“But I was taught that if my husband (fill in the blank), it’s my job to fix it.”
Let’s say right out of the gate that’s not biblical. It may be cultural. It may be religious. It may sound biblical, but it’s not right.
Is it a conservative idea? A Bible belt assumption? A homeschool dogma? Some believe it’s a wife and mother’s job to fix all that is not right with her world: meals, laundry, house, education, relationships, attitudes, responses. Where, exactly, does the Bible say that? Is it couched in the word, “love?” Is she “loving” her family by correcting, fixing, making, doing? Or does it fall under the words that roll off your tongue, “be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving others as God, for Christ’s sake has forgiven you”? (Ephesians 4:32)
Let’s put that in it’s proper place–for women’s sake, for their husbands and families, for Christ’s sake. Here are two basic Biblical principles that help us understand a biblical outworking of kindness and love:
- Natural consequences. God uses them. Consequences are a Godly construct.
– … if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either. (2 Thessalonians 3:10)
– Fathers shall not be put to death for their sons, nor shall sons be put to death for their fathers; everyone shall be put to death for his own sin alone. (Deuteronomy 24:16)
– Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a person sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will reap destruction from the flesh, but the one who sows to the Spirit will reap eternal life from the Spirit. (Galatians 6:7-8)
- Repentance is personal. We cannot repent for anyone else. Repentance is God’s first order of business:
– From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17)
– Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and restraint and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? (Romans 2:4)
– For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death. (2 Corinthians 7:10)
So when we clean or cover up another’s sin and remove consequences and the opportunity/need for repentance, we are not serving them. We may be serving ourselves without realizing it. We are not working with God, but against Him.
A couple of thoughts as it relates to imbalanced, or oppressive, marriages–there is wisdom in protecting yourself and your children from a controlling husband. But these biblical principles give you permission to do what is best: step aside and/or allow your husband to experience the consequences of his sin. When/If you do, understand that his desire for control does not stop when you are out of sight. He will stop at nothing to regain power and control. He is the center of his world and you are his property, his serf, his congregation, his scapegoat (see this post: a Worthy Sacrifice). In fact, he will be more dangerous than before, so plan and think ahead (safety plan for individuals and churches).
Women and churches who are just beginning to see the power/control paradigm for what it is are wise to seek help navigating the storm of confusion and chaos that surrounds them.
Churches, people of God, it is time to reconsider our sinful ideology of a wife’s role toward her husband–and our role of protecting him and his sin. When we don’t listen to her, don’t believe her, and help cover his tracks, we are not only sinning against her and their children, we are also sinning against him. He will take advantage of our mistaken definitions of “good” and “kind,” and use them to meet his desires (see this video: Good vs. Nice). Instead, we want to learn and practice God’s definition of “good” and “kind” which lead to repentance through natural consequences.
We want our desired outcome to match God’s desired outcome: sanctification, not appearification.