“Likewise husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life—so that your prayers may not be hindered….but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy—always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you YET do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience… 1 Peter 3:7 and 15-16a
Husbands. Wives. Relationships. Minefields to walk through in our generation. It was the same then as it is today. Main issue? Honoring Christ in everything that we do…
God is so good to allow me the opportunity to address this. I could have selected a less controversial passage to write about, but nooooo—the Holy Spirit had other ideas today.
This passage (and the related one in Ephesians) is something I have walked through all my years as an adult and married man—a significant part of my life getting my head and heart straight concerning the Scriptures and then being able to: 1) Defend my position and; 2) Try to relate the Word of God to others objectively and without trying to have a personal benefit clouding my judgment.
So what is the Word of God and what is my position? The Word stands without explanation or a need to defend it—it says what it says; no interpretation necessary to change it to something less provocative. My position though? That is another kettle of fish…
Long ago (like this morning) I read this section and immediately went to thinking about “weaker vessels.” From there I went to Eph 4 and “respect your husband.” My selfish and self-absorbed nature rode my bohunkas right into that mindset like the Lone Ranger—“Hi Ho Sinful, Away!!”
The truth of the matter is not that the Holy Spirit is denigrating wives or women—it is slapping husbands and men in the chops to “wise up!!” I am called to serve Jesus my Lord in a specific manner—showing and treating my wife with the Grace with I am shown by my Lord. If I honor Jesus as holy and the reason for my Hope, then in the same manner I must treat my wife.
Words. Words are cheap. Do I want to know how mature I am as a Christian? Ask my wife.
Self-examination is good; it ought to be done often. The Word says “Test yourself! See if you are in the faith.” This self-examination is about whether or not I am walking in functional unbelief. James says (paraphrased) if I say I believe but do not exhibit works testifying to my belief then perhaps I don’t believe.
Do I treat my wife with love AND respect? Do I show her honor? Do I consistently treat her with gentleness and respect and patience and add all the Fruit of the Spirit here…If I fail (and I often do) do I confess with detail my sin; digging into the depths of my wicked heart type of confessions? Do I short change or soft pedal my “mistake?” If I offend publicly do I confess publicly? And etc. etc. etc.
I have come to this conviction (and this from Eph 5): The only person I will specifically have to answer for is my wife. Maybe I will have to answer about other people like my children and others. Scripture isn’t real clear about that. But my wife? I will be expected to present her before the Lord of Hosts—there isn’t any question about that from the Bible.
How well do I want that to go? Pay more attention to how I act and perform as a Husband honoring God and less about forcing my Wife into a mold of my own un-Biblical pre-conceptions.
Lord God. There is a benefit from this section of Scripture I don’t want to lose: I want my prayers to be unhindered. I want You to hear my prayers all the time, no speed bumps, no barriers. I want to hear from You in the same manner. Change whatever needs to be changed in me that I can treat and conduct myself before and with my wife in honor in and of You. “Let my life be a prayer to you; I want to do what you want me to; no empty words, no white lies, no token prayers, no compromise…” (Keith Green) AMEN and forever AMEN.