HUSBAND, BE A REAL MAN
Husbands, in the same way, be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers. (1 Peter 3:7)
The Bible teaches God’s people to live their lives from a different perspective from those who will have nothing to do with God. The worldly attitude is: exploit the weak because they cannot defend themselves so you can take advantage of them and get what you want. Isn’t that the attitude behind abortion?
A defenseless child, living in the environment which should be the safest place on earth for that period of its life, is torn apart and thrown out with the trash at the whim of the mother because it has no power to defend itself. Small children are abducted, raped and murdered by ruthless men, and their cries of terror go unheeded. A wife is abused, beaten and traumatised unmercifully because she is the weaker partner and cannot defend herself against a bully.
God’s ways are just the opposite. The strong are to protect the weak, not to abuse them because they can. God is the protector of the widow, the orphan, the poor and needy. He is a Father to the fatherless and a husband to the widow. Jesus looked out for the defenceless and came to their aid – He healed the sick, raised the dead, fed the hungry, comforted the sorrowing and forgave the sinner. His attention and love were always focused on the most vulnerable people in society and He fiercely defended them against spiritual bullies.
It is the role of a husband, then, as his wife’s partner, to use his strength not to exploit her but to protect her. She is the weaker partner, not in mind and intelligence but in physical strength. Unlike some sections of society who saw their wives as their property or as lesser beings to be used and abused at will, a husband was to respect his wife as an equal partner with him, a person created in the image of God. She had the right to dignity and respect in the same way as any other human being.
Of course, there is a higher reason for a husband to harness his strength to protect his wife and not to abuse and exploit her (and his children for that matter). They are equal partners in a gift that can only comes from God – the gift of eternal life. Every believer in Jesus is a son or daughter of God. They are equally precious to Him as His family members. Any attitude of superiority is abhorrent to Him and alienates that one from Him.
Every son and daughter has a role to play in His kingdom. Each one is a co-ruler with Christ, seated with Him in the heavenly realms and co-operating with Him to carry out His will on earth. Prayer is one of God’s ways of strengthening the relationship with His son or daughter so that His will will be done through him or her. A superior attitude and unacceptable behaviour cuts a person off from fellowship with God. Prayers are hindered and God’s will consequently not done in that life.
Both godly and ungodly behaviour sets off a chain reaction in the world. In the midst of an ungodly society, Peter explained to his readers that God’s way is the way of restraint and self-control. Just as selfishness degrades and destroys, so unselfishness promotes the health and wellbeing of one another. By taking care of one another’s needs, they benefit themselves and the whole family.
What a witness to a world that does not know God when a husband loves his wife and treats her with consideration and respect! How refreshing to witness a wife living in unresisting submission to her husband so that their partnership is one of unity and harmony instead of constant bickering and conflict.
Marriages fall apart when one or both partners are so self-centred that they are willing to destroy their home rather than put their spouse’s interests above their own. The miracle of the new life Jesus gives is that once selfish and self-centred human beings are able to set themselves and their wants aside for the wellbeing of the other.
When each one seeks to build unity rather than self-satisfaction, fulfilling his or her role as God intended, marriage becomes a picture of the unity in the Godhead and the unity in the universe that reflects the nature of God. God’s intention for marriage is that, through mutual submission, harmony in the home and the sexual union of marriage partners, His glory would be mirrored to the world.
Husbands and wives, play your part in the power of the Holy Spirit and you will undoubtedly be putting God’s glory on display!
Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.