Are You A Nag! Contentious Man or Contentious Woman - Equal Opportunity
What is all the Buzz About?
Once Upon A Time
Once upon a time, family life was far different than things are today. Even the wealthy did not enjoy the delicacies of our modern home life. Let us travel in our minds to a typical home dwelling during Bible days. I chuckle when I hear people nostalgically yearn for a “simpler” time; I laugh in my spirit at those who want to return to the “good old days!” Let us examine some really old days.
What was life like for a family living in an ordinary small house at the times of kings David and Solomon? If you were poor, your house was small and probably one room. It was built with the help of neighbors and constructed of mud bricks. It might have a window near the top to allow heat to escape in summer. There was an opening in the roof, which you would reach by climbing a ladder to the top. Here you would dry fruit or such chores. In the summer heat you would sleep on the roof. There were no chimneys or bathrooms.
The well-to-do faired better. They might have more rooms or a stairway leading to the roof. However, this was survival living for most folk during this time.
Insects were your constant companion. Smoke was a continual part of the air you breathed. When the weather was cold, the house was filled with smolder from the fire because there was no real fireplace. The fireplace was but a hole in the earth floor. If the family was wealthy enough, they would bring in prepared coals in a metal bowl or box they called a brazier (Jeremiah 36:22, 23 ). However, there was no chimney. When it rained, hard and continuously, the roof and the walls leaked. Now, put all this together and get a jigsaw picture in your mind of what it would be like to be trapped in this home on a cool rainy day! Ah! – for the good old days!
Just For Laughing - Why can't we just get along?
- Mr. and Mrs. Ivers were pushing their cart down the aisle at the supermarket when they spotted an elderly pair walking hand in hand. Said Mrs. Ivers: "Now, that looks like a happy married couple." "Don't be too sure, dear," replied Mr. Ivers. "They're probably saying the same thing about us."
- When Barbara and Jim were dating, Barbara became concerned over the lavish amount of money Jim was spending on her. After an expensive dinner date, she asked her mother, "What can I do to stop Jim from spending so much money on me?" Her mother replied simply, "Marry him."
- In the immortal words of Zsa Zsa Gabor, "I am a very good housekeeper. Each time I get a divorce I keep the house."
Five Ways To Tell If You Are A Contentious Woman:
Drip, drip, drip – all day and all night till the rain was over. Smoke, insects and “drip, drip, drip” were continual and wherever you went it was the same. It was a little like nature’s own version of water boarding - the torture of “drip, drip, drip!” The Bible writer, Solomon (see Proverbs) knew of this daily torture for the common folk.
Proverbs 27:15 A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike.
From the time of Solomon a wealthier class began to emerge and some of the force of this Scripture has been lost over the years. However, revisit this era in your mind, and get the full impact and the wisdom as to what the writer was saying!
“Nag, nag, nag or drip, drip, drip – they are made alike by a contentious woman!”
Are you a contentious or nagging woman?
- First, are you a woman? This doesn’t mean that all women are naggers. However, contentiousness like all behaviors has to be learned and it is probably not men who taught them this practice.
- Secondly, are you always the innocent party? These are the women who nag and don’t even know it!
- Thirdly, are you a chatterbox? If you never seem to stop on an issue, then you are a nagger!
- Fourthly, are you a riddler? This is when you nag without nagging. You ask absurd questions to get your point across! For examples, “Do you know where the glasses go?” or “Would you like to guess where the glasses go?”
- Fifthly, are you T-rex? Do you jump into a quarrel and rip your opponent apart? These are the carnivorous nags who use contention to devour their prey.
The list could go on, but you get my idea.
Look again at what the Scriptures say about a contentious woman:
Prverbs 21:19 It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.
(Commentary – “Help me I want out of here!”)
Proverbs 27:15 A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike.
(Commentary – Drip, drip, drip)
Proverbs 25:24 It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman and in a wide house.
(Commentary – “Give me some room, I can’t take it any more!)
Smoke, Smoke, Smoke
Gentlemen, It Is Your Turn!
Five Ways to Tell If You Are A Contentious Man
Wait a minute! Hold on for a second, and again I say, “Hold on!” Something doesn’t seem fair here! What about a man? Can he not be a nag as well as some contentious female? Does Solomon have anything to say of a contentious man, or is this wise man just slobbering mad at women folk? I know a few men like this, and they are harder to tolerate than a dozen contentious lady folk! They spend/waste most of their daily energy plugging the fairer sex with insults, and like an overblown balloon they are just waiting to burst. I would give them the pin, but the hot air release would be too much like that smoldering one-room home of which I just spoke! Let us see what Solomon says of nagging men.
Prverbs 26:21 As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire; so is a contentious man to kindle strife.
Eureka! – I’m getting a spark of a great revelation here. What a picture this is – “coals to burning coals” and “wood to fire” and a nagging man is the kindling! Well, what in the fire pit does this mean? Retreat in your mind to that one-room dwelling of the poor person. The roof and walls leaked, so you were tortured with “drip, drip, drip”. Now, take your chimney lacking, mud brick house with a small burning pit in the center where there are hot coals. Add more coals, add wood and throw in lots of kindling and what do you get on the same day? That is right; you get, “smoke, smoke, smoke!”
“Smoke, smoke, smoke” – now that is an improvement isn’t it? Choose your poison – do you favor the drip or the smoke –water boarding or suffocation – drowning or being barbequed - you get my point.
Are you a nagging man?
Five Ways to Tell If You Are A Contentious Man?
- First, Are you a man? The comments here are the same as that I mentioned for a woman, except that men are taught to be “men”, whatever, that means. Since this definition comes from men to men and for men, it might be a little tainted. Men are supposed to be the “boss” (this is the popular male understanding of the phrase “head of the family/church”), and bossiness and nagging are twin brothers!
- Secondly, do you have to get the last word? I never understand why a man’s pride insists on this losing proposition. It is the female’s “right” to speak last.
- Thirdly, are you a tale bearer? This is exactly what Proverbs discusses in 26:20-22. This is part of the definition of a contentious man. Women do not have a monopoly of gossip. There is joint ownership.
- Fourthly, Is your mouth open? Idle words lead to contentiousness!
Proverbs 13:3 He who keeps his mouth keeps his life; he who opens his lips wide, it is ruin to him.
- Finally, Are you the “King” (as in King Kong) in your house. Remember my illustration – the poor man’s house only has one room, and King Kong is pretty big and clumsy. Maybe we could re-read proverbs like this:
Original: Pro 25:24 It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman and in a wide house.
Revision: Pro 25:24 It is better to dwell in a small corner in the attic than with a nagging man, even if the house is big and roomy!
So, what is the conclusion to this firebrand I started? It is hard to live with the smoke or with the drip. Also, the smoke is probably a little worse (sorry fellows!). Is there any help for the contentious person? Is there anyway to get out?
How to overcome nagging
Most men and women nag and don’t even know it. If you have trouble believing this, go to church and pick seven people and ask them if they nag. You will find that even church folk fib! Contentious talking and nagging are bad habits and habits can be broken! However, the longer you let it build the harder it is to break
Everyone makes mistakes (this includes your own spouse and children and closest friends). God has not called you to straighten out the world. We always “Seek first the kingdom of heaven” through prayer. Remember the first priority of prayer is never “to get something” but to find fellowship with God. The result of this fellowship is the growth of love, and love speaks no evil!
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NIRV) Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not want what belongs to others. It does not brag. It is not proud. (5) It is not rude. It does not look out for its own interests. It does not easily become angry. It does not keep track of other people's wrongs. (6) Love is not happy with evil. But it is full of joy when the truth is spoken. (7) It always protects. It always trusts. It always hopes. It never gives up.
Substitute nagging with praise;
When I taught school, the worse thing I could do to my worse class was put those children down. The more contentious I was, the uglier they acted. I had to learn to find something (sometimes it was hard) to praise and affirm them! They tended to become what I spoke of/to them. Just by pausing, to consider the offensiveness our words and our actions might cause, may make the difference between agony through a day of disorder or enjoying a day of peace and satisfaction. Furthermore, the ambiance we set in our homes - be it positive or harmful - will have an effect on every member of our household.
Scriptures to memorize (from NIRV Translation)Romans 12:18 If possible, live in peace with everyone. Do that as much as you can. Colossians 4:6 Let the words you speak always be full of grace. Season them with salt. Then you will know how to answer everyone.
Psalms 34:13-14 Then keep your tongues from speaking evil. Keep your lips from telling lies. (14) Turn away from evil, and do good. Look for peace, and go after it.