Thursday, February 28, 2008

Hot Potato



“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit

to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife

as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.”

(Ephesians 5:21-23, NIV)


It has been said in jest that we will never resolve the battle between

the sexes as there is too much fraternizing with the enemy! Also in jest,

in a take off on a recent popular book someone said, “Men are from Mars.

Women from Venus. Live with it!”


In one common area of confusion -- sadly even in church circles –

too many men (hopefully mostly in the past) have misinterpreted

the Scriptural injunction for the husband to be the head of the house

to mean dictator of the house -- conveniently overlooking Christ’s injunction

that he who would be chief among you must be servant of all…

and the preceding Scripture that says for husband and wives to submit

to one another.


At any rate, what does it mean for the husband to be the head of the house?

I’d say, first of all, to model what it means to be Christ-like and to be “as Christ”

to his wife and his children. Also to exhibit true strength which means

strength of character: standing for and living the truth; fighting for right;

protecting the equal rights of every member of the family; non-defensive,

authentic and real, and above all not being controlling nor the opposite

of being too passive and withdrawing when feeling threatened or upset.


Also to maintain a good sense of humor, to be growing personally

as well as spiritually, to be willing to be vulnerable and being open and honest

and not hiding his true feelings but rather, knowing how to express them

creatively and always to speak the truth in love.


While some of we older men grew up with the teaching that big men don’t cry,

the reality is that big men do cry. It’s frightened men who don’t cry -- men who are

afraid to show their feelings which, to them, is a sign of weakness, when in fact,

the opposite is true. Consider Jesus, for example, who wept over the death

of his friend, Lazarus.


Unless I learn how to weep with all my heart I will never know how to love

with all my heart. And unless I am willing to be vulnerable I will never know

how to be genuinely intimate. As another has said, “One’s ability to be loved

is directly proportional to one’s willingness to be vulnerable.”


And above all, as God’s Word says, true manhood and true strength of a husband

is to love his wife as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it!


Pretty tall order!


And from a woman’s perspective, as Nila Wilhelm, a Daily Encounter reader,

wrote: “As for men being strong, I would imagine that most women would agree

that we like strong men -- men who are willing to stand for what is right,

to stand for their personal God-given rights as well as for the rights of others.

Yes, we love champions, but we also love men who are sensitive enough

to cry when the situation demands it. If a man cannot cry at the

appropriate time, he is (as you say) either holding back feelings that may

sometime explode in our direction or he may have become so desensitized

that he cannot love a woman as she needs to be loved.”


Suggested prayer: “Dear God, for we who are men, HELP. Help us to be

the men of God you want and planned for us to be… To be men of courage,

valor, and true strength… To model for our loved ones what it means to be

Christ-like… To be ‘as Christ’ first to our family and friends and to every life

we touch… And for we who are women, help us to be the women of God

and wives you want and planned for us to be so that with the men in our lives –

whether they be husbands, brothers, friends or contacts -- we, too, will always

exhibit the love and grace of Christ. Gratefully, in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

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