Jump Start # 1920
Proverbs 27:15 “A constant dripping on a day of steady rain and a contentious woman are alike.”
A hurricane is hitting Texas. There is a lot of rain with this, more than a foot. This verse came to my mind. A rainy day. Constant dripping. For some, growing up and hearing the rain hit the roof was soothing. Not in this Proverb. The image is annoying. It’s bothersome. It won’t stop. At night, it would keep a person awake. Drip. Drip. Drip. This picture is used to show the impact that a contentious woman has. Now, before my female audience gets their blood boiling, contentions are not limited to just females. Kids can be contentious. Bosses can be contentious. Church members can be contentious. And, believe it or not, we husbands can be just as contentious.
In our vernacular we like the word “nagging” more than contentious. Nag. Nag. Nag. Drip. Drip. Drip. Neither seems to stop. Neither is pleasant. Five times in Proverbs, the contentious spirit is brought up. It is never in a complimentary fashion. No one likes nagging. The nagger, if there is such a word, is unhappy and that’s why he is nagging. The person receiving the nagging isn’t happy, because it’s dripping, dripping, dripping in his world. Nagging is more than complaining. It’s a complaint that is stretched and stretched. It’s the never ending complaint. Not happy. Not satisfied. Frustrated. Upset. Miserable. Drip. Drip. Drip.
So, if the person doing the nagging and the person receiving the nagging are both not happy with nagging, why then do we nag? It would seem that if no really likes nagging, it would stop. But it doesn’t. So, here are a few of my thoughts. Let me “nag about nagging.”
First, the person nagging often is not able to fix or change things. We don’t complain about what we can take care of. If you want a cup of coffee, you just go make a cup. What bothers us is when you want a cup of coffee and there is no coffee in the house. Then the storm clouds start gathering and the temperature rises and the nagging begins. There are things around the house that needs our attention. There are things that could be improved upon. We see things at work that bothers us. There are things down at the church house that aren’t right. There are plenty of things in society that just irritates us. We can’t storm the White House and have a sit down with the President. Most, can’t even get to the CEO of their company and tell him what would make life better for the worker. We are not in a position to fix things. So, we complain. We complain to the person who we think can push the right buttons and get things accomplished. This is where the nagging begins.
Second, some folks are not as passionate about things as we are. This is where complaining escalates to nagging. Your teen leaves dirty dishes all over the house. You voice your complaint. He doesn’t seem bothered by dirty dishes. His room is full of dirty clothes on the floor. His car is a moving trash truck with all the left over cups and cans in the back seat. So, a few dirty dishes doesn’t even hit his radar. It makes your blood boil. Not only is he not passionate about cleaning things up, it’s as if he has suddenly gone deaf. He doesn’t listen to your complaints. So, you raise the volume and turn to nagging. The same goes for the husband. You have been after him to fix that squeaky door for weeks. Every time the door is opened it sounds like nails on a caulk board. You’ve asked him. You’ve pleaded with him. You’ve complained to him. Now, you resort to nagging. He’s around noise all the time. Half the time, when he walks through the door, he’s on the phone and he doesn’t even hear it. It doesn’t bother him. It’s destroying you.
Why can’t the guys who are on the schedule to do things during worship get to the church house on time? Some walk in late. The guy running the schedule is in panic mode. It’s time for worship and are these people coming or not? The scheduler has been at the church building twenty minutes early. He’s looking at every person who walks through the doors. Where are these people? He’s way past upset now. He’s in panic mode. Finally, one of the guys strolls in as if he is on a leisurely walk in the park. He’s not concerned. He’s not even thinking about those things. Complaining turns to nagging.
Third, it seems to me, that better communication and an agreeable time table would eliminate nagging. The teen who leaves dirty dishes around the house doesn’t get what that does to the house. He doesn’t understand that those dirty dishes invite bugs and sooner or later, those dishes are going to be needed to eat off of again. Talk it though. He may never see what his mom sees in this, but he can at least understand that it is important to her. His love for her will move him to do things that are not that important to him.
The same goes for that squeaky door. It may not register with the husband. But if he listens to his wife and sees how important it is to her, then he’ll grab the WD-40 and take care of it. Simple to fix. Problem solved. Not worth a battle over a squeaky door.
The same goes for the guys who are helping out in worship. If they understood what an honor it is to serve God and that they are holding things up for others, and that getting there a few minutes early isn’t the end of the world, problem solved.
But, immediately, selfish spirits arise. I don’t want to get there early. I don’t want to fix a door. I don’t want to put up dirty dishes. When we think more of self than others, then the nagging begins. Drip. Drip. Drip. That irritates some and it causes them to resist even more.
Does this mean that the nagger always gets their way? Just nag, and the world has to stop what it’s doing to please the person nagging? No. In fact, in the Proverb passages, it is the one who is nagging that is seen in the negative. Some immediately go to nagging. Some use that to get what they want. They whine, pout and nag to their selfish whims. Nagging is never presented in the positive.
So, what is the person to do when others won’t do things. If they can’t nag, what can they do? Drip. Drip. Drip. It might accomplish what you want, but the person moved by nagging isn’t happy to do it. He’ll drip, drip, drip the whole time he’s pressured to do what he doesn’t want to do. All of this falls to leadership. How do we lead people? How do we influence people? Other than pressure and guilt, which nagging is, what can be done? How about explaining, in a kind non complaining way, what dirty dishes around the house means to you. Or, what a squeaky door does to you. Or, what being late when a church is counting on you does. Talk about it. Explain how important this is to you. Offer suggestions. Try this.
What then? What if after all that, they won’t change. What if the dirty dishes remain? Do you go and trash their room while they are at school? Do you serve food on dirty dishes to teach them a lesson? Oh, those thoughts race through our minds. No. You don’t do that. Golden rule time. You clean it up. You fix the door. You find others to serve at church. You pray. You lead by example.
Dirty dishes, squeaky doors and being late when you are supposed to serve at church won’t keep us out of Heaven. In time, the roles will change. Someone needs you to iron a shirt. Some one wants you to make them a pie. Some one needs you to come over and help them with a project. It is then that you again talk. You do what they ask and you do it well.
One of my kids, no names mentioned, used to liter their bedroom floor with their clothes. You couldn’t walk into their room without stepping on clothes. I remember saying, “I know we had carpet in this room when we bought this house. I’d like to see it.” It was a battle. I did my share of dripping. Today, that child is married and has their own house. I love to visit. It’s so neat. Deep inside something was learned.
The issue of nagging strains relationships. It pushes buttons. It’s more of a relationship issue than it is a communication issue. The more we love and care about others, the less they will have to nag. The more selfish and stubborn we are, the more we can expect drip, drip, drip. Work together. Be a team. Help each other.
The dripping stops when we put the other person before us.
I hope my nagging about nagging has helped.