Respect

You know, there’s been a whole lot written about respect.  I don’t pretend to have any great insight that others wiser and more articulate than I have not written first.  So why am I prattling on about something I’m not even very good at most of the time?

Well, let’s face it.  It’s important.  God wouldn’t have told wives to respect their husbands if it wasn’t.  Come on, marriage is a picture of Christ and the church, right?  Well, if the way I show respect to my husband is a picture of how the church should show respect for Christ, well, Jesus is getting mighty short-changed.  I suppose that means Kevin is too.  Gulp.

You know, it’s really easy to justify things.  After all, I’m only human, right?  Humans aren’t perfect.  It’s just how it is.  Sooooooooooo I’ll be just dandy if my husband shows contempt for me, ignores me, doesn’t bother to treat me in the way that he wants Jesus to love, honor, and cherish the church, giving Himself up for us.  Right?  I’m down with that.  Totally awesome, dude.

Not hardly.

I feel as though I have a lot to say but for once, I don’t want to say it.  I don’t want to remind myself, much less anyone else, of my failings as a wife.  I want to protest that for someone to receive respect that they and/or their actions must be respect-ABLE.  Ahem.  So, does that mean my husband isn’t?  Oh, come on.  Everyone knows Kevin better than that.  The guy borders on perfect.  Obnoxious twit that he is.  There’s no excuse for being disrespectful– EVEN IF HE WAS A JERK.

God never qualified showing respect.  He never told wives, “And so you wives, be sure to show as much respect for your husbands as they deserve.”

Let’s face it.  We all deserve a big kick in the pants half the time.  So, I sit here and wonder, with my parents’ excellent training in this area, and I did have a fine example in my mother in how she showed respect for my father (and required it of all of us!) as well as my father’s example of respect for authority and his training, I have no excuse.  I’ve got everything going for me.

1.  Early training.
2.  Excellent examples
3.  THE HOLY SPIRIT.

So, what’s my excuse when I look over the course of my day and cringe at the way I spoke to or of the guy who puts up with me day in and day out?  Am I vicious?  Not hardly.  Am I snarky or snappish?  Rarely.  However, the fact is, I get frustrated.  I let it show.  I have no excuse.  I know, I know, we’re not perfect.  We don’t have to try to be it in ourselves.  We’re being perfected unto the day of Christ Jesus.  Yes.  All of that is true.  And it is also true that I will give an account for every wrong attitude, every time I sighed when he needed or wanted something– even if it was just inwardly– every time I wanted to argue, scream, or just let him have it for being human.  You know, that’s probably the problem.  I’ve got this guy who generally is pretty much perfect.  I don’t know what to do with him when he starts acting all fallible.  😉

However, what shames me most is that I tell my children all the time (and I truly do mean it), you do what is right because it is right, regardless of whether the other person does.  Sure, the flesh wants to excuse your failings with whispers of, “Well, if he hadn’t… blinked when I needed him to stare… the jerk,” but even if that stare was absolutely needed, my wrong reaction is not justified by his “wrong action.”  I have a responsibility to him.  I made it long before I ever met him.  Do you get that?  My responsibility to honor and respect my husband didn’t start the day I said, “I do.”  Dad burn it, it began way back in Rosamond when I was sixteen and Connie Sladek buried me with Jesus in baptism.  (Before people start dropping in shock, no.  Connie was not a female preacher.  She was just another sister in Christ who baptized a sister in Christ.  Breathe!)

When I said, “I do” to Jesus, I vowed to honor and respect my husband.  To be faithful to him.  To submit to him as unto the Lord.  I vowed to raise up my children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.  I vowed to exhibit the fruits of the Spirit when dealing with my family, God’s family, and the people that Jesus died for who aren’t family yet.  I vowed not to be a clanging cymbal and to bear all things, hope all things, believe all things about one another.  I vowed to love the Lord God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength and my neighbor (husband?) as myself.  When I put on Jesus, I may not have known the name of the man or the children who would be on the receiving end of those vows (and I bet there are days, weeks, months, years where they wish it was someone else– Lord please, not decades), but AS A CHRISTIAN, I made those vows.

Aw, man.  I hate it when I give myself a sermon like this.  It hurts.  Especially because I know it’s true.  I made a vow to respect regardless.  Now– to do it.  Because the last thing I want to do is be that man in my favorite book of the Bible– James.  I do not want to be a, “Hearer of the word” and “not a doer, deceiving” my own self.

*Shudders*

Submission~

It’s a dirty word but someone has to say it.  Let’s define it first.

7 dictionary results for: submit
Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1) – Cite This Source – Share This
sub·mit /səbˈmɪt/ Pronunciation Key – Show Spelled Pronunciation[suhb-mit] Pronunciation Key – Show IPA Pronunciation verb, -mit·ted, -mit·ting.
–verb (used with object)
1. to give over or yield to the power or authority of another (often used reflexively).
2. to subject to some kind of treatment or influence.
3. to present for the approval, consideration, or decision of another or others: to submit a plan; to submit an application.
4. to state or urge with deference; suggest or propose (usually fol. by a clause): I submit that full proof should be required.
–verb (used without object)
5. to yield oneself to the power or authority of another: to submit to a conqueror.
6. to allow oneself to be subjected to some kind of treatment: to submit to chemotherapy.
7. to defer to another’s judgment, opinion, decision, etc.: I submit to your superior judgment.
[Origin: 1325–75; ME submitten < L submittere to lower, reduce, yield, equiv. to sub- sub- + mittere to send]

Notice that it is a voluntary choice?  It’s a deferring?  Notice that it is done by one towards another?  Notice that it cannot be compelled or that would be cooersion?    Submission is often treated like a dirty word because it seems to imply a lording over by one to another.  It seems to indicate that one is beneath another in worth.  Implications, however, are not truth.

I’m sick of the lack of truth surrounding submission.  It isn’t demeaning or ugly.  If it is submission, it’s beautiful.  True submission is voluntary, respectful, and a gift.  It cannot be extorted or it’s coercion.  It cannot be threatened or it’s dominance.

However, most of us know that.  We’ve read it, studied it, and many of us embrace it as somethting the Lord has chosen for our good will and His glory.  This is a good thing!

What I keep seeing, however, is the constant use of it in situations that are not ‘submission’ oriented.

A wife serves her husband his favorite pie after dinner.  That’s not submission unless she didn’t want to do it, requested amnesty from evil pie baking, and her husband made it clear that while he understood her revulsion to pie baking, he’d really like that pie.  Notice husband isn’t demanding the pie, he’s asking her to die to self and bake him the stinkin’ pie.  He’d probably do it himself but his crust breaks teeth and he can’t afford a dental trip.  She thinks pies are bad for you and a waste of time, money, other resources- besides, the crust is hard to get how she likes it but if he really wants her to waste her time this way, she’ll do it.

At this point, it’s still not submission.  At this point, she has decided to either “obey” or acquiesce to his desires.  Until her heart decides to yield to his choice for the dessert of the night, it’s simply not submission.  Submission flows from the heart to the actions.  Obedience can be done with a heart that is cold and rebellious.  Submission can’t

What if she wants pie too?  What if he says, “Oh man, I’d love your blueberry pie!” and she thinks, “Well, I had other plans today, but that sounds good.”  That’s not submission.  Thats agreement.  She agrees that her pie is a great idea for dinner!  There’s no submission here.   She didn’t have to subject her will, willingly, to another. Hers was the same as  his.  There was no yielding!

What if she is sitting around and tired… not really wanting to do anything and remembers that he mentioned he missed her pies.  She doesn’t want to make a pie.  She’d rather read a book.  But, she wants to please her husband, show appreciation for all he does for her, so she bakes him the pie.  She dies to self, yields her will… sounds like submission right?  But she’s yielding her will to herself.  It’s still her idea.  He didn’t ask her to do something specific.  He didn’t indicate in any way that he EXPECTED a pie.  He just mentioned a preference and she decided to honor that preference in how she spent her time.

That’s called service.  It’s not submission.  It’s not submission until you have to choose to forgo your will in deference to the will of another.  It has to be a willing choice to do what you don’t want to do in favor of another.

I fear we’re complicating submission in our desire to be ‘holy as He is holy.’   I fear we’re redefining Biblical terms to fit our methods of applying them.  This is dangerous ground.  Let the principle stand on its own two feet.  Scripture doesn’t need our help to make us ‘more godly.’  Jesus finished that at Calvary.