My life and my thoughts - on faith, culture, politics, whatever comes to my mind

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

God-ordained order and authority

Recently before I fell asleep I found myself musing over the order God ordained for marriage and one thought led to another. (I usually have interesting ideas about posts right before I sleep and am not able to remember them fully the next day when I’m in front of the computer...) God is a God of order. Everything in our world has its time and place. Everything is or should be functioning in a specified way or order. Just look at the universe and how it works together – and how wrong it would go if it did not work together. There is peace and beauty in order. Beauty can be found in chaos too sometimes. But more so in order, things functioning properly, nature going its (ordained) way, things rightly balanced or performed in their ordained way.

But sometimes it seems difficult to see the peace and the beauty. Especially if one stumbles over the order, the ordained way. This seems to be the case especially with the God-ordained order in marriage.

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. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands i everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her [...]. In this same way, husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife, loves himself. [...] However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband” (Ephesians 5:22-25, 28, 33)

Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of every woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.” (1. Cor. 11:3)

Often I have heard that other people are appalled by the idea of a wife’s submission to her husband or by the idea that a husband could have headship – authority over his wife. Well, it is a idea that one needs to get accustomed to, especially if one did not grow up in a believing family or is not a Christian. And very often, people read certain ideas into these verses which are not part of them. Many have never really read and thought about them at all. They get dismissed as Paul’s “anti-women notions”. And, therefore, people miss out on the beauty and peace which lies in this ordained order. I do not say that everything is perfect in a marriage which tries to follow God’s order. Or that this order cannot be perverted by sinful men and women. This is true. Our sinful nature can corrupt anything in our lives. But in the order itself lies beauty and peace. If couples live by this order, each part’s emotional and physical needs will be filled. There will be respect and love. So many women object that this order is only hard on wives. I always think it is really hard on the husband. Just imagine to love someone or be loved by someone as Christ loved the church ... What a mind-boggling love! And this order does not mean that the wife’s concerns, desires and wishes will not be taken into consideration in a decision-making process. On the contrary. But there is someone who will take the final decision. There will be an end to discussion and someone responsible for decisions.

God ordained a clear line of authority: God – Christ – husband – wife. Christ was also under authority. Do we ever consider this as a bad thing? Do we ever see Christ as God’s “doormat”, someone God could trample on? I wonder why authority is so often considered as a negative thing, surely to be abused? More often actually, Christ’s submission to God the Father is admired, praised. We try to be Christ-like. We also try (to like the idea) to submit to God. But we do not always like to submit to an authority which was put over us. But this seems to me to be what God intended. That everyone submits to the authority over him or her. And that everyone who has authority takes over the responsibility which comes with authority and the care for those who are under his authority. I do see peace and beauty in this. Sometimes my wilful self might want to rebel against it. But still....