Monday, May 14, 2018

What Submission Does NOT Mean

To have the marriage of your dreams, you must follow the manufacturer's instruction manual.  The Bible says that husbands must love and lead, and wives must submit and support (Eph 5).

Because there is so much controversy surrounding submission, let me clear up three common misconceptions. 

First, the call to submission does not mean women are inferior to men.

The Bible does not teach that women are less valuable, or less intelligent, or less loved by God.  And submission does not imply that.  If you will recall yesterday's post, everyone is called to submit to someone.  Even Jesus Christ submits to God the Father. 

Submission is more about order than value and ability. 

The NIV Study Bible puts it this way.  “Inferiority is not implied by this passage.  The submission is one of role or function necessary for the orderly operation of the home.” 

Consider a basketball team.  The players are required to submit to the coach.  But that doesn’t mean that the coach is the most valuable member of the team; that doesn’t mean that the coach is the smartest person on the team.  But for the sake of harmony, health, order, and effectiveness, the players must submit to the coach. 

Second, the call to submission does not mean that the husband has to make all the decisions alone.

Some mistake submission in marriage to mean that the wife is not to have any say.  She is not to give her opinion.  She is not to try to sway her husband one way or another.  He is not even supposed to ask for her input.  He is the decision maker, and she is just supposed to live with whatever he decides. 

That’s not submission.  The wife is free to give her opinion and offer insight, and the husband and wife can and should put their heads together when they make decisions. 

Two heads are better than one.  As a married couple you will make much better decisions when you make them together than if the husband makes them alone.  The leader is not always the smartest person in the room.  In fact, rarely is that the case.  A good leader is one who surrounds himself with smart people.  A good leader admits it when he doesn’t know, and he surrounds himself with people who do know. 

Wives, you may be smarter than your husband, but that doesn’t mean you should be the leader.  That means you need to help the leader make wise decisions.  Husbands, just because God made you the leader, that doesn’t mean you are smarter than your wife.  You need her help! 

In my marriage, one of us is very intelligent, and one of us is very tall.  Guess which one is which?  My wife is much smarter than me, so I rely heavily on her for decision making. 

Third, the call to submission does not mean that wives can’t make any decisions alone.

Some mistake submission to mean that the husband must be involved in every decision.  That’s not the case.  Just because you are in charge doesn’t mean you need to micromanage every little detail in your family. 

In my family, Lydia makes a lot of decisions without me.  She chooses the kids’ school curriculum, and organizes their day.  She chooses how to decorate and arrange the house.  On most days she even chooses my outfit!  She chooses and plans the family menu.  I could go on and on. 

I read this story in one of Dave Ramsey’s books.  He heard it somewhere, and he wasn’t sure if it was true, but it’s a good story.  George and Barbara Bush were in the presidential limo driving back from an event.  They were driving on some back roads, and the driver had to pull over for gas.  The old service station owner popped out of the door with his mouth gaping open at the sign of the president's limo sitting in front of his gas pump.  When Mrs. Bush saw him through the window, she jumped out of the car, ran up to him, and gave him a great big hug.  They talked for a few minutes, and then she got back in the limo.  She turned to President Bush and said, “That's Harry, my old high school boyfriend!"  George got a big grin on his face, leaned back, and said, "So let me get this straight.  If you had married him, you'd be the wife of a gas-station attendant.  But instead, you married me, the most powerful man in the world, and you got to be the First Lady of the U.S."  Barbara looked back at him with a sparkle in her eye and said, "Oh George, don't be silly!  If I had married him, he would be president!"

If a husband is smart, he will recognize the universal truth in this story.  We are far more successful with our wives than we would be without them. 

Submission does not mean that the wife is inferior; it doesn’t mean that she can’t be involved in the decision-making process; and it doesn’t mean that the husband has to micromanage every decision.  On the contrary, a wise husband will get his wife very involved in the decision-making process.

Tomorrow I will go into detail about what submission DOES mean. 

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