Beware the Comfortable God
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Ephesians 5:22-24
I wrote yesterday about some of Paul’s commands that I simply don’t want to follow. Today’s passage takes this a bit further, though it’s not addressed to me. It’s about wives submitting to their husbands and honestly, I don’t want to touch this one. If you’re a wife, I don’t have any instruction to provide you on this subject and I’m not going to insist that as at true Christian you must follow Paul’s instruction to the letter here. It may be possible that this is a command that no longer has any cultural relevance to us. There is precedence for dismissing some of Paul’s specific ceremonial instructions (see 1 Corinthians 11:2-16). Frankly, I don’t know what to write about this passage, and I seriously considered just skipping it altogether.
I would say this though, if a command or idea makes me uncomfortable, I shouldn’t avoid it only for that reason. Just because a passage says something I don’t like, I don’t automatically get to dismiss it. If I reject every aspect of God that doesn’t agree with me, I end up with a god solely of my own imagination, which is really no god at all – It’s just a fiction created from my preferences.
This is a common problem for those seeking recovery. In alcoholics anonymous, the one struggling with chemicals is told he needs God’s help to manage his life. So, he believes in a God who wants to make him sober. When he’s told however, that God also wants him to stop being self-centered, greedy, or adulterous, he doesn’t like that God. He just wants a god who will help him with his chemicals. He wants the rest of his life be left alone. So, he ends up with a god who approves of his selfish, prideful, lustful, angry tendencies – but who is also impotent to help him get sober because he’s not real. He’s got a pretend god, something he simply made up.
I’m not saying all of this to try and convince you to buy into the passage about being submissive to your husband. I’m just saying that we shouldn’t reject God because he says things with which we don’t agree. If our god agrees with us in everything, he (or she) would simply be an extension of our imagination, which of course can offer us nothing at all – because he’s not real.