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Will Metzger on “Unbiblical Nonassertiveness”

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In a section titled “Learning to Say What You Mean” in his book Tell the Truth, Will Metzer gives some helpful insight concerning unbiblical nonassertiveness:

“The Bible talks about boldness and says that our strength comes from the Lord and is manifested in quietness, confidence, and love.  Yet many Christians have communication traits which are indirect, self-effacing, subservient, and obsequious.  These qualities can be virtuous, but if they rule our relationships, they result in an unhealthy compliant personality.  Nonassertiveness has been mistaken for a Christian virtue.  Proper assertiveness is essential for loving, truthful relationships and for witnessing. An abundance of Christians develop a nonassertive character, confusing biblical teaching on submission, giving up our rights and putting others first with a total subordination of their legitimate needs.  Women, especially, have been rewarded for being nonconfrontational, agreeable, quiet, and servile.  By not saying what they really think, feel, or want, they hide their true selves and bury these things within until the day they explode in things like divorce, suicide, depression, codependency, or addictions.  To always conform to what others want of you is worldliness.  To excuse yourself as ‘shy’ may mean that you focus too much on what others think of you and are overly sensitive.” (emphasis mine)

How do you check yourself for such behavior? Metzger presents a series of questions:

  1. Do I usually respond to what others say or do rather than initiating and being proactive?
  2. Do I apologize or make excuses all the time and put myself down?
  3. Do I avoid conflict with others, fearing their disapproval?
  4. Do I refrain from expressing even my lowest-risk feelings, needs, opinions?
  5. If I do express my ideas and needs, is it often in such an ingratiating way that others disregard me?
  6. Am I inwardly angry, resentful, frustrated because I later wish I had said or done something?
  7. Do I find myself often saying ‘yes’ when I want to say ‘no’?
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Written by keywoodblog

February 13, 2011 at 3:39 am

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