Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord. On the contrary, ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good (Romans 12:17-21).
Ministry is hard. I know … not breaking news.
I’ve been doing a lot of laughing to keep from crying lately.
Actually, who am I kidding? I’ve been doing a lot of crying lately.
Ministry is holy and it is an honor, and it is hard. For a myriad of reasons, but in particular, one of the prerequisites for being in ministry in any capacity is having thick skin and being able to love people who are just plain awful.
And look, as a fellow human I feel like I can say that because I too have had seasons and moments of plain awfulness. I’m sure there is a line of people somewhere who would readily attest.
Something that has never made sense to me, though, is being a wife and mother in ministry who cannot clap for other wives and mothers in ministry. What I mean is: we are on the same team. We wear the same colors. We are in the same trenches, so why is it that so many struggle to celebrate when someone else makes it through?
We’re all just doing our best to love Jesus and drink our coffee when it’s hot.
We all understand the toll of ministry and of motherhood. We know well the weight of the cross of living differently. We are all deeply acquainted with the sacrifices that surrender calls for.
So why? Why is it that we sneak away to our offices to whisper about our sisters? Instead of reaching to pull her from the water when she’s drowning, we use our hands to hide our mouths to continue the conversation. Why? Why do her talents and successes so intimidate us? Why does her situation not sit well with us? Why do things that are quite frankly none of our business take up the most space in our text threads and phone calls?
We’re all scoring on the same goal here so why are we sitting on the sidelines playing a bitter game of she’s-not-invited-to-lunch when we should be paying attention to and cheering for our teammates on the field? It’s weird. We don’t all have to be best friends, but I will never understand or get behind tearing down another woman who is waking up every morning desperate for new mercies just like me.
If this feels personal, it’s because it is. I’ve watched it happen to my friends and I have felt it myself.
Women empowering women isn’t just for the Wokes.
Jesus did it.
Abigail took it upon herself to save her household, she made such an impression on David that she later became the king’s wife. Esther went boldly where no queen before her had ever gone – before the king unsummoned. The Proverbs 31 woman considers a field and buys it, her arms are strong, and her husband lacks nothing. Read Judges chapter 4. Deborah was bad to the bone. God chose Mary to bring forth the Savior of the world. Naomi. Ruth. Hannah. Rahab. There is a pattern in Scripture of women being given authority.
So why, when God does something cool for our sister, can’t we stand it? Why do we make her wins about our losses? Instead of linking arms, we’re crossing them and pouting. It’s enough that we have the entire world against us as wives, mothers, and believers, but our own people? It’s sickening to watch, and I refuse to be a part of it.
It makes my flesh want to fight. I always joke and say that I’m from the South side of heaven, but really I want to march up to these mean girls and square up with them in the name of Jesus. Isn’t that real?
Instead, I’m going to take a deep breath and hold it in my mouth until I feel like I’m going to pass out. I’m going to remember that I’m not giving the Devil his day. Not today. This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it. I’m going to remember Romans. I’m going to exhale. Clearly, these girls are thirsty, so I am going to call on Jesus, and in His strength, I am going to feed them and give them something to drink. Today, I am choosing not to allow my flesh to convince my spirit that it is tired of doing good. Hallelujah, I will lay down my earthly urge to fight and I will smile, and I will pick up my peace.
Unfortunately, we can’t take the mean girls out of ministry but I hope these words encourage your heart whatever side of the whisper you might be on. If you are the one in on the sneaky text messages and slander, today is the day to go and look your sister in the eyes and ask for her forgiveness. If you are reading this and you are the one left wounded from the whispers, no matter how bad your flesh wants to start a fire, I want you to put on your jersey, I want you to do the good and I want you to let God handle the rest. Okay?
The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still (Exodus 14:14).