Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

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February 5 – The Contentious Woman

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

Devotional Thought For The Day

Remember that most of the proverbs are directed toward the numerous and varied bad behaviors of men. So the wise author of this proverb is not being “sexist” or “chauvinistic” in commenting on a phenomenon that many people have observed and many husbands [and other family members] have suffered.  And certainly the proverb would be equally true, perhaps even intensified, if the comparison was to a man who was “contentious” [quarrelsome, nagging, brawling].  Women who may not like this proverb applied to themselves, and are therefore inclined to reject it completely, are greeted with a rude awakening when they observe a daughter in law treating their dear son in this manner.  Of course, the woman who is rude and contentious probably doesn’t care about anyone but herself, not even the happiness and blessedness of her children – so she doesn’t even notice or make the appropriate comparison to herself.  So, part of her foolishness is the myopia of not being able to view things and gain wisdom from a wider perspective.

What makes a person “contentious”?  First, selfishness, the desire to have everything flow to one’s advantage and benefit.  Second, such confidence in one’s own superiority that borders on arrogance – self-assurance that ones’ own desires are always in the right.  Third, a “prima donna” complex that assumes entitlement – that others should serve one primary purpose, to please the queen.  Fourth, a hypocritical self-righteousness, that no matter how dark the pan might be, the kettle is always drastically darker.  Now it is certainly true that hormones, blood chemistry, and cycles of life exacerbate these negative and damnable characteristics.  It is also true that the bad behavior of men, other women, and children can trigger such twisted and distorted thinking and its quarrelsome behavior.  However, all of it is inexcusable and dreadful to live with – and we have all observed such contentious women and commiserated with the men [and other family members] who have had to endure them.

Such sins are forgivable, and have already been paid for in the suffering and death of our dear Lord Jesus Christ.  So there is no need to try to “justify” such behavior.  In fact, such self-justifying only intensifies the compulsion for such contentiousness, and makes the “nagging” incorrigible.  Obviously, repentance is called for, and a proper humbling of oneself.  Hopefully, through the experience of God’s forgiveness, and the forgiveness of husband and family, a softening of heart ensues and amending of the egregious behavior.  Patience is required, for often contentiousness becomes habitual, a deeply ingrained character trait, quite difficult to change.  But with God, all things are possible.  And surely the experience of His great and patient love for us produces this change as we are transformed into His image – by the power of His Spirit.  This dynamic also helps those who must live with a contentious person to do the right thing, to remain committed to loving this person and seeking what is for their best – which includes the difficult and tough love of standing up for what is right and true, and not becoming a “doormat.”  I’m certain that in view of such conflict, it would be better to be virtually anywhere else – but just as God does not abandon or desert us, neither does love allow us to abandon and desert others.  God grant us grace and mercy and strength, to abandon contentiousness, and to continue loving those thus afflicted.

Prayer For The Day

Dear Lord Jesus, You recognized the wicked and rebellious contentiousness that exists in each of us – as we turn from Your Word, embrace the lies of the evil one, and live out of selfishness and self-interest.  Forgive us, Lord, for our own sin against others.  Help us, through Your great love, to remain patient and strong in the face of the contentiousness of others, and to continue in the ways of love.  Have mercy on us all, dear Lord.  Amen.