Recently, I attended a youth Bible study on the Biblical interpretation of manhood and womanhood. One of the passages that came up during discussion was
"Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her...". Ephesians 5:22-25
It was interesting to me that these verses were mentioned as a Biblical description of the role of a woman, as the traditional role of submission is so rarely promoted in today's society. The directive in Ephesians for wives to be subject to husbands in everything would be alleged by much of society to be an insult to women - the famed feminist Germaine Greer has always exhorted women to forsake their submissive femininity. Not only is she against submission within a marriage, but she goes as far as claiming that women should not even commit to marriage and instead should "consciously refrain from establishing exclusive dependencies". These female Liberationists have been fighting for years for new social systems that reward and honour the work of women, which is ultimately a celebration of women's inherent power.
Our Church appears not to be exempt from this kind of celebration, as I hear and read of an increasing push for women's ordination as ministers. This is unsurprising when you consider that an inherently powerful Christ is being lifted up as a model of submission - if we are to follow Christ's example, we are ultimately aiming for inherent power ourselves. I can say from personal experience that this kind of submission doesn't work. I've tried it myself, and not until I discovered the truth of the Father and the Son was I truly able to abide by the model of Christ's submissive approach towards His Father.
My relationship with my earthly father has been transformed by this truth. When I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour, I struggled to truly honour my parents; I knew that they loved me but I subconsciously assumed that as non-Christians, they could not help me in my spiritual walk with God. Since learning the Biblical principles of headship and submission, I have come to understand that my father's and mother's love for me flows to me from God, and my Heavenly Father can and does use my parents to bless me and speak truth into my life. My father has unknowingly given me amazing Biblical counsel that has helped immensely in my journey with God, simply because I asked God to speak to me through him.
"Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear." 1 Peter 3:1-2
I've actually applied this principle of submission to my relationship with my parents, and I've seen them softened by my submissive conduct - praise the Lord! I believe that the best way for me to obey the fifth commandment is to pray for a spirit of meekness to submit to my parents.
"Our obligation to our parents never ceases. Our love for them, and theirs for us, is not measured by years or distance, and our responsibility can never be set aside...Parents are entitled to a degree of love and respect which is due to no other person...There is no better recommendation in this world than that a child has honored his parents, no better record in the books of heaven than that he has loved and honored father and mother." (My Life Today p. 278)
Praise God that it is truly an honour to honour my parents!