I received this comment on one of my blogs. I appreciate that Jon took the time to write, as it gives me an opportunity to draw a distinction between two different religions – modern patriarchy and Christianity. They are not the same, as we will see.
Here is the comment:
It surprised me that this conversation went straight to divorce. I realized many years ago that my happiness does not depend on my wife and that the happiness of my wife does not depend upon me. Once I realized this I made decisions for the family without asking permission, but with giving guidance. As the leader I realized all that was needed was guidance and conviction that I was operating under the leadership of the Holy Spirit. I made decisions, informed my wife of those decisions and did not stop until the task was done. I protected my family as best I could from any tough repercussions from that decision and when the task was complete my family reaped the rewards and were happy.
This all meant that I had to be in lock step with the Spirit and I had to follow through with all my decisions to the end. The worst was having to deal with a wife who was against me for the decision I was making. Previously I would have surrendered my will to what my wife desired which was perceived safety and security. I fought through those issues and was prepared to face the challenges of the task at hand whether it be a business decision or a move or a remodel. Anything I chose to do brought initial kickback from my wife, but follow through and determination brought success and more willingness by my family to trust my decision making.
It is the man’s job in the family to lead. If he allows the fears of the wife to stop any progress, the the family will be stuck. There will be resentment towards the wife and then the man can do very hurtful things.
I am not blaming women. I am blaming men for not being leaders and following through, ignoring in many cases the fears of the wife. Weak men cannot lead a family to victory. Until I became strong I was resentful and hurtful. Now I lead and my family has never been happier and so very successful. My wife and children are honored in the church and community. They are blessed. It is because I quit blaming them and took responsibility for my own actions.
If I have any suggestions for wives, it is to submit to your husband and honor his decisions and hold him accountable to follow through and support him throughout the process. To be patient with the process because everything takes time to complete. Often longer than expected. Do not kill his spirit because once that happens, often to weak men, it will end up in an irreparable relationship.
Dear Jon. The essence of being human is being an image-bearer of God. We are created with the ability to discern between good and evil, to make decisions, to interpret the world, to think and feel and shine God’s beauty and love to the world around us.
We were created to have dominion over all creation and be the voice of praise to the creator, to rest in his presence and join our voices to his in saying, “Behold, it is very good.”
This image-bearing was gifted equally to the male as well as to the female (Genesis 1:27).
God’s beauty and wisdom and love and justice are infinite. Humans are not. But God shows his wisdom by the remarkable diversity in all of creation, including the wonderful different gifts and personalities in each human that he created, male or female.
Of course, when the fall entered, mankind lusted after dominating each other, rather than having dominion over creation and disharmony entered. Men and women became slaves to sin, and there was nothing they could do about it.
So instead of marvelous freedom and diverse gifts and beautiful harmony, there entered domination, slavery, control, and pride. Men and women became slaves to sin.
This was pictured beautifully in Egypt. The whole story of our redemption is painted on the background of the Exodus, where the nation of Israel was redeemed from their hard bondage in Egypt to be the people of God in liberty and joy. Their slavery was so strong that the strength of men could not deliver them. Men could not work up enough will power to deliver them. The husbands could not bring about deliverence through their manliness. They were enslaved and powerless. But God delivered them with his outstretched arm. Both Moses and Miriam sing at the destruction of Pharaoh’s army.
But that was just a picture. As you know from the story, the slavery in Egypt was broken, but the slavery to sin was as powerful as ever. God gave the law from Sinai, and within a few days, Israel was worshiping golden calves. With a golden calf, they believed that they could control Jehovah. A God who speaks, who enters covenants freely, who loves, is actually terrifying because of the bondage of sin. The God who is cannot be controlled. All we can do is rest in his love.
But in order to rest in Jehovah’s love, we have to give up control and believe in the name of the One who Saves.
You can worship control, or you can worship The God Who Saves. But you can’t do both.
On the cross, Jesus broke the bonds of sin and death and misery. The law couldn’t do it. Authority and submission couldn’t do it. If man could have been made righteous by the law, Christ died in vain.
The problem was slavery and powerlessness. We are all subject to death.
Christ delivered us from the fear of death and the power of sin that we might serve him without fear, with our full restored image of God, reflecting his tremendous beauty and wisdom as we were created to do.
When the Holy Spirit was poured out on the church (Acts 2), it was poured out on men and women, old men and maidens. And later that included rich and poor, Greek and Jew, bond and free.
Satan hates God and hates his image. He seeks to silence the voice, crush the will, destroy the spirit. But Jesus died to set his people free. He governs his church by his word and spirit, NOT by tables of stone. He writes the law on the heart.
This means that your wife has equal access to the spirit that you have. The spirit was not poured out on you alone. Throughout scripture, God spoke through holy men AND women and held his people accountable for listening to them.
God could have spoken directly to Barak. But he spoke to him through Deborah. Barak could listen to her and live. Or hold on to his masculine pride and die. Sisera wasn’t defeated by testosterone, but by the power of God.
The two central doctrines of Christianity, the virgin birth and the resurrection, were witnessed by the women. The men could listen to them and live. Or they could ignore them and die. By God’s grace, the apostle’s repented of their hardness of heart and listened to the women.
So one question to answer is this – how certain are you that YOU are the one being led by the spirit and not your wife?
It is not the Spirit of Christ that silences the voices of his people. I fear that you are unaware of the spirit that you are operating under. But Christ came to restore us to his image, not silence us and keep us in bondage.
You are treating your wife like Pharaoh treated the Israelites. This is NOT Christianity. Peter commanded YOU to treat your wife as a co-heir of eternal life, not like one who is still in bondage to sin and misery. You are taking one verse out of context and deriving a whole new religion.
Your religion is a religion of control, not peace. A religion of authority and submission, not rest. A religion of bondage, not freedom of conscience. A religion where YOU are the golden calf, seeking to control the power of God.
This is paganism, not Christianity. If the Holy Spirit is poured out on you, it is also poured out upon your wife, and you will answer to him about how you treated his sheep.
I pray fervently that you will either repent of your cruelty, or that God will provide freedom for you wife. Treating her like this is oppressive and wicked. You are not loving her as Christ loved the church and set her free.
The scripture does not say, “Love your wife as Ahasuerus loved Vashti.”
Nor does it say, “Love your wife and Nabal loved Abigail”.
Nor, “Love your wife and Pharaoh loved Israel”.
All of those examples are examples of wicked men seeking to control people, rather than watching them thrive in freedom.
Love your wife as Christ loved the church. And how did he love his church? Read Philippians 2 carefully. He took the lowest place. He became a slave to all. He gave himself that she might be free.
Assume that your wife is an image-bearer of God and perfectly capable of making her own decisions. Set her free. If you belong to Christ, it is what he has done for you. So how dare you use that liberty as an excuse to enslave your wife and crush her voice?