Friday, June 02, 2006

Be A Man

The Bible mandates a certain style of leadership and structure in the family to maintain order. Happy homes exist in structured environments and structure is found easiest and most completely within God’s specific design for marriage and the family. The husband is the leader of the family and with that position comes great responsibility for the overall health of the family.

The husband is ultimately responsible for an unhappy home until he assumes his proper role which provides love, protection, and stability. I believe it is wrong to point blame at any other member of the family until the husband (and or father) is acting and performing in his proper role. Ephesians 5:22-28 and verse 33 say:

22 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. 28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself;
33 Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.

It seems that in some way the responsibility of the wife to submit to her husband is dependent upon his sacrificial love and leadership. The church submitted to Christ after he gave himself for her. The respect and submission of a wife for her husband will follow almost naturally for a man who loves his wife as Christ loved (and continues to love) the church. In the last verse Paul commands first that the husband love the wife and then (maybe in response?) he commands that the wife respect her husband.

If indeed my interpretation and understanding of these verses is true, then I believe it not only strengthens the position of the woman in the home by reminding us that submission comes not through force or compellation of the husband, but rather through obedience to God’s word in a relationship where the man gives himself as a sacrifice for the good of his wife. Christ did not beat the church into submission, rather Christ died for his church so that we could in turn submit graciously to the one who was willing to die in our stead. Imagine how much wives would freely give to their husbands if men’s actions convinced the world and their spouses that they were willing to give anything, even their own lives, just to save their wives.

The responsibility for submission in the home does not rest first on the shoulders of the wife. Rather, the responsibility is greatest upon the shoulders of the husband who is called to love his wife in such a way as to earn her respect. Godly relationships do not demand submission; it develops as a natural relationship between husband and wife when the man is willing to accept the great and heavy responsibility laid upon him by the design of God as the leader of the household. In turn, the gratitude of the wife is made evident in her overflow of support for her husband. This support shows itself in her desire to please and satisfy the one who has given all to maintain her safety and to prove his love. The Bible calls this support submission, but rest assured that biblical submission is nothing less or more than evidence of things unseen. We may never see the wind blow, but we know it blows when the leaves move in its breeze. In the same way, love can never be seen, but the world knows it is present in a godly relationship demonstrated by the sacrificial love of a godly husband and the submissive love of a godly wife.

Men, step up to the plate and love your wife!

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