The Power of Freedom, Restoration and Wholeness
Here at Joy of It, we talk a lot about friendships, particularly among women. We encourage women to raise each other up and support one another. Today our guest blogger Dalene Reyburn shines some light on the role women play in another relationship: marriage. This is another union that should never be about competition. And as we’ve been discussing the topic of freedom this week, here Dalene dives into Titus 2 and how Paul’s letter to Titus is all about the gospel setting us free. It restores us to wholeness, and frees us to lead well, follow well, and raise others to do the same. Wipe out your fears and instead create a beautiful space of comfort for your relationships to flourish.
‘I’m not qualified to speak on submission.’
That’s what I told our pastor last year when he asked me to preach from Titus 2 – about wives submitting to their husbands.
How dare imperfect-me preach on submission, I said, when I have such an imperfect but seriously cool husband? He makes submission so easy and uncomplicated – even for an opinionated initiator like me – that I hardly know I’m doing it. (Sub-what?)
I preached anyway.
I said how Paul’s letter to Titus is all about freedom. It’s about how the gospel sets us free, and how that frees us to live healthy lives in the church and out the church – out there in the big wide communities of the big wide world. It restores us to wholeness, and it frees us to lead well and to follow well, and to raise others to do the same.
And women get stuck on Titus 2:5, because when wives are told to submit to their husbands it doesn’t sound like freedom. History has us equating submission with oppression – with disrespect, disqualification, disentitlement, disenfranchisement, and all the other ways women were dissed for millennia, and sometimes still are.
For too many centuries culture’s pendulum swung dangerously to one extreme. Women were appallingly dominated.
More recently – because this is what humans do – our fear-turned-anger has swung the pendulum dangerously to the other extreme and everybody’s got a feminist drum to beat and a bra to burn and a man to emasculate.
Yet, the scriptures keep landing this non-issue dead center because the Word is never a pendulum. It’s always the plumb line of truth – if we’d pause for a rational moment to consider that truth.
The truth is that marriage is not a competition; it’s a communion of lives. It’s a one-flesh I’ve-got-your-back-always-and-forever thing where you can’t remember where you stop and the other person starts.
That’s not oppressive. It’s deeply comforting. Freeing.
So girlfriend, if you insist on making marriage a competition, make it a game of poker. And then you need to know that your husband will win hands down, every time. He’ll say,
‘I see your submission. And I raise you sacrifice.’
If your husband is following his calling, then he’ll love you like Christ loved the church. He’ll lay down his life for you. That’s way harder, way cooler, way sexier than submission. And it makes our bra-burning seem a bit silly because, um, why would we feel threatened by that kind of love?
So, I’m thinking –
You need not be shaken. You need not fear.
But you’re maybe thinking –
Oh, so easy for you to say. You just told me you have a really nice husband.
Submission makes me safe, not subjugated.
To which you say,
You have no idea the kind of husband I’m dealing with. He lays his life down for golf and for beer and for football. Sometimes he even lays his life down for other women – real or digital. He’s definitely not laying it down for me.
I would never assume to minimize the pain or the disappointment of that. I would also never dare to get all preachy and churchy on you, where there has been abuse or infidelity.
But hear this:
Even if your husband isn’t willing to lay down his life for you, Jesus Christ already has. Jesus already has laid down His life for you, and therein lies your security.
At the cross, Jesus took your shame, and restored your dignity. He has clothed you in royal and righteous robes. Adopted you as a daughter. Gifted you with freedom, wholeness and worth.
That gift can’t be taken away from you.
You need not be shaken.
You need not fear.