn't going to go, and I just told him I didn't know. Instead of leaving it at that, the friend started asking Ken, and when he didn't answer, the friend started asking me again. After several times of getting the third degree, I did what Delilah did- I asked Ken for a reason. At first he didn't tell me, and then said he didn't like hunting for no gain. When his friend wasn't satisfied, I started nagging Ken (ladies, from my own experience, nagging doesn't work) and finally he told me he didn't want to go on the retreat because he didn't want to spend that much time away from me. I thought that was sweet, and I was so intent on getting Ken's friend off my back that I didn't think about how a guy would see that answer, that it could be embarrassing for Ken to explain to his buddies. So I shared the information.

You can guess by now that it didn't go well. The friend called Ken up and hounded him about his reason for not going on the men's retreat. I felt guilty for sharing publicly something that was shared with me in confidence between husband and wife. I should have treasured the fact that my husband is so dedicated and loves me so much that he didn't want to spend days without me.

I'm sure everybody has their story, and I'm also certain that many would try to justify their selfish actions to make themselves feel better about sinning against their husband. In her book, Higgs points out that we never know whether or not Delilah loved Samson, but only that he loved her. They were not married, but I looked in the Bible anyway for a command for women to love their husbands. I did not find any explicit command that we must feel those lovey-dovey mushy romantic feelings for them, but only that we are bound by the command to love our brothers. Husbands are given a specific command to love their wives as Christ loves the Church. So I see no justification for people saying things like, "he did it first" or "I don't see the problem- he doesn't show love for me, why should I be kind to him in return?"

Unfortunately, we often overlook blatant sins because we are only thinking of ourselves. Even if our husband is not following God's instructions, we are told to be examples to him.

In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. 1 Peter 3:1-2

There is no room to be catty or two-faced and plot to disrespect our husbands. If you'll look at scripture you will see that it is not our job to act out revenge on those who have sinned against us, or those we do not want to submit to.

Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay, " says the Lord. Romans 12:19

I encourage you to look at your own actions and search for those places where you have sinned against your husband. Then repent and ask God's forgiveness for those sins, and ask your husband to forgive you also for disrespecting him. We are to be examples to others of what Christ has done in our lives, and one step that is crucial is to form our marriages to the biblical standard that we may be an example for them. Remember, it's not about selfishness, it's about God, and bringing glory to Him in every aspect of our lives.

But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. Colossians 3:8

... in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us. Titus 2:7-8

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