Saturday, April 20, 2013

Much ado About What?

22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Ephesians 5:22-24

If you're a woman and you've been to church more than like, once, you heard a thing or two about submission.

It's treated a little like a dirty word.

Many women cringe when the topic comes up.

I read a post this week over on Prodigal Magazine that provoked quite a frenzy of comments. I read about 350 of the over 500 comments on this topic of a woman submitting to her husband. It made my head hurt. But I couldn't stop reading. I was so surprised at the sheer amount and utter indignation from this crowd of what I believe are mostly christian women.

Over and over again so many commenters said that it isn't biblical to say the wife must submit to her husband. (I think many people's sticking point was that submission should be mutual).

Why this topic? Why do those verses above send so many women into a tizzy? The next 9 or so verses in Ephesians talk about just how much a husband should love his wife. And then ends with a reminder that wives need to respect their husbands.

The post I mentioned was well written. Emily spoke of her tendency to not want to serve her husband. She spoke of the anger which seems to plague so many of us post-feminism women. Anger that says "why should I serve you?!" Many women I know struggle with living this out in their marriages. But I dare say most of them know is necessary and expected that we help our men, support them and submit to their authority. There have been generations of women who out of good intentions, bad situations or just plain rebellion have decided that their men (and most others) aren't capable of leading their home. And we have convinced our men of this.

Strong women make strong families. Head strong women strip men of their value as leaders and fulfill our silly self imposed prophecies: that we can do it better, more efficiently and with more grace than these men.

We've decided we'll do it all. And we do. But we have made our own beds because WHY would anyone WANT to "do it all"? Doing it all is exhausting in every sense of the word. It's also really lonely. For generations we told our men we didn't need them. And guess what, they believed us. So many men let their wives take over and be in charge of it all....and then they taught they're sons to do the same. Men stopped being told and raised to know they needed to protect and love and fight for their woman and their family and the lie that was given instead is still eroding family structure at alarming rates. A mama didn't respect her husband so the kids didn't respect him either and every child who started a family of his or her own takes (at least pieces) this lie with them. The lie that says men will only mess it up. The lie that says a woman can do it all and have it all and she never has to take direction from anyone.

So generations are missing models of healthy marriages where mom builds up dad and dad knows the family's welfare is on his shoulders.
And some woman write to remind us about what being a wife is supposed to mean and people are all up in arms. Emily, talked about what a beautiful picture of Christ's love a wife can paint when she loves her husband and serves him in spite of his sin and shortcomings. She spoke of a woman who stayed with a husband who knocked out her teeth and led him to Jesus because of her example of unconditional love. The commenters, they shout that submission leads to abuse and how can a person ever condone staying with an abuser.  Well Emily sure wasn't recommending that but really isn't that the kind of love we're called to? Aren't we to mimic our Messiah in our relationships?

Servant King, giclee print of Jesus washing his disciples' feet
Servant King, watercolor on canvas by E. Wierenga,

Matthew 5:43-48 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? ...

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Romans 12:14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.

Matthew 24:13 But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

There are many, many times that we are called to submit, love or serve or whatever you want to call it. Jesus said it over and over, how we're expected to bend low, even if it costs us.  But when a large group of (probably well meaning) woman get at this subject suddenly it seems the whole matter is suddenly up for discussion.

The article (and all the comments) showed me just how wide spread this train of thought is. I believe it's part of our curse, our consequence for sin. God says our desire will be for our husbands. But in the link look at this little note on the word 'for'; it can also be translated as 'against'. Hebrew is an inflected language. It's prepositions change depending on noun/verb choices. This specific word is va-el (or wa-el). It is a word that means toward, to, to move toward, against, about, before.

If this is the curse we bear, the consequence for sin, we should really be aware. It's a struggle we should expect to have and it's a struggle we're expected to resist.

So really, I don't see what all the fuss is about. Unless, it's just about us ladies not wanting to be humble enough to submit to the truth...

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Hello and Welcome. Just a note on comments. I leave them open but I ask that comments be respectful. To me, to God and to His word. I will remove anything that isn't.