Saturday, January 26, 2008

Mutual Submission

It's a dirty word among many circles.

Submission has gotten a bad wrap. Two thousand years ago, two men, a famous denier and a zealout, told wives to submit to their husbands and the Church became a marked target for the feminist movement of the 20th century.

But what's so wrong with the idea of submission? Is it that bad? I contend it is not bad at all, but rather one of the key attitudes and habits that should characterize ALL Christians.

To submit means to simply yield. To voluntarily let another's position or path take precedence. It is the act of choosing relationship over opinion. Many choose to think that submission is the act of backing down, surrendering, or caving in. But it doesn't have to be this way.

The desire to not back down or let another get their way is an issue of pride. If we are full of pride, we will always think we are right, and if that's the case then what value would it be to submit to others. We'd be choosing the wrong path. But the right path is the path of mutuality. Of true community. Of submitting to one another out of respect for Christ. The right decisions are not as paramount to God as the way we treat one another.

I believe the heart of true submission is love and humility. As Jesus shared in John 13, we are to love one another, that all people might know we are His by our love. This is the love that compels us to willingly and graciously choose the other person's betterment, preference, or decision over our own. We humbly accept that we may be wrong, or rather that our preference doesn't even matter, and that mutuality should be our priority.

I truly believe that submission is the way of Christ, and I want to follow.

But here's a confession: I can sometimes struggle to submit to others who constantly enforce their seeming authority over others. I love to submit, but when others are not mutual, it hardens me.

So what do you all think of this? And particularly, how can I (and all of us) continue to be submissive (and therefore teachable) to those who do not reflect our habit?


Anonymous said...

Hi Andy,

Interesting topic. Unlike you I don't love to submit naturally. I have a strong rebellious streak. A quote that I love (and I can't remember who it's from) that has helped me to see submission in a better light is "To submit to God means to expect nothing except the glory and goodness of God" and I translate the word 'glory' into 'beauty'. I suppose we could use this for people too. To submit to people means to expect nothing from them except to see their beauty and goodness.

Paige Hughes

The Renegade Librarian said...

I don't know how much you LOVE to submit--that's probably pushing it a little, Deet! However, a good piece writing here...

dlc said...

uh huh.