To understand the intent of something, we have to understand the position of the statement. When we look at something from a perspective of “law” we see rules and regulations which demand strict obedience.
When we look at something from the perspective of LOVE, we gain a very different view of law. Jesus said in Matther 5:17 that He came to fulfill the law. Then in 1 John 4:8 we are told that GOD IS LOVE.
The word “submission”, through the lens of law has a very different meaning than it does when viewed through the lens of love.
Submission through the lens of law, DEMANDS obedience. Through the lens of love, it facilitates respect and honor.
Submission is an attitude of the heart. And when it is perceived in that manner, it gives respect and honor. When it is demanded, it carries nothing that represents Christ or Him Crucified. It becomes brutal and self serving to the one who demands it and causes resentment and bitterness in the one who it is demanded of.
A husband demanding submission of his wife will reap a harvest of bitterness and resentment, certainly not her respect and honor.
But if a husband has a heart of love, he understands that submission is an attitude of love, honor and respect. We are told to do just this in Ephesians 5:21. (by the way, this is not something we do IF the other person has the same attitude too.) We are always held responsible for our OWN attitude, not someone elses.
Next is the question of WRONG. This is a powerful concept; as to assume that you know what is WRONG, is to assume that you know the final outcome which is something that only God knows.
The concept of ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ is a judgement call. Judgement is the end result of law and can only be given by the One who created the law. None of us has a right to judge right or wrong. (hang in there with me … this gets better)
We are told to judge fruits (not people) and we have experiences through our lives which have come to be viewed by us as ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ decisions. (Fruits, by the way, are the end result of someone’s actions.)
“But,” you ask, ” in order to make a decision, don’t we have to know what is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’?” The answer is, of course, a resounding “YES!” followed by … “According to God’s Word”. Right and wrong are ALWAYS to be judged by His Word. Everything else is just speculation and or assumption on our part.
We must have some sort of measurement of what is going to be a profitable conclusion, however. So let’s rephrase our ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ thinking to ‘beneficial’ and ‘non-beneficial’. For the sake of this discussion, let’s set aside the concept of ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ and rephrase the issue to the matter of what is beneficial or non-beneficial.
For certain, we know that each person approaches a problem with a different solution. Was one solution better than another? No, it was just different – and it was either beneficial or non-beneficial.
There are many ways to solve a problem. Some ways don’t make sense and some ways are not nearly as effective. But when we have an attitude of submission, we are extending grace and honor to the one who is making the decision. Whether that someone is your husband or another leader in the church, or your child, or a friend … anyone, for that matter.
What if you knew the more beneficial solution and was not listened to, and the outcome was disastrous? Hopefully, a lesson will have been learned in the matters of considering all options before a decision is made.
Earthly things come and go. But matters of the heart are issues that will come before the throne of God. As a pastor’s wife, many eyes are upon you. Those of the women in the congregation and possibly the eyes of your children. Being ‘right’ isn’t nearly as rich of a lesson to them as having the character and grace to allow for mistakes and love absolutely the one you have chosen as your life partner.
A more important question might be, “Why is it so important for me to be right?” Ah, but that is for another post …
Shannon Parish is the Founder of Sarah’s Tent and President of Living Stones Center. She is an award winning cartoonist and graphic recorder who, after more than thirty years of ministry and as a Life Coach utilizes her artistic talent to teach and Illustrate You.