Criticism vs. Hope
“He brought me to the banqueting house, And His banner over me was love,” Song of Solomon 2:4.
God is all for communication! He is pleased when we desire to know our mate through activities and discussion. He is even interested in our disagreements!
How we disagree is about character. That is what our study is about today. Ruth Graham once said that if your husband and you agree on everything, one of you is unnecessary. It is not wrong to disagree with your husband! It can be healthy.
The marriage union is one of equality of value between husband (head) and wife (helper), only according to God's Word. It is not a matter of greater or less importance, but of differing roles. If, at every time of disagreement, you believe you should ‘submit’ by denying your thoughts and taking his, your husband has just entered a realm in your heart reserved for God alone.
While it is right that a wife should feel free to lovingly share what is on her mind with her husband, she can easily enter into an area she doesn’t belong, one of deciding how her husband should live his life as her husband and the father of her children, and if it applies, as a man of God. A tell-tale sign will be when she begins to repeat the same message time and again with a heart of bitterness. “Better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and angry woman,” Proverbs 21:19. It is this kind of communication that will be addressed today. Sometimes it hurts to see where we fail, but that hurt will give way to healing if it is brought before Jesus!
Please read this carefully:
“Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husband, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear,” 1 Peter 3:1,2.
Believe it or not, this passage contains a promise of hope, not blame, for both you and your husband!
As a wife, do you feel that it is your responsibility to see that the entire family obeys God?
You do have responsibility before God to correct your children, but what is the result of trying to make correcting your husband part of your responsibility?
How does he respond?
What are your actions and words like?
Criticism doesn't respect people. See Revelation 12:10. Who accuses people, and before Whom?
How does it feel to be accused?
When a woman finds fault in her husband and condemns him with it, she is taking sides against one whom God loves, and is, in her soul, partnering, joining with the purposes of the enemy to attempt to destroy him.
Typically, will a person who loves their sin forsake it?
So the problem is deeper than outward actions.
Please find the word criticism in the dictionary and define it here:
What position do you take when you criticize your husband?
The promise for you is not that your husband will change, but it is about your life in Jesus. From 1 Peter 3:2, write what the promise of character from God is for your life.
Whoa! Is God saying that is this you will be spiritually faithful to Him instead of to the enemy? Yes! And is God saying that you will be reverent? That's what the fear of God is; it respects God.
So, yes, He is saying that His promise to us when we will turn to Him from criticizing our husband is that we will respect God in this area of our heart. With respect we will esteem Him, look toward Him, care what He thinks more than others, honor and give our attention to Him.
From Ephesians 5:33, what is God's desire for a wife's attitude toward her husband?
Please also see Ephesians 6:12. Who is your struggle against?
When we fight against a person, we are in the wrong battle! Disrespect is part of whose character?
To believe God for this victory, you must see that, being born again, you are identified in Christ, no longer in/with your old nature. Read 2 Corinthians 5:16- 17. Write it here, either word for word or what it means in your own words:
Your fight is for your husband, against the enemy in the power and victory of Jesus!
“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up,” James 4:10.
If it is time for you to grieve over your sin, do it before God.
Repent with this promise: Psalm 147:3. Please write it here:
Your hope is that Jesus will change you. He will save your from yourself! This is the power of His cross and resurrection! It doesn't matter how long it takes. You can't see all that must be done so that this is authentic, but Jesus can, and His work is sure. Put your trust in Him to draw you close to Himself. He is intensely interested in your heart in this. Continue to call on His name, memorize verses that speak directly to you on this issue, sing songs of worship to Him, do what He tells you to do , and wait for His deliverance!
“Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us,” Romans 5:3-5.
Your husband has a promise, too, and that is that he will see your intimacy with Jesus and in this way, understand who his enemy is. That is when he "may be won over"! The Lord Jesus makes the impossible possible! His reason? So that we might know Him. He's not so interested in performance as in the authenticity of the heart toward Him. Then the actions and heart are together. There's our safe haven.
Will you pray together with me?
Oh Father, how many times have I found fault and condemned my husband instead of praying to You for him about it! Forgive my sin, Lord. I remember the awful price that was paid for me. I remember that You are enough to wash me clean from my unfaithfulness. Please change me inside so that I will be on Your side, and that words of blessing and thankfulness will overflow from a heart filled with You. Help me believe that You do not blame me, but lavish me with hope! In Jesus' name, A-men.