Women have the ability to nurture one another in a way that mystifies men. But a desparate need for attention will turn that caring into competition.
Whether you call it connecting or bonding, women do it remarkably well. Certainly, this has been my experience. A recent shopping trip overwhelmingly confirmed my theory.
"Oooh, that looks lovely on you. You should get it!" my admirer told me. It was 7:30 a.m., and my favorite store was having a knock-down, drag-out sale. Take 80 percent off everything!
Oooh, Mama, I was in my glory! And so were my sisters--women I had never seen before in my life.
"Mmm, it's pretty, but you looked slimmer in the other outfit."
"That color is very becoming."
"You really think so?"
"Oh, yes, but then again, everything you've tried on looks good on you."
As I headed back to my dressing room, I thought to myself, If only women could treat one another this way all the time.
In that crowd there were no masks, no pretenses. We were one, all on the same mission--to secure as many bargains as we could.
Every woman's coup was to be celebrated. All of us were giggling and twirling in front of the mirror, nurturing one another, pointing out one another's best assets.
So where does the image we have of catty women come from? From that ole serpent, that's who. Who else knows better the fact that a house divided against itself will not stand?
The word that came to Eve in the garden--that woman would have an overwhelming desire toward man--also gave birth to competition among women. Amazingly early we begin to compare notes. Hmm, let's see, who's got prettier hair, prettier eyes, a better figure?
Instead we should protect ourselves and one another. Collectively, we set the standard for how we are to be treated based on the respect we render to one another.
When we exhibit a competitive attitude toward another sister, we are sending powerful messages about ourselves. Rather than giving us any kind of edge, covetousness, envy and jealousy always cause us to lose.
SHUN EVIL COMPARISONS The book of 1 Samuel relates the story of Peninnah and Hannah. They were both married to the same man.
Peninnah had children. Hannah had been barren for quite some time. Peninnah took it upon herself to irritate and provoke Hannah because she was childless.
But Hannah got on her face before God, and she was blessed with a beautiful son, Samuel, whom she dedicated to the Lord. According to Scripture, Hannah's son went on to become a very important person in Israel. But there is no further mention of Peninnah's children.
God honors a heart that is in the right place. It is never wise to celebrate the seeming misfortunes or shortcomings of others.
Envy hardens the heart. Once hardened, it is filled with "every evil thing" (James 3:14-16, NKJV).
These thoughts can lead a woman to seek the emotional or physical harm of anyone who stands between her and what she wants. They are the bridge to sins she once swore she would never commit and things she said she would never do or say.
These things don't occur just in adulterous affairs. They can arise over desire for a particular man's attention or for influence in his life that now seems threatened by someone new.
This was the case with Miriam. She became upset that her brother Moses went and married an Ethiopian woman (see Num. 12:1).
The new wife was an unwelcome influence who had her brother's ear. She was black, different, an outsider.
It seems that Miriam had lost her standing, at least in her mind, and wanted it back badly. Unwilling to give up the reins, she instead began to resent the newcomer. So she talked against Moses and his wife.
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