I once met a young woman who was in a serious relationship with a young man who was guilty of “cheating” on her by secretly seeing other women behind her back. I encouraged her to break up with him. “Oh, but he’s such a great guy! He really loves Jesus!” was her response.
Are you kidding me? That’s not even remotely true. This young woman wasn’t thinking rationally. Great guys who love Jesus don’t cheat on their women. PERIOD.
It was this encounter I thought of when I came across Gabrielle Pickle’s article, “Why Women Love Jerks.” When it comes to romance, many women are so needy, and get emotionally enmeshed so quickly, that they throw their brains out the window. They foolishly make excuses and rationalize giving their hearts away to guys who are jerks.
In the article, Gabrielle gives two great checklists from Proverbs that outline the characteristics of men who are jerks and men who are gems. If you’re wise, you’ll listen up and guard your heart. Don’t give it to a jerk. Save it for a gem.
by Gabrielle Pickle
“Is she crazy?” I shouted at the television in total exasperation. “Women can act so stupid. The moment our heart gets involved, we flip the stupid switch!” There was an old spy movie playing on TV and the woman of questionable sanity was the girlfriend of a criminal. Of course, she refused to admit that he actually was a criminal because he wasn’t all bad and she loved him…
She ignored unfaithfulness, criminal activities and his attempt to end her life, all because she loved him.
And as crazy as that girl seems, I can relate. No, I’ve never dated a criminal, but I have been that girl who ignored unbiblical behavior, rationalized red flags away and scratched things off my “list” because the object of my emotional attachment didn’t have those qualities.
As women, when our heart gets involved, we tend to lose all sense of logic. We all know of, or have ourselves been, the woman who dates the cheaters, the beaters, and the jerks. But she sticks with him because she loves him. She tells herself that he has such potential, she can help him change and then she believes her own lies because she is emotionally connected to him.
Who is this jerk… Proverbs calls him a fool
- He doesn’t fear God – Psalm 53:1
- He is arrogant, ignoring the instruction, teaching and counsel of godly people – Proverbs 1:7
- He is complacent (not convicted) by the sin in his life – Proverbs 1:32
- His words cannot be trusted (because of lies, slander and gossip) – Proverbs 10:8, 10, 14, 18; 18:6-7
- He does not honor his parents – Proverbs 10:1, 15:5, 15:20, 17:21, 17:25
- He laughs at sin, it is amusing to him – Proverbs 11:29
- He is reckless and careless – Proverbs 14:16
- He has a quick temper and argues over anything – Proverbs 14:17, 20:3
- He does not learn from his mistakes – Proverbs 17:10
- He has lots of opinions, but they are not founded on the wisdom of Scripture – Proverbs 18:2
- He trusts in himself – Proverbs 28:26
Reclaiming Your Heart
If you read the above list and realized that you are dating, living with, engaged to, in love with, or have a crush on a foolish man, then the Bible is very clear. If you are not married to him, you need to end the relationship. Period. If this guy/man is not running after Christ in his own life, then he is not a good influence. And soon he will begin to pull you down to his level, if he hasn’t already.
“Do not be deceived: bad company ruins good morals.” 1 Cor. 15:33 He may call himself a Christian, a bible study leader, or a member of a church staff – but if his behavior does not honor God, you should not be with him.
I can empathize with the panic that is welling up in your throat as you read these Scriptures. I know that the very thought of ending things with the guy makes you sick to your stomach. I know that you cannot fathom how you’ll cope or what your future would be like without him.
But by asking you to end this relationship, God is trying to spare you, His precious daughter, from a great deal of heartache and negative consequences in the future. Proverbs warns of what will happen to someone who is the companion of a fool – they will get hurt. “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” Proverbs 13:20 Obey now and trust God to heal your broken heart.
Guarding Your Heart
Obviously, we as women will automatically trust the man we have an emotional connection with – whether or not his actions and character have earned that trust. So the wisest course of action, as a woman seeking God, is to guard our hearts of emotional attachment until he has proven himself a wise man. How do we protect ourselves from loving and trusting a man who isn’t good for us? What does guarding your heart look like? Scripture gives us some helpful guidelines.
1. Be content where God has you.
The woman who is content with where God has her in life, who is content in her singleness, is not vulnerable to the emotional persuasion of foolish men who wander through her life. But the woman who doesn’t trust God’s goodness, who doesn’t wait on God’s timing, or is controlled by feelings of incompleteness without a man in her life – that woman ignores red flags, lowers her standards, justifies a lack of godliness, and in the end gets hurt by the very man she wanted to love her.
In her book Fearlessly Feminine, Jani Ortlund says, “I am sometimes tempted to think that if God were really good, He would grant me my heart’s desire for a relationship because, of course, He wants me to be happy. But God is not good because He fulfills my desires. He is good because He is fulfilling His desires, and His desires are good for you and me. Goodness is His very nature.” As women we must trust in God’s goodness, “You are good and what you do is good.” Psalm 119:68. Trust that He has a plan for your current singleness. Trust that he has a plan for your life.
Leslie Ludy says, “Finding a godly guy and experiencing a God-scripting, lasting love story comes down to this: Build your existence around Christ. Jesus Christ – not finding the right guy- must be the focus of your life. He must be enough, even if no earthly love story ever comes your way. God may have given you the desire for a beautiful earthly romance, but remember to continually give that dream back to Him.”
2. Surround yourself with wise counselors/friends.
The woman who surrounds herself with godly friends and wise counselors will not be deceived by the smooth words and impressive gestures of foolish men. Proverbs tells us that in an abundance of counselors there is safety (Prov. 11:14). It’s not enough just for her to have wise friends, she must also heed their advice. When they tell her that a guy seems shady – that his words don’t match his actions – she must listen.
3. Hold off on emotional involvement.
The women who is serious about guarding her heart (Prov. 4:23) protects herself from getting emotionally connected to a man until his character has proved him to be godly. She refrains from flirtatious behavior, talking about marriage too soon and spending excessive time alone with him. She observes his character and makes an objective decision without her heart being involved. She studies Scripture to know what a godly man looks like and commits to the Lord that she will not cultivate a relationship (in her head or in her life) with anyone who does not match those criteria.
Proverbs paints a clear picture of him – the wise man.
- A wise man holds his temper – Proverbs 29:11
- A wise man listens to advice and seeks the counsel of other wise men – Proverbs 12:15, 9:8
- A wise man honors his parents, even if they are not following God – Proverbs 15:20
- A wise man is a peacemaker – Proverbs 16:14
- A wise man learns from mistakes and receives instruction humbly – Proverbs 21:11
- A wise man is full of strength – Proverbs 24:5
- A wise man trusts in the wisdom of the Lord, not in himself – Proverbs 28:26
- A wise man keeps himself away from strife (aka DRAMA) – Proverbs 20:3
- A wise man has good sense and uses it – Proverbs 16:22
- A wise man seeks wisdom, knowledge and understanding – Proverbs 15:2, 14
- A wise man is patient and forgiving – Proverbs 19:11
- A wise man fears the Lord and turns away from evil – Proverbs 14:16
So, why do women love jerks?
Because jerks – men who Proverbs calls a fool – do and say things to establish an emotional bond quickly, before their true nature is known. They make emotional promises that are not theirs to keep and in doing so sweep women with unguarded hearts off their feet. And once the emotional connection is there, very little can make a woman leave a fool… because she loves him.
Just because there have been fools in your past does not mean there cannot be a wise man in your future. But you must cut off ties with fools and surround yourself with wise, godly people. Because “whoever walks with the wise becomes wise.” (Prov. 13:20)
“A woman’s heart should be so hidden in God that a man has to seek Him just to find her.”