Audio: Chapter 9 "Gentle and Quiet Spirit"
Chapter 9 “Gentle and Quiet Spirit”
But let it be the
hidden person of the heart,
with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit,
which is precious in the sight of God.
—1 Peter 3:4
Boisterous women are common today. Boisterous is defined as “offensively loud and insistent.” It is not only accepted but encouraged through our media.
Sadly, this behavior has also permeated the church and Christians today. Is it any wonder that the divorce rate in the church is now higher than the national average?
A woman with a “gentle and quiet spirit” is called a doormat. She is told that her husband won’t respect her if she doesn’t stand up for herself.
Husbands even tell their own wives to fight back or defend themselves, and at the same time they follow through with the divorce and stay with the other woman. God says that a gentle and quiet spirit is precious to Him, and therefore it is the only way toward healing and restoration.
However, when a husband strays from the truth and falls into sin, you hear Christians, even pastors, advise the wife to use “tough love,” even though it is unbiblical and will destroy marriages. In addition, it results in a “hardened heart” which inevitably results in a wife who is unwilling or unable to forgive her husband. Only a heart of flesh, a tender heart, is able to truly forgive.
In this chapter we will seek the truth regarding tough love and the healing that comes through forgiveness.
Love is patient. God gives us a description of love. See if you can find the word “tough” or any word even remotely similar. “Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails . . .” (1 Cor. 13:4–8).
This verse proves that there is no place for “tough love” in a marriage, on either side. The love that Jesus lived and calls us to is “tough” to live, but never “tough” in response to another whom we love.
This I command you. Another very popular statement in the church today is “love is a choice.” Read with me the following verse to see if God says we can “choose” to love. Or does God command that we do so, as followers of Christ? “This I command you, that you love one another” (John 15:17). We do have a choice: to obey His command or not. This is not exactly what Christian psychologists are telling us, is it?
Love your enemies. Our friends encourage us to “protect ourselves” or to “not love those who are difficult to love.” Are we to love them or not? “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” (Luke 6:27–28).
In this passage God is even clearer. He even admonishes those who love only the lovable: “But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you . . . for if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax-gatherers do the same?” (Matt. 5:44–46).
Leave room for the wrath of God. In the book that talks to us about being “tough” with our spouse, we are told to confront and to cause a crisis. In other words, we are to take matters into our own hands. What does God instruct us to do?
“. . . Rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer . . . bless those who persecute you; bless and curse not . . . Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. 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” (Rom. 12:12, 14, 17–19).
He uttered no threats. You may ask yourself “Why do I have to endure such suffering, and not even have the satisfaction of vengeance?” Read God’s explanation for your suffering:
“For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps . . . and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him (God) who judges righteously” (1 Pet. 2:21–23).
Overcome evil with good. “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink, for in so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Rom. 12:20–21).
Blessed are the meek. If you don’t take matters into your own hands and take a “tough” stand, others (even Christians), will tell you that you are a doormat. However, let me remind you whom Jesus said are blessed: “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matt. 5:5). Jesus chose to lay down His life and allowed His enemies to seize Him. Are we to follow in His steps or not?
The righteousness of God. People may even remind you of an instance where Jesus turned over the tables in the temple. They will use this example to tell you that you have the “right” to be angry with others. God says He is a jealous God. Can we then also be jealous? “But let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God” (James 1:19–20).
That you may not do the things that you please. When we have an impulse to do or say something to another that is anything but meek, we are walking in the flesh and not in the Spirit. “But I say, walk in the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16).
“For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal. 5:17, 22–23). “And just as you want people to treat you, treat them in the same way” (Luke 6:31).
The kindness of God. It is deception to think that confronting and being unkind and firm will turn the other person around. If that worked, why would God use kindness to draw us to repentance? Sinners do not go forward to accept the Lord because they think that they are going to be criticized or chastised, do they? “Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?” (Rom. 2:4).
No one will see the Lord. Another extremely important reason for your gentle and quiet spirit in dealing with your husband (or others) is that we are to let others see Christ in us. “Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord” (Heb. 12:14).
Don’t think that you can act kindly with your husband, but act horribly with your children, parents, or coworkers. God is watching and He is the one who will turn your husband’s heart. Nothing is hidden from Him. Let us not forget that He is looking at our hearts; therefore, even if you try to control your anger, He is looking deeper! You must “die to self.”
The ministry of reconciliation. We are to be ambassadors for Christ in reconciliation. “Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation” (2 Cor. 5:19).
“Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were entreating through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God” (2 Cor. 5:20).
Lest you too be tempted. The following Scripture is a warning to us when we are not gentle to others when they have sinned against us. “Brethren, even if a man is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:1–2).
Lest the Lord see it and be displeased. Many women have been so happy to see their husbands “get what they deserve” when God punishes them with financial difficulties or other trials. Then they see their husbands’ situation turn around for the better. Why does this happen? “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; lest the Lord see it and be displeased, and He turn away His anger from him” (Prov. 24:17).
Doers of the Word. It’s important that we learn the truth and agree with what we see in Scripture, but we must not stop there. “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves . . . Not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man shall be blessed in what he does” (James 1:22, 25). “Therefore, to him who knows the right thing to do, and does not do it, to him it is sin” (James 4:17).
The error of unprincipled men. God has warned us that we should not listen to or follow men who tell us something contrary to Scripture. “Be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, and regard the patience of our Lord to be salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him . . . in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of Scripture, to their own destruction. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard lest, being carried away by the error of unprincipled men, you fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ . . .” (2 Pet. 3:14–18).
“Tough love” is wrong and totally contradicts the teachings and example of Jesus. Let us instead learn from Him who describes Himself as “gentle and humble in heart.” “Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My load is light” (Matt. 11:29).
Only a woman with a heart that is gentle and quiet can forgive her husband. However, many women have been deceived and do not forgive their husbands because they don’t fully understand the grave consequences of their lack of forgiveness. Let’s search the Scriptures to see what God says about forgiving others. Here are some questions we should ask:
Question: Why should I forgive my husband or the others involved?
Christ also has forgiven you. We forgive because God forgave us. “And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you” (Eph. 4:32).
The precious blood of the covenant. Jesus shed His blood for the forgiveness of sins—even your husband’s sin! “All things are cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Heb. 9:22). “For this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins” (Matt. 26:28).
Reaffirm your love for him. To relieve the offender’s sorrow. “. . . You should rather forgive and comfort him, lest somehow such a one be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. Wherefore I urge you to reaffirm your love for him” (2 Cor. 2:7–8).
Let no advantage be taken of us by Satan. Satan can use a lack of forgiveness against you to take the advantage. “For if indeed what I have forgiven . . . I did it for your sakes in the presence of Christ, in order that no advantage be taken of us by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his schemes” (2 Cor. 2:10–11).
Our Father will not forgive your transgressions. God said that He won’t forgive us if we don’t forgive others. “For if you forgive men for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive men, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions” (Matt. 6:14–15). “So shall My heavenly Father also do to you, if each of you do not forgive his brother from your heart” (Matt. 18:35).
Question: But shouldn’t the offender be sorry if I’m to forgive?
Father, forgive them. Those who crucified Jesus did not ask Him for forgiveness, nor were they sorry for what they were doing or what they had done. If we are Christians, we are followers of Christ; therefore we are to follow His example. “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).
When Stephen was being stoned he cried out just before he died, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” (Acts 7:60). Could we do any less?!
Question: But how often does God expect me to forgive?
Seventy times seven. Many women exclaim, “But my husband has done this to me before, throughout our entire marriage!” When Peter asked how often he was to forgive, Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven” (Matt. 18:22). That’s 490 times for the same offense!
Remember no more. Does forgiveness really mean that I forget that sin, even in an argument, even in divorce? “For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more” (Jer. 31:34). “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us” (Ps. 103:12). “Not returning evil for evil, or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing” (1 Pet. 3:9).
Be prepared; Satan will try to bring up old transgressions in your mind even after you have forgiven. When he does you must forgive again. Many women, whose husbands have been unfaithful to them even after their husbands have returned home, have experienced “flashbacks,” almost like “spiritual” war trauma. They say they must continually, sometimes daily, forgive.
Question: How can I possibly forgive as God has asked me to do in His Word?
God alone. Only God can help you to do it. You must humble yourself and ask Him to give you the grace. “Who can forgive sins but God alone?” (Mark 2:7).
Ask. “. . . You do not have because you do not ask” (James 4:2). Ask God to forgive your husband through you as you yield to Him.
God gives grace to the humble. How do I get the grace I need? “God is opposed to the proud but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God that He may exalt you at the proper time” (1 Pet. 5:5–6).
Humbled their heart. How can I gain humility? “Because they had rebelled against the words of God and spurned the counsel of the Most High. Therefore He humbled their heart with labor; they stumbled and there was none to help. Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble; He saved them out of their distresses” (Ps. 107:11–13).
“I humbled my soul with fasting; and my prayer kept returning to my bosom” (Ps. 35:13). Sometimes it could be through illness that He quiets and humbles you. Don’t fight it—it is God working!
First be reconciled to your brother. When do I need to forgive those who have hurt me? Shouldn’t I feel convicted of it first? “If therefore you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar, and go your way; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering” (Matt. 5:23–24). If you have not forgiven another, especially your husband, you need to ask forgiveness.
Bitterness. Not forgiving someone causes bitterness. The definition of bitterness is “poison!” “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger . . . be put away from you” (Eph 4:31). Not forgiving another is eating at you, not the other person! “The heart knows its own bitterness” (Prov. 14:10). “For He knows the secrets of the heart” (Ps. 44:21).
A brother offended. Be sure that you follow scriptural guidelines. I have heard many who have said that things were actually worse when they did ask forgiveness or that it did no good. I can speak from experience. At times, when I have asked for another’s forgiveness, I have stated it the wrong way and further offended the other person. “A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city” (Prov. 18:19).
Men pleasers. Be mindful that you may fool your husband but God knows your motives and your heart. “. . . But the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Sam.16:7). “. . . In the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ; not by way of eye service, as men pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart” (Eph 6:5–6).
Every idle word. Prepare every word you say! Every word you say must be carefully chosen. “A fool does not delight in understanding, but only in revealing his own mind” (Prov. 18:2). “Every idle word that men shall speak they shall give an account thereof in the day of judgment” (Matt. 12:36).
Try writing down what you are going to say. Then read out loud what you wrote, putting yourself in the other person’s shoes and hearing it from his point of view. Did it sound accusing? Ask God to put the right words in your mouth and speak through you.
Many words. “When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable” (Prov. 10:19). Only say what you did; don’t set the stage with something like, When you did this, and such and such, well then I . . .
He uttered no threats. If the other person starts to lash out at you, do not open your mouth except to agree. “And while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering He uttered no threats . . .” (1 Pet. 2:23).
Every idle word. The “prodigal son” prepared his words after his decision to return home: “I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, ‘Father I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men’” (Luke 15:18–19).
Make sure your words are sweet and kind every time you have an opportunity to see your husband! Remember that “sweetness of speech adds persuasiveness” (Prov. 16:21). “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones” (Prov. 16:24).
Question: How can I be sure I have truly forgiven?
You will know and have the confidence that you have truly forgiven when your sin and weaknesses loom before your eyes so large that you are unable to see your husband’s sins and weaknesses. You will be blind to his past, present, and future failings.
When women write or talk about anything that their husband is doing wrong, I know that they are far from restoration. So many who have been seeking restoration see no progress because they have failed to take the full responsibility for the sins committed in the marriage that caused the separation, divorce, or adultery.
They, in error, want to “share” their part in it, which is to their own destruction. Jesus took the full and complete responsibility and bore all of our sins. We, too, must take all and bear all. Then, as believers, we can seek the Lord and lay the sins of the marriage at the foot of the cross, knowing the debt has been paid.
Also, if you still are irritated by what your husband says, does, or does not do, or worse, you become angry then you have not forgiven—anger is a deadly heart condition, which shows up in a trial.
Personal commitment: to desire and strive to be gentle and quiet. “Based on what I have learned in Scripture, I commit to do everything I have learned by being quick to hear and slow to speak, and to forgive those who have offended me and to do what I can to reconcile with those I have offended.”
If you are ready to make a commitment to GOD to finish the course, by CLICKING HERE, you've agreed to the Personal commitment, and are ready to document the next step of your Restoration Journey in your "My Daily Journal" form. Take your time, sit down, grab your coffee or tea, and pour your heart into your Journal.
Also, if you want to be paired with a LIKE-MINDED ePartner after your Rebuilding, be SURE to pour out your heart in EACH lesson.