24 July 2013

On Submission

Scripture: 1 Peter 3:1-7 NLT

In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands. Then, even if some refuse to obey the Good News, your godly lives will speak to them without any words.  They will be won over by observing your pure and reverent lives.
     Don't be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes.  You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.  This is how the holy women of old made themselves beautiful.  They trusted God and accepted the authority of their husbands. For instance, Sarah obeyed her husband, Abraham, and called him her master. You are her daughters when you do what is right without fear of what your husbands might do.
   In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God's gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered.

Observation:

These kinds of verses in the Bible have always bothered me.  So, I decided I was going to take these head on, and see what a little prayer and quiet pondering could bring.

First off, this was written during the times of the Greco-Roman household codes.  Women were chattel, belonging to their husbands, who, thanks to possessing the prized Y chromosome, were awarded the power of life and death over those in their household.  Peter was applying Christian behavior to existing laws . . . not teaching how God wanted marriages to function.

Second, Sarah is cited as calling Abraham her master.  Abraham was the prophet-leader of his people.  He held the same position in his family as the men in Peter's day.  The husbands and fathers of today hold a drastically different position.  We are blessed to live in a day when men and women stand in equality before the law.  Besides: calling Vern "master" would make him tremendously uncomfortable--and I would hazard a guess that many men raised in our culture who would enjoy and/or require that have some serious issues. ;o)

Third, this chapter begins with "In the same way . . . ".  So, along with looking at what's around these verses to understand what they mean, we need to go back to the previous chapter and see what "way" Peter is talking about.

Application:

Here's what I found in the previous chapter that's applicable to our day:

"For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps. He never sinned, nor ever deceived anyone. He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly. He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed. Once you were like sheep who wandered away. But now you have turned to your Shepherd, the Guardian of your souls." (1 Peter 2:21-25 NLT)

Reading that, I could feel the holiness of a living a life like Christ's.  In always choosing the peaceful path, of loving with the Father's own love, of offering quiet answers full of truth and forgiveness.  This is a beautiful reminder of how we're all to live.

Prayer:

Lord, grant me a peaceful heart. Bless my family with a spirit of forgiveness for themselves and one another.  Let Your Holy Spirit reign here in my home and wherever I go, so that others might feel the peace and rest that comes from You.  In Jesus' name, amen.

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I welcome questions and concerns--they are most often what spur us closer to the truth. I only ask that we all give everyone the most generous benefit of the doubt, assigning the best motives possible. A soft answer truly does turn away wrath, and an atmosphere of Jesus's love is the best for learning, no matter which side of a discussion you're on.

Thanks so much, and God bless you!