What Do You Deserve? Kindness

When I talk about people deserving good things I usually get a lot of pushback from Christians. Some go so far as to say “We deserve to burn in hell, anything better is God’s grace.” I can’t argue with the root truth in that, but it kind of misses the whole God loves us thing. God promises us all kinds of things we don’t deserve in and of ourselves. As I read my Bible I am his son, and sonship comes with all kinds of perks. I “deserve” certain things because I am His.

Beyond that, the Word is full of commands to be loving and kind to others. Jesus said “you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” [Matthew 22:37-40] Clearly Jesus thought it was very important for us to treat each other with kindness and decency. If Jesus thought it was that important, I think it’s fair to say we deserve it.

Of course, we don’t’ always get the treatment Jesus says we should get. But that doesn’t change the fact it’s how we should be treated. On the other hand, we’re never told we can demand to be treated right. But that also doesn’t change how others are supposed to treat us.

Because of bad teaching, many of us have a difficult time thinking we deserve to be treated well, and some are willing to take wrong treatment without saying a word because they have been convinced they don’t deserve any better. Women, in particular, seem to accept this lie which is from the pit of hell!

The problem with this thinking it is that it encourages and excuses bad treatment. We tend to get what we think we deserve, so what we think we deserve really matters.

What Do You Deserve? Kindness

With that as preamble, I want to do a few posts talking about what I think every wife deserves from her husband. If you aren’t getting any of what I discuss, I’m very sorry. It is my hope that you will see the truth and start to believe your husband should be treating you better. If you stop taking his wrong behaviour without a word, he might change. If you start expecting better he might start doing better. I’m not suggesting you blast him, but it’s right and acceptable for you to let him know you don’t like being treated certain ways.

One thing every one of us deserves from our spouse is kindness. You deserve to be spoken to decently and treated with respect. You deserve that even when your husband has had a bad day and you deserve it even when you’ve been less than perfect. We are to treat everyone with kindness, and that should start at home. If your husband isn’t kind to you he is wrong. Don’t make it easy for him by accepting a lack of kindness as if it’s what you deserve.

~ Paul – I’m XY, and I want to be extravagantly kind to my wife!

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26 Comments on “What Do You Deserve? Kindness

  1. Hi Paul,

    I would love to see you interact with 1 Peter in this series of posts. Particularly 2:18-3:17 but also 1:3-9, 4:12-19, and 5:5-11. I think I agree with where you’re headed, but like most lies from the pit of hell, I think this one is a twisted version of God’s truth. Misunderstandings can happen easily.

    A few other ideas you might consider as part of these posts:
    – How this works for you and Lori so you let each other know when you perceive wrong behavior without harping on every imperfection (When is it OK to suffer a wrong silently vs. when it’s important to speak up?)
    – Differences for wives with believing vs. unbelieving husbands
    – How repeatedly, frequently, emotionally, clearly, forcefully should one speak up?
    – What to do if your spouse rejects what you say or acknowledges it but nothing changes
    – How to balance focusing on how you deserve to be treated with how others deserve to be treated by you

    • @Kevin W. – So tell me, did Sarah deserve to be pimped out by her husband? Was that right and good with God? Of course, it was not. If Sarah told herself she deserved that she was wrong.
      I’ve heard those verses used to say that God will protect a woman who is told to do something wrong by her husband. I’ve heard the stories of a woman told to sleep with another man by her husband and she went along with it and he passed out drunk before anything happened. But I’ve also heard of women who went along and the man didn’t pass out. Then I look at Ananias and Sapphira – she “obeyed” her husband and lied, and God ended her life for it.
      In the time of Sarah, she had no real option. A man could toss his wife like we throw out an empty box.

      One can certainly read parts of 1 Peter in a way that makes women little more than intelligent pets. However, if we look at the Bible as a whole that falls apart. I’m going to be talking about that the next few Sundays on TGH.

      The first issue here is the woman’s thoughts. Far too many women think it’s okay for their husband to treat them in ways that violate how God said we should all treat each other. This is an error, and it needs to be corrected. I assume you have no problem with this part of what I said.

      How and when one shares concerns about this is a more difficult issue. As I said, we are not told we can demand. If a man is wise he will invite his wife’s thoughts and she will know she is free to express her concerns. Beyond that, we are all told to lovingly confront other believers when they are wrong, and I don’t see an exception made for wives on that. Honestly not speaking up seems to be a matter of disobedience to God.

      What if your spouse rejects what you say? Seems to me this is covered in Matthew 18:15-20. Again, I don’t see an exclusion for wives in that passage. I’ve had a number of men suggest that should be the course when a wife refuses sex, but those same men don’t want their wife to bring their sinful behaviour to the church!

      Your final point is important. The Bible is clear that correction and confrontation is always to be done in love and with gentleness and humility.
      Paul Byerly recently posted…Are You Spending Too Much of Your Time Working?My Profile

      • Hi Paul,

        Absolutely agree with your first two paragraphs. God wasn’t pleased by the abusive actions of any of those husbands and doesn’t want wives to submit to such abuse. I’m horrified if you thought I was suggesting He does. Maybe that speaks to how much those verses have been misused.

        But instead of just talking about what those verses don’t mean, I’d love to hear you talk about what they do mean and how that fits with the theme of this post. Even more so, since a lot of us have heard bad teaching on them and may have some misconceptions. That’s what I was trying to suggest. It seems like those verses have a lot to say about how we should and should not respond to those who wrong us. And they have a lot to say about what God expects of husbands too – understanding, honoring, treating his wife as a fellow heir, compassionate, loving, tenderhearted, courteous, blessing, not speaking or doing evil, etc.

        I agree wives should not accept husbands treating them sinfully as okay. Even though God may sometimes call us to follow the example of Jesus in bearing unjust suffering with patience, grace, and love for the offender that doesn’t mean reinterpreting their wrong behavior as right. And it doesn’t mean we can’t confront the sinful behavior either. Jesus stated many times that those who arrested, tried and crucified Him were doing wrong.

        I agree that we have a responsibility to confront sin and sometimes this requires involving others. But I think there is also a place for love covering transgressions. If my wife and I scrutinized each other for every instance of pride, selfishness, impatience, etc. that we could find I think we would quickly be miserable. I suspect I too often confront when I should be quiet and vice versa. If you have any suggestions on balance I would be interested.

        Anyhow, if any of my ideas are unhelpful you are welcome to disregard them. I was just trying to offer some areas where I had some cognitive dissonance when thinking about the right thing to do.

  2. Hi Paul, interesting that you’re already getting some pushback on this one. I actually found this helpful. As a frequent reader and commenter, you know much of my story and so I hope it makes sense to you how this post speaks to me. Especially this part:
    “ and some are willing to take wrong treatment without saying a word because they have been convinced they don’t deserve any better. Women, in particular, seem to accept this lie which is from the pit of hell!”

    It might be hard for people who haven’t been treated this way to understand. Because I was treated as undeserving most of my life, I figured that’s just who I was. I allowed others to continue to treat me as undeserving of kindness, and it caused a lot of struggles. For one, I’ve been pushed around a lot by other family members (my wedding day, for example, was one of the UNhappiest days of my life because my MIL steamrolled me from the beginning. She insisted it was her son’s wedding therefore she demanded to make every decision. I allowed her this to keep the peace. I was so sad. She had a great day, and it was like I wasn’t even there.) BUT – that was then, and this is now. Two, I have a lot of trust issues. Three, sometimes I make it harder for my husband to treat me well or do nice things for me because I think I don’t deserve his love, let alone his kindness.

    I’m just starting to understand all of this, like super recently, like two weeks ago! Thank God I understood I was a sinner in need of a Savior almost 20 years ago, but until recently I never understood what it meant to be a child of God, loved by God, and even created just the way God wanted to create me (physical traits, etc.)

    Each post stirs up different things in each person. We all see and hear everything through our own filter. But this was helpful to me. I’m someone who always wanted others to be happy at my own expense. That’s not always a good thing. It would take way too long to explain my thoughts here.

    Anyhow, I understand if you want/need to elaborate on this, but I found this post quite encouraging and helpful.

  3. The “you deserve death” sentiment Christians use makes me want to beat them with a baseball bat. It’s the same as telling someone who’s child just died “it’s god’s plan”, if anyone told me that I’d break their nose on the spot. STFU. Our sins against god have no bearing on what we can or should expect in interpersonal relationships.

    No one deserves to be abused, no child deserves to be hungry, no one deserves to be neglected. We shouldn’t have to qualify those statements. God doesn’t tell you that none of the above won’t happen, but that doesn’t mean that we are deserving of them.

  4. Actually, I tend to agree with Bob. Oh, he may have expressed himself with a little too much verve. Perhaps he was irritated.

    I’ve been reading your blogs (TGH, this one, MB) for a while. Usually I agree in broad strokes. But there are times you come off as rather pretentious. Especially when people disagree with you. Yes, you never claim to be perfect, but there is occasionally a hint of faux humility in your attempts to teach all of us crude idiot male ogres how to be a proper Christian man, like you.

    Not all the time. Not even most of the time. But occasionally. I too picked up on whatever got stuck in Bob’s craw with this post.

    And it’s not attacking the messenger. Ever consider that, maybe, we’re on your side and perhaps the message would be more convincing without the haughtiness? No, can’t be that. Bob and I obviously just can’t handle the truth because you would NEVER be pretentious. Right?

    So who’s attacking the messenger? The Pot or the Kettle?

    Anyway… as I said, I read your stuff often. And I don’t envy your position. I know any time anyone starts a ministry there are people happy to point out flaws. That’s not my point. Just saying maybe Bob observes something you might learn from, even as you teach others?

    • @Andrew – Bob has a long history, here and on other blogs, of showing up and making noise when someone dares to suggest women are not second-class citizens. So I don’t take what he says to heart.
      You I don’t know, but you have not proven yourself to be belligerent so I will consider what you have said. I am certainly capable of being pretentious, and/or of coming off that way when it’s not my intention. I certainly don’t have it all figured out, and it’s not my intention to look like I do.
      Thanks for the feedback.
      Paul Byerly recently posted…Use Your WordsMy Profile

      • OK. Fair enough. I don’t know Bob “from Adam”. You do, apparently. I was just responding to the specific comment.

        I appreciate you saying I’m not “proved to be belligerent.” My comment was not intended polemically. It was intended to identify potential distractions from your message, which as I stated, I generally agree with, at least broadly.

        My purpose was not to attack, but to point out that there is occasionally a sense of finger-pointing and “tsk tsk” that SOMETIMES comes through in your writing. Perhaps its unintentional, but it’s there.

        Take it or leave it. It’s meant for edification not irritation.
        Andrew recently posted…Use Your WordsMy Profile

  5. An administrative note: I have removed “Bob’s” comments.

    I discussed this issue with fellow bloggers I trust, and after some prayer, I had to agree with them that allowing such comments is counter-productive to my goals here.

    I have a bad habit of allowing comments saying things about me that I wouldn’t allow to be said about anyone else. I suppose it comes from feeling I don’t have the right to silence those who disagree with me. But disagreeing with me is one thing, much of what Bob has said went well beyond that. In truth, I deserve to be treated as well as I would expect anyone else to be treated. (“I deserve”, see what I did there?)

    The other thing that I will no longer allow in the comments is misogyny. I understand those who post such things don’t think they are misogynist, they think they are stating the truth of God. But what they say misses the heart of God by a long shot, and it only does harm.

    I am always open to discussion and correction, but certain views are so far from what I see in the Word of God that discussing them is pointless and can bring about nothing good.
    Paul Byerly recently posted…Use Your WordsMy Profile

    • If Bob is the guy I have in mind, it’s long past time you blocked him. Good riddance. Allowing belligerent and misogynist comments on a blog that’s a ministry to women definitely undermines your message here.

      Good for you

  6. Hey Paul, I’m just curious if you’ve ever done any kind of similar series of posts on what men deserve in marriage?

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