…live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. – 1 Peter 3:8
It’s impossible to find a discussion of submission today without a carefully worded preface explaining what Biblical submission isn’t. The term sets off a lightning-fast reaction, triggering images of brow-beaten wives and selfish, domineering husbands. (We forget that many men endure doormat treatment, too.) Since you’ve probably heard it, I’ll shorten the preface: Biblical submission is not about being a doormat.
What Biblical submission is matters greatly to moms who attempt to model Christ-likeness to their children. Submission is simply the humble, gracious meeting of my children’s needs, often at my expense, as they grow into their God-created identity.
Ephesians 5:21 instructs us to “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” We submit because we reverence the One who submitted himself to our need for salvation.
For a mom, the call to submission is usually loudest in the context of marriage and parenting. We model Biblical submission for our children when we respect them as God’s handiwork, made in his image and belonging to him. Recognizing the importance of our commission to raise them, we submit our agenda to their needs – needs that are as valid and important as our own. Good boundaries are implicit to our submission; I can’t freely choose my “yes” unless I can also freely deny my “no.”
I hear that my grandmother, who died before I was born, endured food shortages in Great Britain during World War II. While her husband was away at war, she had three mouths to feed, but only enough food for two. She chose, of course, to feed my dad and his sister; and the toll on her health ultimately shortened her life. Far from being a doormat, she demonstrated that true submission is a very noble choice.
What’s your take on submission? Do you have a great example to share?