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Saturday, May 11, 2002

Headship or Mutual Serventhood?-Eileen and I were reading in Ephesians 5 this morning (we try to do the same chapter each day and compare notes) which dealt in part of husband-wife relations, which is of interest to us since we're eight weeks away from our wedding date. This is not one of NOW's favorite verses. Here the part that draws more flamage than probably any part of the Bible-here's versus 21-27
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. 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.
Feminists will drill in on wives submitting to their husbands and fear a bunch of little dictators. They forget that the husband is charged with maintaining a Christ-like sacrificial love for his wife. That role is that of a servant, not a dictator. The underlying theme of the Pauline epistles in regards to our relation to our fellow man is that of mutual serventhood. If you thumb forward into Ephesians 6, you'll see that parents and fathers need to serve one another, as do slaves and masters. If the husband is acting in a Christ-like manner, he will be concerned about his wife's needs and desires and sacrificially put his wife's desires first when they are honorable. Likewise, the godly wife will try to put her husband's needs first. This can lead to martyrdom fights where both parties want the other to have their way. My favorite example was in a Sally Forth strip, where Sally and daughter Hillary were both trying to let each other have the last piece of pie. Sally closed down the debate by stating "Don't try to out-martyr your mother." The trick in such a relationship is to be gracious when you do truly want some outcome more than the other person and to have a feel for when the other person really wants something but is too giving to say so. This requires developing a sense of empathy for the other person. Mutual serventhood and empathy aren't natural, they're a gift from God. The guy lacking the presence of God in their lives may become the little dictators the feminists fear, but when that servanthood is allowed to blossom, the result is far better than any secularly-compassionate Alan Alda type guy. The servant-husband might pull rank from time-to-time, but will be a more attentive husband and father than the card-carrying liberal guy. This isn't something feminists want to face, but godly guys will make better husbands if gals will let them become godly men. Its the wife's job to get the husband to love God more, so she gets more love as a result. Likewise, the husband should strive to get his wife to love God more, since he will be the first beneficiary of that extra love. Many feminists fill their part of the equation very well; they submit to their husbands and God about the same amount-not much.

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