"Wives, submit to your own husbands" does not mean "Women, accept abuse without question or intervention."
Tragically, this text has been used by men in their homes and even church leaders with those under their charge to seek to gag women who have been verbally, physically, and/or sexually abused. As recent events in the #MeToo and #ChurchToo movements have shown, a man abuses a woman, then he and often others in authority teach the woman she is just to forgive and forget the incident even when the man has not repented of his actions. They will tell a woman that if she speaks further about the abuse she is not being godly and submissive. Using this text in this fashion is a tyrannical abuse of power. For it ultimately leads to the "Amnon Syndrome" we are seeing in these movements - a sexual sin by one son of David where the woman was pushed aside and made to stay quiet led literally and grotesquely to it being shouted out on the rooftops by another son of David.
One thing to remind the church, and especially its women, is that the principles of dealing with sin outlined in Matthew 18 do not stop at the door of a home or even at a pulpit. If a husband is being abusive, a youth leader is seeking sex with young girls, or a pastor counseling a hurting woman takes advantage of her, those women should go to others in the church and confront the man with his sin. Though often she will have to wade through confusion, denials, and even lies, she should trust that the Lord will use the corrective nature of church discipline to prevail.
Let us remove these stumbling blocks and, by faith, remember that a godly marriage where a husband sacrifices in love to a wife that willingly follows him is a beautiful picture of the gospel itself.
This article originally appeared on gentlereformation.com. Used with permission.
Barry York - Sinner by Nature - Saved by Grace. Husband of Miriam - Grateful for Privilege. Father of Six - Blessed by God. President of RPTS - Serve with Thankfulness.
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