Sunday, September 25, 2011

When the Man you Love is Unkind

I often write about biblical submission, and by the tone of your feedback, I can’t help but notice that most of your husbands are attentive, sensitive and kind men like mine. Praise God!

But at the same time I understand what a sacrifice and struggle it is for women who are living with men that ignore them, disrespect them, and show little care for them. I’ve experienced it first hand and I’ve seen it taking place in other marriages.

I remember going for dinner at a friend’s house one evening. We were sitting around the table having tea while she finished preparing the meal. I suppose that some cheese or a little grease dripped onto an element—whatever happened was enough to set off both the smoke alarm and her husband’s temper.

Standing on a chair trying to remove the batteries he held back nothing to convey his frustration. “What kind of a cook are you?!” was one of a few insults he threw her way that evening.

And while he grumbled and complained, I couldn’t help but feel the heat that rose in her cheeks and sense the pounding of her tender heart.

Before I go any further I want to point out that the purpose of this post is to address the issue of an unkind husband--not one that is habitually abusive. I’ve been in a situation where my face was held down to the kitchen floor while I was ordered to lick it clean. With that in mind, I want to be sensitive to the difference between someone being abused and husbands that are unkind and uncaring. It is not my intention to minimize the serious issue of abuse, and as I’ve pointed out in a previous post, “submission isn’t permission” to abuse.

I’m talking about grumpy, arrogant, selfish and distant husbands. I’m also talking about those husbands who are wonderful for the most part, but have their moments that drive us insane.

What hope do we have? And how does scripture address this issue?

Wisdom can be gleaned from Peter who provides instruction for Christians in their relationships with both unsaved and difficult people.

Live such good lives among the pagans [non-Christians] that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
~ 1 Peter 2:12, NIV

Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives.
~ 1 Peter 3:1, NIV

Did you catch that? We’ve read the scriptures that tell us to submit to our husbands, but here Peter is instructing women to be submissive to unbelieving husbands in particular. It’s important to note this because being submissive to someone who is gentle and kind is easy, but being submissive to someone who frustrates you requires patience and sacrifice on your part.

Whether it’s in our home or our workplace, Peter addresses this very issue saying that it is commendable when we bear suffering for the sake of our faith. Why? Because true love is not only patient and kind, it doesn’t get angry when others do it wrong. It bears all things, always hopes and always perseveres (paraphrased from 1 Corinthians 13).

When we love the way God loves we walk by the Spirit in obedience to our faith. That obedience is a gift that we offer our Lord.

For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God.
~ 1 Peter 2:19, NIV

God's love took Him to the cross. Where does your love take you?

You are loved by an almighty God,


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