Tuesday, April 24, 2007

"Three Secrets that Victoria Will Never Understand"

So have you ever heard one of those talks that was so good that you were tired just from listening? When your heart was really challenged, but the very human part of you just didn't want to think about it? Well, I had the distinct privilege of listening to our MOPS Mentor Mom speak a few weeks ago on "Three Secrets that Victoria Will Never Understand." I've been meaning to type this out for quite some time now, and I have honestly been busy, but I've sort of been avoiding it, too, as it's very convicting for me personally. (Please note that the majority of this is from her outline, but I'll be interjecting some thoughts, too)

Her talk was based on I Peter 2:18-3:6

Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. "He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth." When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.

So, there are three secrets about marriage: the first is the secret of suffering. Now we're not talking about enduring abuse here, but God has called us to suffer in His name. We should be following Jesus' example. He never did or said anything wrong, but He suffered in silence, never threatening or retaliating. Instead, He trusted that God would make things right. I know that is NOT my response when I feel I've been wronged. If it's a situation with a friend, I'm much more likely to respond with love, but honestly if it's my husband that I feel has wronged me I'll probably lash out in anger. How sad that the man that I have pledged my love to is treated the worst. And one more point - if we refuse to suffer, then someone else will. Our children. Do I really want to subject them to that?

The second secret is submission. We talked a bit about what that actually means, and how we live it out day to day. One person said that they think about it this way: If after my husband and I have talked things out and we still disagree, then I need to accept that it will be his way. I like that way of looking at it. Simple, but once again not easy. It goes back to that phrase from another meeting back in February when we were talking about prayer, "It's not about being right, it's about doing right." And as an accompaniment to that, I'm now adding, "It's not about happiness, but holiness." Our husband's authority is ordained by God, and we are to be chaste and respectful. (Yes, that's me you hear sighing as once again I'm being convicted of just how much I'm falling short as a wife...)

Thirdly, there is Sarah's secret. We are to have a gentle, quiet spirit - traits that don't fade with age. Abraham put her through a lot, including not wanting her to tell anyone they were married as he feared for his own life. Two truths from Sarahs life: 1) Sometimes the path of submission may require great sacrifice, but it is always the path of greatest blessing. 2)Sometimes we may suffer as a result of our husband's poor decisions, but we are not at the mercy of their every whim. As we place our hope in God, only what has been sifted through His hands can touch us.

One last point about suffering - it is our most effective tool to bring about change in our husbands. Their hearts won't be changed as we nag or give them the silent treatment or just generally try to make their lives miserable. And obviously our attitude should not be "I'm doing what I'm supposed to, so now God can 'get' him!!" But I know that when I'm doing as commanded - even if I'm rebelling initially - my heart will be softened as a result of my obedience, and it does become evident to those around me, particularly my husband. He sees me as I'm pouting and wanting to throw things, and he will certainly notice as I demonstrate the fruits of the spirit.


Jenn said...

I've been struck lately how we live like we are entitled to have everything go right. And that is not the case. Every time I have grown clser to God, to my husband or grown as a person has been during difficult times. Times I felt I did not deserve. Our attitude really should be more of gratefulness that we are given the o-pportunity to grow.

Kendra said...

i am not married, but i really enjoyed this entry! thanks for sharing!