Wednesday, December 27, 2006

So what is the relationship between husband and wife…parents and children? Last time we described what the husband being the head of the home and his wife submitting to his leadership does NOT imply or entail. We saw that husbands are commanded by God to respect their wives which would obviously prohibit all forms of abuse: emotional or physical, verbal or sexual. A husband being the head of his home excludes controlling his wife’s behavior, attitudes or opinion. It is interesting to note that husbands are not instructed to submit their wives, force them to submit, manipulate them into submission or even to consistently remind them to submit. The instruction regarding this issue is directed at wives, not husbands. It is upon the wife to submit herself willingly, in obedience to the Creator and designer of the family…not for the husband to enforce or lord over his wife. My…how “Christian” men have altered the home life God intended for hundreds, nay, thousands of years.

This concept of wives making the choice to submit, as opposed to be forced to submit, is a revolutionary one by world history standards. In, for example, the Islamic world, not only are wives forced to submit to their husbands (with corporal punishment not only allowed by prescribed for the husband to deal out for insubordination of their wives) but women in general are forced into submission under all men. If I really wanted to disturb you I could post a video or two of women being stoned to death in Afghanistan, Iran or the Sudan…for things such as adultery (if a women is raped she is considered an adulteress in those cultures). I’ll spare you that dose of reality…maybe I shouldn’t…watch one or two of those videos and you’ll discard any notion that all cultures are equal. There is a reason why the “Christian world” used to refer to the “Islamic world” as barbaric. But here is a video for you to watch as an Imam teaches men to discipline their unruly wives on Islamic TV (the Imam is simply teaching, there is nothing graphic in this clip whatsoever).

The Christian view, however, is revolutionary.

Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— Ephesians 5:22-29 NIV

Again, note that Saint Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, speaks directly to and instructs wives to submit themselves to their husbands and only to their husbands in that context. Next we see that the husband is indeed given the burden and privilege of headship in the home. But that is not where the instruction stops is it? “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…” It’s as if for generation’s preachers, teachers, pastors and husbands have read the first part of this passage then skipped over the next with a “yadda, yadda, yadda…” all the way to Ephesians 6:1 which they’ll then note as the next significant passage. Slow down there cowboy! “…love your wives, just as Christ loved the church…and gave himself up for her…” Compare that instruction with the way most husbands have treated most wives and the contrast is shocking. The role established by God Himself for the husband is to lead by serving. “Just as Christ…” Headship is not a divine right to be served; as it has been twisted into and is now thought of today…it is the burden of sacrifice for his wife and family. It’s dieing a thousand times for his wife. It is the responsibility of protecting his wife, not just from marauders or thieves or rapists…but protecting her from dishonor in the home or in society. The role and function of the husband and father in the home is almost identical to the role the pastor has in the local church (unless we are talking about a Baptist church…lol…)

The following is a list of adjectives and evocative phrases used in the Bible to describe Christ and are words that must be true of husbands if a husband is to conform to the Apostolic instruction to love their wife “just as Christ loved the church”… This is how the Bible described Christ and describes exactly what God has in mind when He calls husbands to be the heads of their homes… if these words and phrases do not describe a husband he is not acting as head in his home...he is acting either as a tyrant or a tenent...but not as head.

Without Deceit
Self Controlled
Full of grace and mercy
Cherishes Tenderly
Subject to the Father
Disciplinarian with his children
Head of his household

Next: what if a husband is backslidden, not a believer or is out of control/irresponsible?


Naomi said...

You are such a good writer! I love reading your stuff. Keep up the good work!

irreverend fox said...

praise the Lord...

Mark Jones said...

That's a load of....

Just wanted your big head to go down a little. Someone has to keep you humble. Love your posts and input.