Thursday, July 21, 2011

Me Obey Him ‘vs’ Me Submit to Him

We miss what godly submission is all about.

In the husband/wife relationship, is it... "me obey him" or... "me submit to him"? Did you know there is a difference? True... to obey requires one to submit, and to submit means you obey the wishes of another, but the processes of the two are very different.

As basic as I can state it - to obey means to be obedient and carries with it an authoritativeness that says, "This is the way it’s going to be; it is not open for discussion; this is non-negotiable." Whereas to submit, to be in submission to another, carries with it a subdued form of authority that allows room for negotiation and consideration. Submission allows one to have a voice and an opinion, whereas obedience does not allow this considered negotiation.

For example, we are commanded to obey God’s commandments, which are not subject to negotiation or debate... God said it and that settles it. Obviously, we have no righteousness of our own, nor any omniscient power of our own to negotiate any subject matter with our Holy God. God’s ways are not our ways, but we can be assured that He always has our best interest in mind, hence the reasons we are commanded to obey God.
(Deuteronomy 11:27, 28; 26:17; 27:10; 28:9; 30:2, 8, 16; 32:4; I Samuel 12:14, 15; Jeremiah 42:6; Psalm 19:8; 119:75; Romans 7:12; I Peter 4:17)

But there are also two other authoritative relationships mentioned in the Bible: the relationship of children with their parents (Ephesians 6:1; Colossians 3:20; Deuteronomy 21:18-20)
and servants with their masters (Ephesians 6:5; Colossians 3:22).
It is both interesting and necessary to note that these other two relationships (of children/parents and servant/master) are to be patterned in much the same way, for many of the same reasons, as our relationship with God.
(Exodus 20:12; 21:15, 17; Leviticus 19:3; Deuteronomy 8:5; 21:18-21; Proverbs 13:24; 20:20; Psalm 123:3; Mal. 1:6; Ephesians 6:5-7; Colossians 3:22-25; 4:1; I Timothy 6:1, 2: Titus 2:9, 10; I Peter 2:18, 19)

Have you ever notice that the Bible never says, "Children submit to your parents," or "Servants submit to your masters"? There isn’t the slightest hint of these relationships being of the negotiating kind. In all three of these examples, the command is to obey and there is no suggestion of a negotiating relationship, and it is this command of obedience that also carries with it the hand of chastisement.
(Deuteronomy 11:1, 2; Hebrews 12:7-11)

All three of these relationships (parent/child, master/servant, God/Christian) are based on a superior and subordinate design...
but, the husband and wife relationship is a unique unity and is designed to be different, hence the reason why the Bible repeats, "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands..." in Ephesians 5:22 and Colossians 3:18.

In the Bible, it is only with the husband/wife relationship that we see submission and that is because marriage is not to be a domination relationship. 
(I Peter 3:1-5; Ephesians 5:21, 22)

Marriage is about two becoming one flesh, not just physically (bodily), but more importantly spiritually with our mind and soul; becoming soul-mates. It is only submission that encourages this as a reciprocating relationship which results in the unique unity of marriage.
(I Corinthians 7:3, 4; I Peter 3:7; Genesis 2:23, 24; Matthew 19:5, 6).

And, with this unique unity of marriage, submission does not allow a husband to dominate his wife. He is also not allowed to chastise his wife in any form or manner.
Christ set the example of how a husband is to treat his wife, in Ephesians 5:22-33.
And, Christ does not dominate.
Even when God has to chastise a wayward Christian, we are corrected as a child, not a bride.
(Deuteronomy 11:1, 2; Hebrews 12:7-11) 

Thank you for reading my post, your questions and comments are welcomed.
God Bless,
Jane Coley

Friday, July 15, 2011

Culturally Different, Identically the Same - How a book changed a misconception.

I have a very small lending library... emphasis on very... ...and emphasis on small. The books are few, but the topics are concentrated, dealing primarily with the marriage relationship, parenting children, and a few other miscellaneous topics, from a woman’s point of view. Taking those tight parameters into perspective, it’s a pretty good library after all.

While teaching the woman’s certificate course in the Bible Institute, I require my students to read one book of their choosing and give a written and oral report each term (3 per year). The ladies often check-out more books but focus on one for their reports. Keeping in mind that English is not their first language, I believe the ladies do an outstanding job of reading and reporting on the books of their choosing. The following is one such report.

Juliet read, What Wives Wish Their Husbands Knew About Women, written by Dr. James Dobson.
Juliet wrote (copied as it was written):

"When first I saw this book in my friend’s library I thought it was supposed to be read by men because women have needs which men don’t understand, then after reading it I realized is should read by both but I still believe husbands should read this book or a teacher some how hold a seminar for the husbands. The book has helped me to understand that not only in America but here in Kenya wives go through emotional depression throughout their married life. Another thing is house work or housewife is viewed like nothing or no job both there or here."

"I learned that sources of depression in women are many and yet sometimes I think is just Juliet going through this. From suffering low-esteem, time pressure, financial difficulties, loneliness, isolation and menstrual and physiological problems just to name a few, all these are emotional struggles we struggle with. I have learned a lot from this book, from the interviews the author did with his patients as their counselor. They are very encouraging to me just to read another wife / mother share her heart to mine."

"I have learned that I can’t change my husband except God’s spirit in him, but I can change myself and work to be the best wife / mother, express my feelings as facts not as emotions and serve the Lord through him. I can only change what I can and that is me. The book has helped me to understand because of our menstrual circle which women have it affects their mood. Children also is another type of depression in women and yet in Kenya if the children don’t succeed or they turn rebellious people ask who is their mother or they are like their mother. This can take a woman to an early grave."

"Finally to be honest I wish husbands knew about the needs of their wives."

Juliet revealed, through her report and a personal conversation that followed, Kenyan women often think American (and European) women live a life that is very different from theirs. In short, America is the place where dreams come true, therefore, women of America have a wonderful, stress-free, easy life... nothing like the life Kenyan women have. Juliet discovered that though our daily activities are different, our emotional needs are identical.

Thank you for taking the time to read my post, your questions and comments are welcomed.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A Disturbing Story

It was while we were discussing the topic of barrenness (the inability to bear children), in the women’s class of the Bible Institute, that one student told me this interesting but disturbing story which is too often the norm in Kenya.

In Kenya, and in many countries like Kenya, barrenness is often looked upon as a woman’s curse from God for some sin or displeasure she has wrought. The childless wife often bears the shame and blame alone, without even a thought that it might possibly be the husband who is the infertile one. The childless wife is harshly rebuked by her husband, and her mother-in-law, as well as her own family members, with this continuous rebuke being without mercy or compassion, often pushing a wife into desperate measures, which this story will, in part, reveal.

This story is of a wife who has been married for about 15 years without becoming pregnant, but her story of barrenness actually begins when she was a youth in her Form Four studies (17 yrs. old, in 12th grade). She got pregnant... and her mother was insistent upon her getting an abortion because a baby at that time in her life would have interfered with her studies and her future entrance into university. This pregnancy was such a disturbance to the young girl’s mother that the mother herself performed a home abortion on her own child, ending the life of her own grandchild. We can only imagine that some neglected medical problem occurred which resulted in permanent damage to the young girl’s reproductive system.

The young girl, now grown and married and unable to conceive, once again submits to her mother’s council as the mother tells her to "go and be with this other man and see if you can get a baby through him". It is unknown as to how many times this women submitted to this instruction given by her mother, and, as far as is know, this was something done behind the back of her husband. When this repeated attempt "to get a baby" failed, the barren wife eventually turned to th female pastor of her church for council. This female pastor instructed the wife to have strong faith and believe she was going to get pregnant, she told her to start wearing maternity clothing, as an act of her faith, while telling others that she was pregnant. When this repeated charade failed to produce a baby, the wife would then say she had suffered another miscarriage.

As the desperation of this wife continued, she again sought the council of her female pastor who now suggested she take a trip, to a particular country in Africa, where there is a particular mountain and get her miracle of conception from that mountain. It was at this point that the student in our Bible Institute was able to stop the desperate wife from making the trip.

This story is just one of many, the other students all had similar stories to tell concerning barrenness or abortions. Another such story involved a male pastor who’s young daughter was found to be pregnant. The father/pastor was not about to lose his church because of his daughter’s illegitimate pregnancy, so he took her for an abortion.

It is also common knowledge that barren women will go to the witch doctor for treatment, sometimes the women are taken by their own husbands and left for a few days to endure the treatment given by the witch doctor. Also, though it is against the laws of the country, bigamy is still practiced in Kenya, and it is not uncommon for a husband to take a second wife when his first wife is unable to produce offspring.

Barrenness is not God’s rebuke, or chastisement, on sin. God said, "Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth..." (Genesis 1:28; 9:1; 35:11) for God then to use barrenness as a form of rebuke or chastisement on sin would be to put God in direct conflict with Himself. When sin is a contributing factor to barrenness, it is not God’s judgement on us, but the consequence of our sinful behavior. For example; leading a sexually active life often results in sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s) which in turn could infect the reproductive system to the extent of causing sterility in either a man or a woman.

Barrenness is due more to either a genetic problem, a medical or physical problem, or the result of trauma to the body, and proper medical diagnosis through a fertility clinic is needed to discover the root cause of barrenness. Infertility is not just a woman’s problem, it is scientifically reported that men are equal with women when it comes to infertility problems. For example; mumps, or a high fever could be enough to render a man sterile.

This is a sample portion of the lessons the students are receiving through the Women’s Certificate Course in the Bible Institute. The ladies are gaining scripturally based knowledge which is able to be of help to such desperate women in need of godly council.

Thank you for reading my post.
Jane Coley

Friday, July 1, 2011

Tea Time

Would you like a cup of tea?
A hot cup of Kenyan tea is the best, and it should be served with milk and sugar, and a few tea biscuits on the side. Tea time is a special time for just sitting and visiting with others, unlike coffee that can be carried around in a mug or paper cup all day, tea needs to be properly served in a tea cup, with saucer, while sitting down enjoying a visit and a moment of calm in your day.
Would you like a cup of tea?
Is the question most often asked by my mother, as she is already pouring the hot water for her own cup of tea. Mom is British, and that means I was given warm tea in my bottle while I was still a baby in arms. Feeling a bit poorly? - Tea was always the first remedy, and when that didn’t work, other secondary methods were considered, but not until "a spot of tea" might be just what you needed.

Would you like a cup of tea?
Seems to say so much more... "Tell me about your day." "How was your date?" "What did the doctor say?"... and it seems to mean so much more, too. Sitting down and sharing a cup of tea together is stopping time for just a few moments while hearts listen to each other.