All women have claws. Some have long fingernails in the literal sense (I prefer to keep mine short). But all of us for sure have those hidden, retractable ones — the Wolverine type of adamantium that can slice through, figuratively speaking, the bone and flesh of our enemies.
I certainly have them. I had to retract them the other night when I nearly took offense on behalf of my husband. Edric told me about an incident where he was bad mouthed publicly by someone, and of course, in the name of love, my anger was incited. I wanted to claw at this person, not physically, but I wanted to say all kinds of vile things to judge and criticize them. In fact, I began suggesting to Edric what he should say. And he had to tell me, “Relax babe.”
Hold on lady wolverine! I had to pause and consider the repercussions of taking offense for him. The Lord reminded me…what is your role? Have you been elected to be your husband’s defender? Encourage Edric to respond to this situation in a way that will glorify me. It is not an accident that this happened. I will use it for good. Okay, Lord, claws retracted.
Of course I can’t physically fight for Edric when he is wronged and he does not need that from me, but if I am not careful, I can develop a grudge or bitterness towards those who disturb his peace. And instead of thinking about how God can redeem the circumstance and turn it into a blessing, I can poison Edric’s heart with negative ideas that also make him embittered…kind of like a whispering Jezebel by his side.
Well, at just the right time that evening, God got a hold of my thoughts and turned them towards Him — “in everything that you do, do it for the glory of God” was loud and clear. Edric eventually shared more of the story and asked me for my opinion on the matter. By then, I was in the spiritual condition to give him an unbiased perspective. At the end of our conversation, I encouraged him by saying, “Hon, just check your heart. Whatever way you respond to this person, the important thing is to make sure God is honored because you bear his name. Don’t allow the Evil One to take advantage of this situation so that people get turned off to Jesus.”
Edric already had the same conviction but he told me that my comments validated his desire to be thoughtful and concerned about God’s reputation. We prayed together and left the outcome to the Lord. The next day, Edric was able to talk with the person in a way that encouraged reconciliation and not retaliation.
I wanted to talk about this incident because most women are just like me. We are protective of those we love and we will viciously defend them. But, very often, God uses people problems to develop character, not just our own but our spouse’s, too. He also presents opportunities where we can highlight Jesus and respond in redemptive ways to persons who have wronged us so that He gets the glory.
If God is doing this kind of work in the life of my husband, I need to avoid being a wedge that thwarts that. I need to retract the claws and remember to be a helpmate and lifegiver to him. This means encouraging him towards Christlikeness, not in a preachy way but through words and actions that inspire him towards spiritual calm so that he can hear God’s voice. A female wolverine side kick is the last thing he needs when he is fired up about difficult people or circumstances.
More often than not, the more fruitful recourse has been for me to keep silent and just listen first, laying aside judgments and premature conclusions so that I understand the entire picture. Afterwards, Edric will usually ask me, “So what do you think, hon?” and I take that as my God-given opportunity to be a life-giver along side him. When I get it right and my response is spirit-led, Edric will thank me for helping him to do what pleases God. When I get it wrong, I end up feeding his anger or hurt in a destructive manner that causes more dissension between him and others.
The blessing is this: when we, as a couple, prioritize God’s agenda and not our own reputation, rights, or personal justice, He fights for us. The Bible says, The LORD will fight for you while you keep silent.” (Exodus 14:14 NASB)
I love this passage because Moses was about to lead the Israelites through the Red Sea and the Egyptians were closing in. As the people were starting to panic, he reminded them to be calm and trust in God. Let God be the deliverer that he is. He parted the Red Sea and the Israelites were saved.
Similarly, I need to learn to step aside and let God do what he does best — rescue, uphold, bless, prosper. He makes big and small miracles happen when I surrender people problems to him. It may not always be as dramatic as the parting of the Red Sea, but he certainly reminds me that he is present and at work to accomplish his plan and his purpose. No claws necessary!