This is the unwelcome, negative repetitive advice or demands voiced by another, thinking they are not getting their message across when there is unreasonable procrastination. The Bible likens it to an annoying constant dripping tap (Prov 19:13, 21:19, 27:15). It is not an effective form of communication, as it seldom brings about the desired

Ask yes, nag no!

change or action. Frustration and a breakdown of relationship are the result as who likes to be harassed by unrelenting, often critical and indirect niggling – frequently about trivial matters and every aspect of life that doesn't meet expectations? Steming from a person's inner discontent they seek to exert control over another. The person doing the nagging often is doing similar (or even the same) things as what they are finding fault with. The question must be asked, are they as quick to respond to requests made to them as they have pressurised others, for the Bible teaches we should do to others as we would like done to us (Lk 6:31).

Samson was entrapped by his enemies on two occasions by the nagging of the women he was involved with (Jdg 14:17, 16:16). The nagging he permitted from Delilah led to his tragic end (Jdg 16:21,30). Instead of communicating clearly and setting boundaries, he played along with her ploy, giving several false answers. This infuriated her and increased her determination to get to truth at any cost.

The power of persuasion should only be used for each other's benefit and not a tool for manipulation and control by one self-focused party whose unmet expectations compels them to pester another with their ideals of what they consider should be done. This is vastly different to bringing an issue to light and making suggestions.

There is a place though for persistent, courteous and direct asking regarding legitimate issues as in the story Jesus told of the judge who said, “I will respond to this woman before she wears me down with her constant request” for justice. She knew what she wanted and was persistent until she received. Jesus said if an evil judge can be worn down like that, don’t you think that God will surely give justice to His people who plead with Him day and night ” (Lk 18:1-8).

Positive appreciation expressed for meeting previous demands is beneficial both to the relationship and for encouraging the actioning of future requests. It is wise to just concentrate on the few essential issues and even offer to help to do any practical aspects

How do I handle being nagged at?

as well as asking for a projected timeline that can be expected for their completion. Many times rather than verbalising frustrations and criticism in an attempt to pressurise someone else to do what you consider needs doing why not attempt it yourself.

See also: ask, boundaries, communication, complain, control, Delilah, grumble, persevere, procrastination, words.