Friday, June 6, 2008

Shhhh! It's the "S" Word!

Ew! Submit and subordinate are such icky words in our society today. No one wants to be in that position. Everyone wants to be the top dog and the one giving the orders. It's about power, prestige, and giving oneself a name that is recognizable by others. God made everyone equal, right?

Equal does not mean the same. If everyone was created the same, it sure would be a boring and chaotic world. Everyone would be stuck in the same profession or close to it. Everyone would have the same opinion- even if it was an incorrect one. We'd all have the same faults and strengths and variety wouldn't exactly be on the menu anywhere. It's good that we are not the same.

It's also good that men and women aren't the same. As much as my husband drives me absolutely crazy at times because I don't understand what he is trying to tell me or why he did something, the individual strengths and weaknesses we bring to our marriage make our marriage work. There is another reason why our marriage works. Call us old fashioned, but we do things the way that they were created to work. My husband is the head of the household and I submit to him.

Submit. Now there's a dirty word. People don't like that word. People don't like that word being in the Bible. "Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord." (Ephesians 5:22) That's not the only place to find that word, either. "For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting tot heir husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening." (1 Peter 3:5-6) It's also in the Lutheran Confessions. Find Luther's Small Catechism and turn to the table of duties for wives. Those verses are exactly what you will find.

What does it mean to submit? A conversation I had recently would make it sound as if submission is a form of slavery. Submission is seen as being bound to another's wants and needs above and beyond my own. As if submission and obedience is only present in partnership with tyranny. Perhaps that is what the world would see when they hear that a wife will submit to her husband. Those of us in Christ know better. Husbands do not get to lord over their wives in a disrespectful and dishonoring way. Look to the same Table of Duties for how husbands are to treat their wives.

"Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered." (1 Peter 3:7) This does not sound like a dictator ordering his subjects around. This is love. It is a reminder that the wife is a child of God and is to be treated as such, since she is a gift of God to the husband. Just as Adam was given Eve in the Garden, so each wife is given to her husband in marriage.

Why must the woman submit? Why can't it be the man? Well, that's not for me to answer. I didn't create men and women, God did. God is a God of order, and the order He created was to make man in His own image first, and then take Eve from Adam. That is the order of creation, the order that God decided to make. Just as Christ's work of redemption on the cross is not for me to question but to believe so it is with the reason that God ordered creation the way that He did.

Why is this important? Stay tuned for Part Two. . .