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Intersection of Life and Faith

Why is Submission Such a Loaded Word and How Should We Think of It?

Sarah Bessey

It's dangerous not to accept that it's a loaded term, especially for people who have it really used against them, almost as a weapon. Right? And so your heart really, at least my heart is really with people who have suffered under the consequences of a lot of bad theology. So, unfortunately, a couple of passages of scripture or a couple of verses, taken out of context and applied broad brush across all of humanity, has really done quite a lot of damage. Not just emotionally, but has repercussions for a lot of people.

So, I get why there's a lot of struggle with the word. I guess when I hear of submission, I think of “laying your life down.” So, for me because that comes within the context of a healthy marriage, with a husband who honors me and mutually submits with me, that's not a word that I'm personally afraid of or that really bothers me. It's okay for me to identify as people who are mutually submitting to one another. I believe that as believers, we are often to submit to one another regardless. To lay our lives down for one another, to prefer one another, to put the other person's needs and even place in their journey ahead of our own.

Sometimes I think it would be nice if people could give us seven steps to make sure you have a mutually submissive marriage or here's all the ways that you can, you know… all the boxes that you can check and the things you should say and the things you shouldn't say. Well, the truth is, I think when a lot of room for complexity and there's a lot of room for the two people who are within the covenant, I think your covenant's going to look as unique as you do.

So, what worked for me and my husband and what works for our family wouldn't work for necessarily someone else. I think that that's part of where we see the importance of walking with the Holy Spirit and walking within community, and walking within scripture. Because then you are able to really look at these moments as they come up and say, "What is it that God wants to do here?"

Practically, for my husband and I, that has looked really different sometimes over the years. I looked really different when were brand new newlyweds. Looks really different now that we're kind of in the middle of our life today and I'm sure it will continue to change, no doubt.

WATCH: Sarah Bessey Breaks Down Biblical Submission

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