The Balanced Role Of A Husband – A Biblical Perspective -By Bishop Funmi Adesanya-Davies Ph.D

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Bishop Funmi Adesanya-Davies

 

May I start these inspirational lines by saying this is not in anyway a clarion call to disorderliness or lack of submission to one another or by women in our Christian homes. It is of course sadly true that some women are tyrants, haven been loosened from the bondage of their  homes and husbands under the old law and covenant, in fact have abused the privileges of Christ’s redemption. They have become so strong, hard, cold, aggressive, controlling and unloving, a tragedy of lost womanhood and humanhood, taking themselves into a NEW KIND OF BONDAGE away from true woman dignity. This piece is not in anyway about women liberation but about our liberty in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savour.

The plan of God is to protect mankind from failed homes and marriages because the home is the first tier of governance in the society and  marriage is God’s divine idea. One of the main reasons why most men failed in their marriages is the man’s   “I-am-the-Master” mentality. They forgot  the word of God, the example of  Christ the Master, who washed the apostle’s feet. They forgot  the word “husband” has in it: “us”,  “and”,  “band”, so it can never be about them. They forgot that husband does not mean the “male-god” in a marriage, neither does it mean the slave-master nor the boss. If the men were ‘The Masters’, then every man would have been the master of every woman out there. But a husband occupies his position only with his wife- who is supposed to be- your partner, your friend, your lover, your sex-partner, your sister, your mother, the mother of your children, etc,. and not every other man’s wife. Jesus is the Lord and Master of all! Amen.

Next, let us look at  the meaning of the ‘term Master’.

*Which definition of “MASTER” would you preferably pick?*

Meanings of “master” in the English Dictionary

“Masters” in English – To acquire real knowledge of.

– the person who owns, cares for, who is in charge of.

– a person who employs a servant or owns a slave: as servants had to obey their masters.

-a person who has control over:

-a particular situation.

-the captain of a ship that carries goods:

Ship’s masters are in charge of a ship in the Ports.

-a person who is very skilled in a particular job:

-a famous and very skilled painter is a Master.

Does “Head” mean  ‘LEADERSHIP’ or ‘SKULL’? Sure please, ‘Husband’ does not mean ‘Husbandry’!

Most men do not  need a Marriage Seminar at all, all they need is a correct “Word Seminar”,  just a word from God, an anointed word from God. What is the origin and  meaning of the word  ‘Submission’? Have I cared to listen to the Holy Spirit or my head? Have I really settled to search the Scriptures?  ‘Submission’ is “Hupotasso” a word entrenched in Agape Love. The reason for most problems in Christian marriages is the fact that men cannot understand and appreciate their divine position as the head of the family. Our father Abraham so much understood this principle and was so well behaved and adjusted,  that his wife called him not only ‘master’ but ‘lord’ and he need not innovate the title by himself. Submission is not to be demanded but to be earned in a godly marriage. Agape love of course, denies all forms of slavery wherever possible. It demands we give the other person his or her freedom as God loves and gives us freewill in Christ, the Master, who laid down His life for our sins.

The women folks are not created as men, God fashioned them as responders and not originators and whatever you give to a woman you get back in greater fold. “Whatsoever a man sows he shall reap.” (Gal.6:7). In fact, in God’s definition of marriage, women do not need to believe they are equal with men nor arrogate to themselves masculine powers. They are just supposed to be women, wife, lady, daughter, feminine- A beautiful roleplay. The role of a woman is so special in marriage, that is why, a woman can change her name to her husband’s name with excitements, without thinking through and looking back. That is why the Scriptures enjoin the man to leave his family and be joined to his wife, as it is easier for the woman to leave and cleave than the man. In Gen 2:24, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh”. (See also Matt 19:1; Mark 10:7; Eph 5:31.)

Most women while they were girls loved their fathers, indeed nature so made them to be closer to their fathers more than their mothers and that was why they were so eager to find love and be married to their own husbands. Their fathers were real men to them and so they expected their husbands to be ‘REAL” men also. However, some Christian husbands are not men enough to husband their wives and to perform that role of the great Master who loved and died for the Church.  But they still want to answer the name MASTER.  It is not easy to be a master. It is the most unenviable role, a man should be afraid to play, if well defined and put in proper perspective. To be a master means to master the other,  to take charge and love, mastery of your spouse and partner, the family, to protect, to take risks, etc,. It is not a master-servant relationship as in slavery as some men would think.

*Most men are not secured in their own manhood. They have inferiority complex, they are jealous and fearful of their wives as if there is a competition, and cannot master their relationships. Husbands are to love and respect their wives as Christ loves the Church, came down from His throne in heaven and gave Himself for her. Women are to respect, submit, love their husbands and children and care for their families. However, many women have lost their lives to the godless submission master-servant relationship theory.*

The scriptures say: “Husbands, love (agape) your wives, even as Christ loves the Church, and gave Himself for it.” (Eph. 5:25-27.) Our Lord Jesus Christ so humbled Himself,  there was no such room for selfish ego and male chauvinism in His life. Agape love is the very essence of His headship towards the Church, and so it must be for the husbands who follow His model and see Him as their role model too! If the Lord Jesus Christ makes the Church joint heirs with Himself, the husband will need to share all the rights and privileges with his bride too. A good husband does not demand submission to his headship, even as Christ does not. She the wife loves and submits willingly to her husband’s love even as the Church and Christ. This is AGAPE LOVE IN OPERATION. He loves us first and we then love Him. “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for our sins.” (1 John 1:19.) “We love because He first loved us”,  and “But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” (Rom 5:8).

We do not have to be servile or be servants. We are children of God as Christ is the Son of God and first among the begotten. We are not SLAVES OF GOD. We are joint heirs with the Son and we just exercise the right of sonship, enjoying the higher law of giving up our rights and behaving as necessary in the spirit of submission. This is quite different from masochism that says: “The husband is the head by force and at all cost.” Some men unfortunately have allowed SELF and spiritual pride to bring them down and lost their wives and their homes. To think that any assertion of a woman’s role, personality, any sign of being a real-life full person is a sin, is not only unfair but ungodly. Both men and women are created in the image of God. (Gen.1:27; Gen. 5:2.)

Again, some husbands think their headship entitles them to handle everything in the home. Their wives are not their helpmates or their complementary  help-to-meet and companions. They think headship means making all decisions, always having all the last word, never-wrong, always-right, always being the one to take all and every initiatives in the family. They like the concepts of these mere traditions of men. It is very unscriptural. It is rather very right and in God’s design that husbands and wives take decisions together, respect each other , submit to one another and so fufil the law of Christ. They are to worship together in the same Church and Parish, so they could serve as role models to their children especially if they are pastors, contrary to some teachings.

Really, the command of God to men to love their wives as Christ loves the Church comes first, much more supercedes, and is much more demanding  than wives to respect, differ or submit to their own husbands. The marriage  relationship is supposed to be a two-way affair such that a beautiful relationship would result. They are supposed to live as two responsible full adults and not the wife a child-dependent pet, puppet or robbot role. How cruel, evil, unscriptural, demanding and damaging and what an unfulfilled life, if because of traditions of men, a man’s ego must be protected at all costs; even if the woman has to pretend all her life to be dumb and give up her life and happiness.

True Agape love protects both man and woman from humiliation as neither partner deliberately tries to outdo the other or to vaunt his or her ego. Each is to be secured enough to be what he or she is, without the need to feel superior or to force the other to downgrade, so he can imagine himself as more superior, after choosing her as his friend, wife and partner. Thus were their expectations before the marriage, as they danced down the isle on their wedding day and should be thereafter. Life in marriage should actually be lived in freedom and liberty and this is one of the dividends of the death of Christ on the cross of Calvary. Marriages could be blissful and couples could be happy and be real friends till death do them part.  More so, we could notice that in this canal way of relating, it is easy for the dominant one to become haughty with pride. Have you ever noticed in some Christian families which are run according to this carnal  traditional dominance-subjection model, that their marriages are less fulfilling as the poor woman lives vicariously through her husband and children. She lives in fear and the dominating husband lives as a-thin-god.

Ironically, it is again interesting that many such husbands later secretly dislike and even despise a despondent feaful woman. They sometimes turn their lives toward other women with more interesting lives and more confident, assertive adult personalities. The doctrines of domineering husbands, puffed up with pride and male ego and a complete denial of the gospel of abundant life, always do untold harm to the husband leading to separation, humiliation and divorce. This is because if the wife takes an abnormally low place and position, she inevitably pushes her husband to an abnormally high position and things get out of balance with time. In life, it is bad for anyone to have his or her own way all the time, not even in the relationship between parents and children. As such, we need to let God be God and let man be man!

God wants His children, servants and ministers to learn grace, love, faith, humility and a forgiving heart, so as not to end up in humiliation and strife.  Such self-style motivated messages and claims as: “In  marriage, you have the man who is the head of that union and because he’s the head of that union, it’s important to understand him. You think he’s the one that needs to understand his wife and that is where you are wrong; he will eventually but you have to know the type of man you are married to and his needs.” are not good for  our homes. Such men also say: “When you say you are marrying a man, you are coming under his authority. The Bible says, the man is the head of the woman (1 Corinthians 11:3). So when you marry him, you come under his authority, you are not authority sharers even though you are both heirs to the kingdom of God.”  Hello sir, such contradictions and rattlings are not Christlike! Has the man therefore become God? Has he translated to be the Holy Spirit? Has the woman left her duty to God and Christ our Lord and Saviour? Is that how the Holy Bible admonishes us to correct in love? Barking down messages on women and ladies on the Believers Love World pulpit without Agape love! Is this fair? What would this make out of all their families!

To reduce a woman totally to a “thing” in a “subservient role”, brings her subtly to bondage, rubs her of her dignity, personality and opportunity to exercise the free-will the Almighty God has given us all. To paint these teachings as  godly and worse still coat these words and their interpretations with sugar and honey and twist the Bible is certainly very wrong.  One would be forced to ask? “What and who their mothers  were? Were their mothers so subservient, humiliated and dehumanized?” Did their fathers subject their mothers to such? Who did this to their upbringing and if so, it was wrong! The priesthood of the believers in Christ is the priesthood of all both men and women. No male nor female  in Christ (Gal.3:28). We must beware of false christian men legalists, large groups of very sincerely wrong men, because a group of many people can still be quite wrong (Gal 5:9). The point is, we are to “prefer one another in love” and humble ourselves and submit one to another as stated in Eph. 5:21. We are all children of the Father and joint heirs with Jesus Christ the Son. What a great honour we have to be in the beloved!

Again, you hear such men in their threats preachings saying: “When you decide not to subject yourself to that authority, you are a rebel and God is not going to accept what you are doing because you are not functioning correctly. Such preachers ask: “Why did God make the woman? Making woman was not God’s original plan because after God created Adam and before He made Eve, He said in Genesis 1:31, “Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good.” God made woman because of man so woman was not His original idea. This is reality.” Mr. Preacher sir, That is to say women are not even supposed to have been created? They were “After-thought-God-mistaken-creatures”. What have women folks done to deserve this? And this message is giong viral everywhere, No sir!

Furthermore, “They *need a better interpretation of,  Genesis 2:18a, “And the Lord God said “for it is not good for a man to be alone. I will make him “an help meet”, a partner  a  help to-meet”. They preach as in: “Your secret is in obedience, your secret is in listening to your husband, your secret is in doing the things that please him. A man loves the one he serves (God) and the one that serves him (a good wife). He fights the one that wants to be at the same level with him (a rebellious wife), etc.”  What does this mean? What is all this? Are we in boxing rings? What is it? Love comes before submission scripturally and marriage is all about love.*

Women are not second-class citizens, for crying out loud, for God’s sake, either on earth or in heaven. In fact, our Lord Jesus Christ teaches there is no marriage in heaven at all. Marriage is ultimately for great earthly companionship and for procreation, “Male and female created he them, and He blessed them”. It is unfortunate that some unbelievers, countless non-Christian  men are more understanding and treat women in a more respective, kind, queenly and appreciative lady-like manner than some Christian men and preachers, always invoking their ‘divine rights’. Real men are not supposed to be caught quoting  “divine rights”, which inturn turns their homes into a house rather than a Christ-centered-home and finally breaks it down.

It is sad that the secular world is seen to be giving women and wives greater freedom from the curse of the law than the Church- How odd! This is not supposed to be. The Scriptures do not subject wives to be timid, passive, helpless creatures as babies or an all weak submissive, dummy personalities at all. That is opposite God’s will at creation. She is the better half, the help to-meet, the helpmate, partner and the peak and best of God’s creation! The picture of the wife and mother in Proverbs Chapter 31, is a good example of true feminity, her husband is not afraid of the elders at the gate- He is a confident man.

*Masochism carried to an extreme can become a severe personality disorder in which one likes to be hurt, abused and dominated by the other person and this is not good.  THE HUSBAND IS NOT TO SUPPRESS OR LORD IT OVER HIS WIFE IN ANY WAY SO IS THE WIFE! Ultimate power should not be given to either but only to the Holy Spirit, Christ and God. The Godhead is the head of the Church and the family.*

Some men need to be shaken and be woken up at this point when their egos are so inflated at the expense of their wives and so are some, and such women too. Most times in either cases, but mostly in men, because while  the wife is working to build up the husband’s inflated ego at the cost of her own personality, the Lord has been trying to whittle him down to size a bit. Love and submission are two sides of a coin, and one hardly ever finds the problems of submission without a non-loving controlling husband or vice versa.

In conclusion, Aposle Paul writes that we are to be “submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Eph 5:21). This means we are to “serve one another humbly in love” (Gal 5:13) and “ in humility value others above yourselves” (Phil 2:3). Morover, Aposlte Peter tells the Church to “clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, ‘God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble’ ” (1 Peter 5:5). Paul writes to the Church at Corinth to be “subject to such as these, and to every fellow worker and laborer” (1 Cor 16:16). Thus  submission is not just for some, but for all. The Bible teaches that we should submit to one another out of a reverence for Christ, to esteem others better than ourselves, to obey those who have authority over us, and most of all, to submit ourselves under God’s authority and His Law. We should remember God resists all who refuse to submit and humble themselves but gives more grace to the humble.

(In memory of my late father’s birthday, mum’s best friend on 01/08/17.)

 

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