Authority run amok
I’ve noticed an alarming trend among men in the church (in the culture really, but I’m not addressing that today) and it is a distortion of authority God has given to husbands. Many years ago I was told by a single guy in our church that he (as a man) was my head, since I was a woman and single. I lovingly yet firmly corrected him. Scripture did not give every man the authority over every women. He gave authority in the home to fathers, to husbands and in the church to pastors. Each authority has it boundaries and each authority has its responsibilities.
The big problem is that we are somehow turning out men with a hyper-authority complex.
- They feel it is their responsibility to MAKE their wives submit to them (it isn’t).
- They feel that everything in their wives’ lives are under their thumb (it isn’t).
- They feel that they have no authority over them and their lives are subject to no one else (it is).
This authority run amok is turning out men who are bullies and self-righteous abusers.
We can help to train our daughters to recognize this in perspective husbands (and to avoid them like the plague) but we also need to begin NOW to train our sons to see the sinful heart in this ideology and to live their lives unto the Lord.
The responsibility of the husband.
There is so much emphasis on women’s roles that we fail to train our sons in their God given responsibilities as husbands. The reality is that each of us are to emulate Jesus in some way. Wives emulate His submission to the Father, husbands emulate His protection and care for the church.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body. Eph 5:25-30
There are great riches in this passage. These are the truths we must teach to our sons. We need to build into their hearts a passion to sacrifice for the good of their wives. We need instill in them a heart to ensure she grows in her walk with the Lord. We must encourage them to let the Spirit change them into men of integrity, spiritual might and humility.
It is also a good idea to teach through all the passages of scripture (and there are many) that warn against the abuse of power and the oppression of the helpless!
Teaching them a passion to sacrifice.
The best way to build this into their lives (and our own) is by living out a sacrificial life in our homes. In the hyper-authority mindset, the men believe all the sacrifice should be done by the wives; that her job is to sacrifice every thought, desire, and action to the whim of her husband. Please don’t get me wrong, I believe that wives are called to submit to their husbands, but in a healthy godly marriage where unity of spirit is the goal, there really shouldn’t be all that many times when it actually comes up.
If the husband is a good leader, he should lead in such a way that the wife doesn’t have to sacrifice in submission very much!
But there’s more to it: we all need to learn to sacrifice for one another.
…and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ. Eph 5:21
I’ve heard it said that wives should submit to the will of their husbands while husbands are called to submit to the needs of their wives. If we train our sons to look for the needs of others and respond however God calls us to meet those needs, we are training them to have a heart of sacrifice. And we are going a long way to help them learn to be godly, loving and tender husbands rather than bullies and abusers, lording over their wives!
Teaching them to point others to Christ.
Our walks with the Lord are uniquely ours. Each is different. God speaks to us differently, calls us to different ministries, uses us differently. None of us should try to make someone else’s relationship with God like ours, but we should encourage them to make their walks with Him real and thriving for them.
In the hyper-authority mindset, men believe they alone have the corner on truth and hearing from God. They believe it is their job, and theirs alone to disciple their wives. But this often turns into a Need To Know perspective. They believe God tells them things and they will tell their wives only the things they believe their wives need to know.
The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. Rom 8:16-17
Each of us have a special relationship with Jesus. We are all equal in His sight and our gifts within the body of Christ are essential to the growth of the whole church. We should, in our own families and friendships, always point others back to Jesus.
When someone has a struggle or sin, we point them the cross in repentance and to receive the forgiveness from God.
When someone has questions or needs, we point them back to the living Word of God that has all truth for every issue.
We should never build anyone’s dependence on us to have the answers.
Our confidence is in God and His sanctifying work in our lives.
The more we live this reality out in our homes and with our children and those we disciple, we also train our sons in this mindset. They see how highly we value the work of God in the lives of the saints and that we always take others back to the Lord – we never try to BE lord to them!
Teaching them sanctification through the Spirit.
My husband is a pilot. That is, he has a private pilot’s license, and has had since he was 16. He hasn’t flown in 30 years but he has the training. He was told that pilots go through 3 stages:
- beginners who are very cautious and know they know nothing
- experienced pilots who have had some close calls
- those who are in the middle: the dangerous ones, thinking they know it all and in their arrogance, make foolish and deadly mistakes.
Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But each one must examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another. For each one will bear his own load.
There is also a point in our spiritual lives where we are living in that arrogant, spiritually youthful and dangerous time, thinking we are more mature than we really are. I believe the hyper-authority mindset comes from this point of immaturity. It stems from a belief that we DO have a corner on truth and that everyone else is misinformed and immature.
The longer I walk with the Lord, the more I see my failures, my sin and my character flaws. The more I see how VASTLY inferior I am to Jesus and how I need Him to live through me.
We need to understand that we never stop needing the transformation of our lives to the image of Jesus. This is the sanctification of the Spirit in our lives. We need to be teaching our sons to continue to allow the Spirit to search their hearts for unseen sin, learning to repent and surrender to Him. We must teach them how to turn from sin, with a longing to walk closer to the Lord with every step. As they learn this in their own lives, there really leaves little room to try and make others conform to their whims. When we are walking where Jesus calls us to, we are busy enough with our own shortcomings and have no time to police others lives.
It’s never too early or too late to start.
No matter how young our sons are or how old they are, we can still seek to influence their lives to become men of God who will nourish and cherish their future wives. Let’s start today to raise up a generation of men who will blast heretical teachings out of the water and shine the light of God on a broken and desperate world! Men who aren’t afraid to nourish and cherish their wives!