So, in case you missed the memo, over the next couple of days I’m going to walk through a couple of sin tendencies I think we women struggle with. Let’s get started…
1. The Sin of Passive Interaction.
Recently, I’ve been processing with a dear friend of mine about the value of relational trust. A relationally trustworthy person is one who can communicate clearly, speak encouragement and truth in love. A relationally trustworthy person is one who deals with conflict in a direct, graceful and sincere way. They state expectations clearly and receive correction humbly.
For some reason, women have a tendency towards passive (or occasionally passive aggressive) communication. When their feelings are hurt they pout, or play the victim, waiting for someone to pursue them and seek them out to pursue what is wrong, instead of seeking healing in the Lord and then pursuing forgiveness in their own hearts. We have a tendency to nurse our own entitlement and bitterness with self-pity.
And some people pitch biblical womanhood as being passive. But, the Bible speaks a little differently. In Proverbs 31 we see a woman who:
- works actively
- ministers actively
- speaks actively
But somewhere along the line, women started thinking that what it meant to be ‘kind’ was to avoid direct communication and gossip rather than sincerely and graciously dealing with their own sin and conflict with one another.
I so long to be a woman who is ‘affirming’ instead of passive.
I love that word. Being a biblical woman doesn’t meant you take on a ‘useless’ role. It doesn’t mean holding back and not acting, instead it is the action of affirming. It’s the part of a woman that values the friend, or the husband more than they value that persons approval, and out of that they are able to sincerely approach and confess and share and exhort.
“ In the heart of every fallen man is the self-doubt that wonders, “Am I man enough to climb this mountain God has called me to? Can I fulfill my destiny?” A wise wife will understand that question at the center of her husband’s heart. And she will spend her life answering it, communicating to him in various ways, “Honey, I believe in your call. I know you can do this, by God’s power. Go for it.” In this way, she will breathe life into her man.”
This is what it means to affirm. It means to be able to see in someone what it is that God has wired and designed them to do and actively seek to enable that to be a reality. Wives, this is your role with husbands. Moms, this is your role with children, but it doesn’t end there. To some degree, women are called to be ‘affirming’ with co-workers, leaders (in the ways that are appropriate to their relationship), female friends and ministry partners. To affirm means to take a step of action and develop healthy and Godly encouragement of the calling God has placed on the lives of those around you.
A couple of was to evaluate if you are affirming or passive:
- When your feelings are hurt or you are frustrated, do you communicate directly, or do you tend to ‘vent’ to someone else?
- When was the last time your friends and close relationships offered you spiritual feedback? If you can’t remember the last time someone spoke into your life, or you spoke into theirs, maybe you need to cultivate an atmosphere that is open to humbly receiving exhortation.
- Are people constantly failing to meet your expectations? Are these expectations ever communicated directly and clearly?
- When you have a friend who is walking into sin, do you love them enough to speak gentle correction, or do you avoid and hope someone else steps in?
- Do you ever enable gossip by listening to someone ‘vent’ about a situation without encouraging them to engage the involved parties directly?
- Do you ever say ‘yes’ to something you can’t commit to, or answer ‘maybe’ when you already know the answer is ‘no’ simply because it’s difficult for you to be direct?
So, next steps? Get excited! As women we are designed to be affirming. That means God is working in you to produce that.
I’ve recently met a gal who is so great at this and her friendship has been one of the biggest blessings and challenges of my life. She is amazing at seeing the Godly potential in every person she meets. She believes that God can change hearts and she believes the most loving thing she can do is speak truth in love.
And I’ve watched her have conversations with women that should be awful and awkward and impossible, but they’re just not. They’re affirming. Women walk away from her feeling encouraged. Because they can see the truth. They can see that if she loved them any less she’d stay silent. If her need to feel approved, if her love for self, was greater than her love for them, she’d walk away without a word. But she speaks honestly, sincerely and directly because she loves.
After all – this is what God does with us. He communicates directly. He gives us His word, which cuts to the core, but everyone who has ever been convicted knows how different conviction feels from condemnation. It’s evidence of God’s love. Conviction is how I know I’m His kid.