Pouting

Joshua Welch

Pouting. We all know what it looks like, right? It looks like the four-year-old sitting in the corner, with his frown needing turned upside down, and arms crossed sighing loudly for attention. It looks like the teenage girl who got put on the bench during the game. So she sits, disinterested, not cheering on her teammates, and thinking about how “it isn’t fair” she is not playing. It looks like the adult who did not get what they wanted and so they do a number of things—squeal their tires, give you the cold shoulder, threaten to quit or leave, badmouth the decision-makers, etc. Pouting is manipulation. It is a subtle or not-so-subtle form of bullying. It is at the “root of bitterness” the Bible warns about and is an immaturity which needs snuffed out in the child of God. But, does the Bible talk about “pouting?” Notice a few Bible examples to learn from…

Cain (Gen 4). God notices his “countenance has fallen” when Abel’s sacrifice was accepted but Cain’s was rejected. He could have made up his mind to do better. But, he simply got mad about it and killed the one who received the glory he wanted for himself.

Miriam and Aaron (Numbers 12). They are jealous of Moses’ authority and it comes out in their verbal attack on his Ethiopian wife (12:1-2). Sometimes our pouting is obvious when we attack others we see as rivals. God struck Miriam with leprosy (12:10-16).

Ahab (1 Kings 21). He is upset Naboth will not sell him his vineyard. He lays “down on his bed” and turns “away his face, and would eat no food” (21:4). Jezebel notices his pouting and takes care of it with a conspiracy against Naboth. Evil bullies those two. God would repay.

Naaman (2 Kings 5). He gets upset because Elijah sent a messenger to tell him God’s instructions instead of coming himself (5:10-13). It injured his ego and he “turned and went away in a rage.” His servants calm him down and talk rational sense into him (5:13).

Haman (Esther 5). He has the ear of the king but cannot stand the fact one man will not bow down to him (5:13). He should have dropped it and counted his blessings. Yet, his friends enabled him in his folly rather than rebuking him in his arrogance.

These are just the Old Testament examples. What about Martha upset with Mary for not helping her in the kitchen? What about the prodigal so self-righteous he won’t join the party to celebrate another? What about Diotrephes who would not even share the pulpit because he “loved the preeminence.” In every case, the pouters needed corrected, not ignored or enabled or babied. There is wisdom in these accounts of Scripture for those with eyes to see.
Have we learned?

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