Of the commands to servants, wives, and husbands in I Peter 2 and 3, the commands to husbands are the strongest and carry a warning. The itching ears folk may think Peter only wrote one small verse to husbands, but the opposite is true. What Peter wrote to both servants and wives also applies to husbands, because the “likewise” in the section to husbands refers to what was said to the wives. And since the “likewise” to the wives refers to what was said to servants, that also applies to husbands. But the command to husbands tells them what will happen if they do not submit to and honor their wives, if they do not live with their wives as heirs together of the grace of God, their prayers will be hindered. Again, husbands who abuse their wives, who practice any form of domestic violence may as well not bother to pray, because their prayers will be cut off as soon as they leave the abuser’s mouth. The prayers will never reach God’s ears.
Isaiah 58:3-11 says the same thing. When the Israelites were fasting and praying and their prayers were not answered, they asked to know why. God replied it was because they were oppressing others with strife and debate and smiting with the fist of wickedness. These are the very thing husbands who demand to be the authority do. When they quote scripture to coerce obedience from their wives, in spite of the wife’s intense knowledge that what the husband is asking is wrong, that is oppressing with strife and debate. When they insist on their way through any of the non-physical means, like isolating her, threatening her, unnecessarily limiting her economically, using the children against her, chewing her out, griping at her, all these fall under the heading and spirit of strife and debate. And striking with the fists is obviously any form of physical abuse, including choking her, shoving her, blocking her from going somewhere, hitting the wall or slamming, breaking, or destroying things to threaten her. All these carry the spirit of oppression and result in God turning a deaf ear and an unseeing eye to the abuser’s cry for help.
However, if a husband is caring and compassionate of others, including his wife and children, and may I add the wives and children of other abusive men, and does what he can to “loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke,” if he also provides food, clothing, and shelter to those in need, then when he calls, God will hear his prayers, and the man will be healthy and his “light” will “break forth as the morning.” Light in this case means “illumination or luminary (in every sense, including lightning, happiness, etc.)”
In Isaiah 58:10-11 there is a promise. “And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall they light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness shall be as noonday. And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.”
With a promise like this, why aren’t men doing more to stop domestic violence? Come on! The Lord is promising good and happiness to those who do what they can to loose the bands of wickedness, to set the oppressed free, but church men are so set on maintaining their power over women that they send the oppressed wife home with another set of chains tying her down and tying her to her oppressive abuser.
It is a scriptural principal to set the oppressed free, but church folk avoid doing that for people in their own pews. No, it is easier to point the finger at those in government, to work to control the non-Christians or to control followers of Christ who do not follow the rules of the Church of the Itching Ears, than it is to focus on delivering the oppressed in their own pews.
Note that in I Peter 3:7, husbands are told to HONOR their wives as the weaker vessel. Yet so many husbands are contemptuous toward women, because women are the “weaker vessel.” This, too, is oppression, and will hinder a man’s prayers. A woman is to be honored, somewhat like fine china and fine, expensive jewelry is honored. She may appear delicate on the outside, but her worth is far greater than rubies.
I cannot emphasize this enough. A church that despises its women by treating them as second class citizens, by refusing to permit them to practice their God-given gifts in the service of the church, by allowing husbands to abuse and dishonor their wives, is a church whose prayers are ineffective. Inasmuch as women join in with this woman-despising belief and behavior, their prayers will also be hindered. It is churches like these who are also guilty of an insidious form of idolatry, specifically husbandolotry, that the husbands require of their wives, and that the wives require of one another.
It is no wonder our nation is in such distress! James 5:16 says “Confess your faults one to another, and pray for one another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” But our churches are full of unrighteous men and women, who continue to keep oppressed wives and children in bondage. When our churches refuse to practice the righteousness specified in the Bible, their prayers will continue to be unheard. These prayers are not being answered at all. They are not even being heard. Men and women of the churches, it is time to repent!
Waneta Dawn is the author of "Behind the Hedge, A novel,"a story about a woman who grapples with her husband's demands that she submit--no matter what. Please visit www.wanetadawn.com
Chronically Self-Centered Spouse Series - Nope, I'm not doing this series. Nope, Visionary Womanhood is not doing this series. But I do thank Natalie for linking to it over there a couple years back...
6 months ago