Christians on the whole are aware that we will all at some point in our Christian life, face persecution. ‘The rain falls on the just and the unjust’ Matthew 5:45 No one is exempt from life’s challenges and persecution is not exclusively designated to those who are followers of Christ, not under submission or may have a different opinion. We all at some point in our lives will experience ‘suffering’ and hopefully, come out stronger person for it. At the very least you will be a different person and not necessarily due to ‘lack of obedience’.
‘Lack of obedience’ = practices God wants you to break free from. He will allow situations to self reflect being obedient to His precepts, that He has already revealed or convicted you of. This is not to be used in judgment for the abuser to promote their authority.
Equally, Domestic violence is not to be interpreted as persecution for or from God. This act may be a personal experience of testing, building, and the removal of ungodly practices and not one inflicted by a person ‘acting on the behalf of God’.
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18
Who first thought that submission equals access to inflicting abuse? Women in the church believe that submission gives license for their husbands to have free reign to harm, emotionally, financially, mentally, and physically. While husbands too believe they have that liberty to exercise it. Now, this is where examining this myth may be a challenge.
Ephesians 5:22-24 is one of the scriptures women have been yielding to and repelling from.
‘Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
Underlined above is at times all that is seen, heard, and practiced by the congregation, culture, and critics.
Now, Paul’s letters to the Ephesians provides a harmonious balance to the strong Pagan women converting to Christianity. Women in this era were generally treated little more than slaves in religious settings, however, the women of Ephesus held different views. It is here Paul drew on this parallel of the church submitting to Christ everything, this scripture is not a representation to misuse power but an act of reverence and order.
Husbands as the head of the wife are to submit themselves to Christ as The Head of the Church. Again, the submission was designed by Christ to strengthen lawfulness for peace and harmony to flourish in all relationships. In addition, this promoted women from religious backgrounds to have a legitimate place in their marriage.
Likewise, the Prime Minister is the Head of Parliament and is served by MP’s submitting to his leadership. This does not exclude MPs from having an input in how the country is governed; they gather information for the Prime Minister to make informed decisions. The head of the government is not licensed to exercise abuse within their position; similarly, the husband in a marriage is not to misinterpret this stance for abuse.
The Collins dictionary gives several interpretations of the word submission.
- – ‘Is a proposal, report, or another document that is formally sent or presented to someone, so that they can consider or decide about it.’ Here a more appropriate and rounded explanation that I believe serves the scripture legitimately.
- – ‘Is a state in which people can no longer do what they want to do because they have been brought under the control of someone else’. It’s this account that men may hold in justifying their abusive, ungodly and at times criminal behavior.
I have been unable to find any scripture which encourages anyone to abuse those who they have been given the role to watch over. Yelling, name-calling, intimidation, controlling behavior, shaming, and blaming are not attributes of Christ for who we all are to submit to.