Vol. 8, No. 7
Priscilla's Page *Editor's Note*
~ Page 16 ~
I know a woman who had a house built by Habitat for Humanity. In order to qualify for this charitable organization's assistance, the woman had to commit at least 400 hours of service. For months, she spent every moment of her spare time helping the construction workers build her new home. When the house was completed, she had a feeling of great joy and a sense of accomplishment.
A dedication service was planned for a Sunday afternoon. Surrounded by family and friends, the woman listened reverently as the preacher blessed the house and those who would soon occupy it. Tears glistened her eyes as she contemplated the joy of finally having a home of her own. Can you imagine how people would feel if this woman suddenly drove a bulldozer into the house and knocked it down, after all the hard work she put into building it? That would be a very foolish thing to do!
Proverbs 14:1 says, "The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish pulls it down with her hands." No woman in her right mind would deliberately tear down her house, but what about her home? Many children today are the victims of "broken homes." According to research compiled by George Barna, over one million divorces are granted each year, compared to 393,000 divorces granted in 1960. Surprisingly, at least 16% of the divorced population consider themselves "evangelical Christians."
Even families who choose to stay together for the sake of the children are often characterized by constant bickering, disagreements and tension. Although they live together in the same house, they are still very much a fragmented family. How can a wise woman build her house and not tear it down?
First, she builds her home by the attitude that she shows. A wise woman chooses to have a positive attitude, even in the midst of trying circumstances. In our war-torn world, it is easy to become fearful of what the future holds for our children. We need to do our best to be optimistic and not succumb to feelings of depression, fear and worry.
Women are often referred to as the "climate controllers" of the family. If we are to be the thermostats for the family, we should generate a feeling of warmth. Home should be a place where the family can have fun. There are lots of things we can do to make our family life enjoyable. On one stormy evening, our family had a picnic in the basement. We sat on a blanket, eating hotdogs and cookies. Use your imagination. Do things out of the ordinary sometimes. It's not easy to be positive all the time, but remember the words of Paul in Philippians 4:8, "Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy, meditate on these things."
Second, a wise woman builds her home by the words that she speaks. Proverbs 31:26 says, "She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness." A woman who continually nags, argues, criticizes or complains is very foolish. Solomon calls such a person a "contentious woman." He wrote, "It is better to dwell in the corner of a housetop than in a house shared with a contentious woman" (Proverbs 21:9). A man whose wife went away for two weeks was asked if he missed her. "No, I don't miss her at all," he replied. "I've got some peace and quiet now." That may be a typical male response, but it shows that women need to watch their words. It's not always WHAT you say, but the WAY you say it that can cause offense. We need to watch not only our words, but our tone and volume of voice.
The foolish woman says things like, "You're so stupid. Why can't you do anything right? You'll never amount to anything." The wise woman says things like, "You did a great job! I really appreciate you. I don't know what I would do without you." Negative words can hurt and discourage others, while affirmative words can be powerful and life-changing. The wise woman will choose words that will build others up, not tear them down.
Third, a wise woman builds her home by the example that she sets. She knows that the secret to a good marriage is found in Ephesians 5:33. "Nevertheless, let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband." Many marriages today are failing because the wife refuses to show respect for her husband.
Wives are to be submissive to their husbands. In no way does this imply that wives are inferior to their husbands. God gives the proper order in 1 Corinthians 11:3. "But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God." The woman is under the authority of the man, who is under the authority of Christ, who is under the authority of God. The woman is not inferior to the man, just as Christ is not inferior to God. As women, we need to maintain the order that God has established. He has appointed the man to be the head of the home.
A woman who belittles her husband in front of the children is not setting a good example. Children learn from what we tell them and try to teach them, but they learn even more from what they see us do. A woman who shows disrespect to her husband is actually teaching her children be disrespectful. The children may grow up and become verbally abusive to their own spouses. Even the little choices we make now in our homes can affect future generations. Do we want our children to have the same kind of marriage that we have? If not, it may be time to make some changes.
A Christian husband and father told a friend about an incident that happened in his home, involving himself and his ten year old daughter. The young girl was yelling at her father, calling him names and telling him what to do. The friend was shocked. He asked the father, "Did your wife hear what your daughter said?" "Oh yes," the man sighed. "She heard it. She just smiled."
The wife in that family was very foolish. Even without saying a word, she was condoning the actions of her daughter, and setting a bad example. Any kind of disrespect in the family should not be tolerated, whether it is directed toward the father, mother or siblings. It takes time and hard work to build a house, but it can be demolished in just a few minutes. It takes wisdom and love to build our homes. Solomon said in Proverbs 19:14, "Houses and riches are an inheritance from fathers, but a prudent wife is from the Lord."