Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Train Up Tuesday: The Perfect Gift for Father's Day!
Father’s Day can be something else when it comes to buying gifts! I’m not convinced that most dads even want the “novelty” stuff that is suggested on tv, internet, and sales ads. Most people I know think men are more difficult to buy for anyway. Perhaps that’s true. But this week, I have a GREAT suggestion for what you can give your hubby, your children’s dad for Father’s Day:
“The Greek word for honor means ‘to revere, prize, and value.’ Honor is giving respect not only for merit but also for rank.” (gotquestions.org)
Even if you’ve never heard one of his acts (I haven’t), you’re probably at least familiar with the connection between Rodney Dangerfield and the line “I get no respect.” Often those one-liners are related to his relationships to his parents, wife or kids.
Unfortunately, he could probably be the poster child for Dads today...both in and out of the “church” world. You may or may not be guilty, but I’m sure that we’ve all at least been around women who treat their husbands with little to no respect (both behind closed doors and even within church walls or other social environments).
I’ve hard many reasons as to why men are not getting respect. “He doesn’t lead the home;” “He doesn’t deserve my respect because you have to earn my respect;” even things like “He’s an idiot.” I’m not kidding. Even if these words aren’t said, you often see them lived out in the way the husband or father is treated.
Though I could go on and on about this topic (and I’m sure there is a wealth of material on the subject), I only want to share a few thoughts...not just my thoughts (does it really matter what I think about it?), but what Scripture has to say about this and then how it affects our child-rearing.
First of all, we often mistakenly assume that when we “give honor to whom it is due” it means that someone has earned honor based on merit or actions. While that may certainly be true in some instances, in the case of the role of fathers, the honor bestowed is actually the result of a command given by God because of the authority that He has given to fathers (for His glory). Exodus 20:12 and Ephesians 6:1-3 remind us not only of the command but that it is the first command with a promise of blessing and reward (long life).
The promise of reward doesn’t make it easier to bestow honor, respect, and submission, however. We need God’s love to perfect that in us. One thing that can help enable us to honor for the right reasons is looking at it in light of why we should do it. Obeying the command, of course, but also because it pleases God...not merely to please men:
Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. Slaves, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. (Colossians 3:17-24)
Ephesians 5:22-24 also reminds us:
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. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
As an argument to why some women “can’t” submit to their husbands, I’ve heard that they shouldn’t have to if the husband isn’t leading, because Scripture goes on to say that husbands are to lead their wives and love her and not be harsh to her. These women have had bad experiences, I’m sure. But, what if the man says that he won’t lead because the wife isn’t submitting to him?! We have to consider the other side (and no, I’m not just simply taking his side). But it isn’t a conditional command. Remember that honor begets honor.
If the husband leading is an issue, I encourage you to read this article on desiringgod.org.
I know there are struggles with submission for those who are in marriages where the husband is not a Christian, away from God, or simply doesn’t fully realize his role as leader of the home. Certainly there is frustration in that. I know that my litigating personality wants to jump right in there and argue or talk it out, make suggestions, or vent frustrations....but 1 Peter 3 reminds us of the beauty of silence (NOT a cold shoulder, mind you) and of displaying our submission in our conduct. I like the English Standard Version of 1 Peter 3 verse 1-2:
Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct.
Titus 2 reminds us that younger women should be trained to love (which involves respect, honor, and submission) their husbands not just for the benefit of a happy household...but ultimately so that no one can malign the word of God. (For more on that, you can go back and read an archived entry on “Small Kingdom Work” )
But let’s not just look at the importance of reverence just as wives, but as mothers. We all know that children mirror what they see rather than just learn what they are taught they should do.
I’ve even noticed it myself. Although I greatly respect my husband and submit to him (well...I mean to most of the time)...I notice that those times when I question him or want to "discuss" things casually in front of the kids (and I’m not even talking about big arguments or anything like that) I can often see those attitudes mirrored in the inflection and tone that my boys take (my oldest in particular) with their conversation or relationship with their father. Boy, I don’t want that! It reminds me to get on my knees and repent and watch myself - for my benefit, my boys’ benefit, my husband’s honor, and ultimately God’s honor.
We have to be mindful of the generations that we are influencing...because all this has a trickle down effect.
Even when my husband doesn’t display perfection (which is so rare ;-), my children and I owe our honor, respect, and submission to him for so many reasons, the most important of which is for the glory of God.
I hope this encourages you to give your husband and your children’s dad the best gift he could receive...HONOR. (good luck figuring out how to wrap it!)