treat them with respect as the weaker partner…(1 Peter 3:7)
I’m ok with admitting that my husband is physically stronger than me. In fact, not just a little bit, but much, much stronger than me, even on my best days. God has endowed men with strength and this strength is best used towards their wives “with respect.” A man’s strength is for the purpose of protection and provision. To protect a woman from harm and to provide for her, creating a place of safety in the home.
Sadly, sometimes, because of a man’s unhealthy need to display his bravado or protect his ego, he stops protecting women and instead turns his strength towards hurting her or other women in his path. This is one of the saddest realities within the church. Men who do not protect, but instead use their strength to bring harm.
As men seek to lead within the church it goes without saying that they must first lead in the manner of loving, caring for, protecting and guarding those weaker than themselves. This is the honor of a man, to keep women and children close to him, providing for them a safe place that speaks of the overwhelming love of God.
Why do so many children grow up with a distorted view of who God is? Much of that reason is tied to an earthly father who did not display gentleness but instead exhibited anger, living a life of duplicity. Going to church on Sundays, but creating an unsafe place in the home for his wife and children.
Thankfully, my earthly father was immensely kind, gentle and gracious, because of this my view of God is quite positive, but I know there are many out there who have different stories. Stories of pain that shaped their view of God. What these women need is the love of Godly men to show her the safe, gentle, loving side of an Almighty God who offers a place of safety and rest for her soul.
Womanhood is put on display when the heart of a woman trusts her husband as he loves her like Christ loved the church. Women should never submit themselves to abuse, nor should they feel like it would honor God more if they just kept staying. It honors God when we draw healthy boundaries, giving the opportunity for that person to repent, grow and find a new heart through the love of God and support of Godly men in the church who encourage that man towards freedom. Shepherding him towards redirecting his strength in God-honoring ways to bring glory to God and his family.
That woman must choose for herself, wisely keeping herself at a distance for some period of time, to speak life into that man. To believe something good for him. To encourage him towards godliness and always, always, believe in him. She must learn to speak to his honor even when he seems as though he has none.
This is the key God has given women. The key to unlocking a man’s heart that has been plagued by anger, jealousy, fear or pride. Her words hold the healing that God can use to lead him towards repentance. Strangely enough telling that man he’s jealous and prideful doesn’t work, but believing in him and offering words that build up his character and his personhood as a man of God helps him see the spark of God that lives inside of Him. Her words remind him that it can be lit and that he doesn’t have to keep using unhealthy patterns to find his way in this world. He can live freely in the grace of God, not as a perfect man, but as one who is being redeemed.
Not every man will repent, some hearts will stay hard but always believe with all hope in the glory and greatness of God to take a life from the pit and restore it to fullness through the resurrection power of Jesus.
Lord, our world is so broken. We have so much hurt and pain. Please use the church to speak life, hope, and peace into the hurting. Pull men overwhelmed by anger out of the pit and restore them into men of courage, dignity, and gentleness. Use our words as women to restore, renew and speak life, not to tear down or discourage but to believe with all hope in your greatness and for your glory, in Jesus name, Amen.