About Jesus - Steve (Stephen) Sweetman

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Mutual Respect


Since our western world has become multi-cultural in nature, I see religiously conservative Islamic couples walking our streets.  Are they holding hands, walking side by side in deep conversation?  The answer is "no."  While looking down at the ground with her head veiled, the wife walks five or six feet behind her husband in submissive respect.  It's what her religion dictates.  I wonder how her husband shows respect to her.  This leads me to Ephesians 5:21 to 23.


"Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.  Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.  Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.  Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;"`


A Muslim man would agree with Paul telling a wife to submit to her husband, but would he agree that he must lay aside his life in support of his wife?  Furthermore, the opening statement in this passage states that we are all to submit to one another.  That being so, a wife's submission to her husband is premised on a mutual submission between the husband and wife.  The husband is not a dictator.  It's about mutual marital submission that goes back to the creation of husband and wife, as we read in Genesis 2:21 and 22.    


"So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man's ribs and then closed up the place with flesh.  Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man."


Metaphorically speaking, God took a rib from man's side, not from his foot, and created woman.  It's my belief that this metaphor suggests that a wife is to stand beside her husband, not behind or under him.  A mutual submission and co-operative respect is thus fundamental in their relationship as they perform their God-appointed responsibilities together.


Christianity is often criticized for what is mistakenly perceived to be a dictatorial, male dominated religion.  Those holding to this position, which includes many who call themselves Christians, fail to search the Bible sufficiently to make this claim.  Despite its many problems and abuses, historical Christianity has liberated women more than any other culture or religion.   Beyond that, when we live what the Bible really teaches about this issue, women will experience a godly liberation not seen anywhere else.  


It's not just conservative Islamic men who dictate submission and respect.  Dictatorial submission is a common sinful trait penetrating all of humanity.  For those who call themselves Christians, mutual respect is a godly character trait that should be foundational to life.    



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