Thursday, August 29, 2019

"Don't Give Away Your Power"

Proverbs 5.8-10 HCSB

“Keep your way far from her. Don't go near the door of her house.

Otherwise, you will give up your vitality to others...

...and your years to someone cruel; strangers will drain your resources, and your earnings will end up in a foreigner's house.”

My wife was an amazing human. When I was cranky and wanted to fight, I could never engage her. She always remained unmoved by words that would cause a negative and emotional reaction in most people. It’s not that she was without passion. My wife believed deeply about the matters of her heart. She was a woman of conviction. She simply refused to get easily worked up. In Adonica’s words...

“If I get angry, the other person gains control over me and the situation because I am out of control. I don’t like that. It gives the other person too much power. If you lose your own self-control, you can cause damage to the relationship and give away power that belongs to you.”

The book of Proverbs warns against giving “up your vitality to others.” It’s a reference to the folly of a man who gets involved with a prostitute. He can’t stop until he loses everything he has. He will ‘give up his vitality’ and ‘drain his resources.’ Adultery, prostitution, illicit affairs, pornography, etc. are hard to stop once you start. Sexual sin is the anti-gift that keeps on taking!

Let’s expand the text to include another type of misdeed; namely, the uncontrolled use of the tongue. As in the case of sexual wrongdoing, when you sin with your mouth (gossip, displays of temper, angry words, strife among friends, malicious plotting, expression of hostility, slander, etc.), “you will give up your vitality to others” or, as my wife used to say, “You give away your power.” This was the reason my wife remained steadfast in her reluctance to argue… she did not want to give away her personal power to me or anyone else. When I enter into a heated debate, the tendency is to get mad and say something I will regret. Once spoken, I cannot easily retract it. I have given away my power. The opposing party has something over me. I am forced to live with regret or apologize. I have given my “vitality to others.”

Jesus is the only person who can receive the full brunt of my passion, hostility, anger, gossip, hurt, unpleasant opinions, and deepest negative emotions. He’s got the biggest heart and the broadest shoulders in the universe. He’s the reason prayer, even those containing words I am not proud of, is so effective. He can hear what I have to say without flinching. Jesus is utterly shock-proof. I cannot surprise or offend Him by telling it like (I think) it is. 

The real surprise is this… If I choose to limit my emotionally charged opinions to conversations with Jesus, I never give up my personal power. If I must engage in verbal sin, I am invited do so privately with the One who became “sin on our behalf” (2nd Corinthians 5.21). He can deal with my hard feelings and bad words redemptively. That’s what Jesus does. He redeems sinners. I do not ‘give up my vitality to others’ when I tell Jesus my difficult thoughts. I will come out of any exchange with Him whole. I can choose to retain my power.

I am invited to express my dark secrets, negative emotion, and unpleasant realities to Jesus. He is my source of forgiveness, healing, and unending vitality.


One Sided said...

Your wife is a wise woman.
Still fuming and sputtering in the face of all of that calm is somewhat agarvating. Man must find an outlet.
Dog kicking is outlawed.
My children can out run me and their husbands can take me.

I cut the grass. At times I cut my yard and my neighbors yard.

I have a well kept yard. and a peac filled house.

davescriven said...

Hey One-Sided,

You speak incredibly wise words. I think I'll take up lawn mowing.