The Submission and Respect the Apostle Paul Speaks of Was Never Meant to Enslave!
Hello everyone! I want to start today's blog with a passage from the Bible written by the Apostle Paul to the Ephesians:
Ephesians 5:21-23 AMP: Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as [a service] to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as Christ is head of the church, Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also wives should be subject to their husbands in everything [respecting both their position as protector and their responsibility to God as head of the house].
Husbands, love your wives [seek the highest good for her and surround her with a caring, unselfish love], just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify the church, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word [of God], so that [in turn] He might present the church to Himself in glorious splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy [set apart for God] and blameless.
Even so husbands should and are morally obligated to love their own wives as [being in a sense] their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own body, but [instead] he nourishes and protects and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members (parts) of His body. For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall be joined [and be faithfully devoted] to his wife, and the two shall become [b]one flesh. This mystery [of two becoming one] is great; but I am speaking with reference to [the relationship of] Christ and the church.
However, each man among you [without exception] is to love his wife as his very own self [with behavior worthy of respect and esteem, always seeking the best for her with an attitude of lovingkindness], and the wife [must see to it] that she respects and delights in her husband [that she notices him and prefers him and treats him with loving concern, treasuring him, honoring him, and holding him dear].
I want you to notice a few things. The first thing I want you to notice is that Paul says to "submit to one another" meaning he wants both men and women in a relationship to submit to one another and serve (an respect) one another instead of themselves. The second thing I want you to notice is there is alot more asked of men where love and submission are concerned if you continue to read the entire passage. God made men first in his image. Men were not deceived in the garden (read Genesis Chapter 3 for this account). Therefore, it stands to reason that they are asked to do more for these reasons. As men and women, we aren't born with the natural knack to serve others. We are born with a knack to serve ourselves. I believe this is what Paul was driving at when he gave these instructions.
The third thing I want you to notice is he did not tell the men or the women that by submitting to or respecting each other they were to be treated badly or be considered less of a person. Anyone who tells you that is twisting Paul's words and has another agenda. Abusers, chauvinists and the Nazi will twist these words and use them to say women are inferior and have a specific role and no more - the selfish, master/slave mentality take on this passage or plainly, woman-hating.
Feminists for their part have brought to the forefront many domestic violence and sexual violence issues as well as inequality issues and for that I am thankful. Paul would be thankful. I have no doubt Paul would stand with you against these atrocities. However, feminists stop reading this particular passage at verse 22 and never consider anything before or after verse 22 thus blunting their understanding of Paul's original intent. They make the assumption that respect or submission of any kind is domination and inequality without examining the whole passage or the intent of Paul's writings. Feminism has missed it concerning this issue. They have opted like their counterparts for the selfish take on this passage, only it looks like man-hating instead of woman-hating.
How are women-hating and man-hating ever going to help the human race? I ask you to seriously consider that question.
I can tell you right now that submission and respect (which must be mutual) were never about enslaving another person. They were about teaching us to serve one another as Paul says when he first begins this passage. They were instructions to keep us from our natural selfishness. They were designed, not by Paul, but by God to help us in our relationships of all kinds. As for me, I'm going to do my relatioships God's way. I have tried other ways, they don't work. If you have not tried relationships God's way, I ask you to try it. I'm not going to promise it will be easy, but it will be worth it in the long run and alot better than the alternatives I've described in this blog.
I hope I have been able to shed light on a passage that causes so much debate and grief for many. I look forward to any comments and questions you may have for me.
Until next time,