I grew up Catholic and every now then, Ephesians 5 would come through the weekly reading rotation at mass. The priest might talk about the passage, being ever so careful to tiptoe around what the text was actually saying. However, more often, he ignored it altogether and focused on the other readings from that Sunday morning. If my dad dared to joke about it on the car ride home, my mother, 2 sisters and I all just groaned and rolled our eyes.
But why? What is it that God’s Word discusses in that chapter of the Bible that would be so awful for a priest to avoid and a family to dismiss so easily?
Oh, the power that these 10 letters wield is amazing! Men and women have misunderstood it and abused it so often that we flinch when we hear it.
Submission has become a term associated with domination. A wife who “submits” to her husband is considered to have a weak, and even pathetic, character. A husband who calls for his wife to submit to him is considered a tyrant looking to suppress and control.
Our culture has fallen so far from what submission truly means and what it should look like!! And there was a time, not too long ago, I would have agreed with that cultural view. I may not have voiced it with such strong imagery, but, in my heart, that is exactly how I felt. And I guarantee that I am not alone among women who struggle with this concept. With submission – context is EVERYthing!
Despite that I have been a Believer for over a decade, it was not that long ago that the Lord revealed this truth to me…
Submission is truly SWEET if you look at it from the biblical context in which God created it and use it the way God intended it.
Are YOU rolling your eyes and groaning now? If so, that’s okay! Stay with me and let’s explore this text together.
If the only words you focus on are “wives, submit to your husbands” and “the husband is the head of the wife” then you are ignoring 90% of the passage and IGNORING THE CONTEXT. (Unfortunately, that is all too common in media today. We often accept a sentence in bold capital letters, thrown out into the world without context. Then, the author of those words can then be ravaged by the wolves.) But, as a Christian woman, I canNOT do that with this text!
As a wife, I am CALLED to submit to my husband as unto the Lord. My husband is CALLED to love me the way Christ loved the church.”
If you do not know Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, those words have absolutely NO weight whatsoever, and I get that. STAY WITH ME.
First, let me address my husband’s calling…
Husbands, LOVE YOUR WIVES as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…husbands should LOVE THEIR WIVES as their own bodies. For no one ever hated their own flesh, but nourishes it and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church.
Does that sound like a call to dominate? Abuse? Suppress? Harm physically or emotionally? NO! God never gave husbands the right to do any of these things even on the shallowest level. Selfish, evil, sinful men have done, and continue to do that, all on their own. Christian men have been guilty as well because they are human. They are not off the hook because they claim to know Jesus. In fact, it is even MORE pressing that they repent from that behavior and change. They are damaging their own witness both to their wives and to the world who is watching!
Now, let me address my calling as a wife…
WIVES, SUBMIT TO YOUR OWN HUSBANDS as to the Lord…the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church…its Savior.
First of all, I am called to submit to MY husband, NOT all men in general. That is important. God does not give men an overarching power to rule or dominate women. Women are not “second class” in the Bible.
Secondly, as a Christian, I am called to submit “to the Lord” because that is what being a Christian IS – giving your life completely over to Him and living for His glory! ALL Christians are called to be SUBMISSIVE to the Lord, including husbands. Submitting to our husbands is just one of the ways wives do submit to the Lord. THIS WAS A REVELATION FOR ME!!
I thought submission was simply doing what my husband wanted and not arguing about it. I would argue that Joel thought that way also. So ultimately, if we disagreed, he had the final say. I was supposed to just shut my mouth and go with it. That’s not submission, that is oppression. There IS a difference…you can guess how well THAT went over in my marriage!
So what’s the difference between oppression and submission?
Oppression is forcing a behavior that is merely performed in actions.
Submission is the willingness of behavior that is, not only performed in action but also supported in the heart.
Understanding the difference is KEY to being able to live out this calling, which is not always easy. Not surprisingly, I do NOT do this perfectly all the time!! But, since understanding this, I have made a lot of progress and have done this better in the past 6 months. Not surprisingly, it has also been the sweetest 6 months in the past 9 years of my marriage.
If you liked this post or it help you in some way, please share it! There are other women out there who need to read it too!
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