God does not call us to empty respect.

25 Jan

I was challenged yesterday as my last post on “The number one fear of respect and submission” was posted on another blog in the comments section by some thoughts that I’d like to address here today.

Before we really dive in much further, I think it’s a good place to start by saying there is GOOD reason why God gives us these few verses in scripture.

John 14: 16-17
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever – that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you

John 15:19
If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.

I believe these few verses are given to us so we never forget that the world will NOT AGREE OR UNDERSTAND God’s ways. It will sound crazy, unmerited, unproven, illogical, unattainable, unfathomable, and flat-out impossible to achieve, and they will judge us harshly for it. Which is all the more why we cannot allow our own standards to match the world and still be sold out for God.

Now let’s relate that truth to God’s call for wives to respect their husbands.
(I’m going to chop the verse up to just show the sections I’m specifically addressing, but please feel free to grab your Bible and look at the entire section in context!)

Ephesians 5:22
Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.

Ephesians 5:33
and the wife must respect her husband.

I Peter 3: 1-2
….wives, be submissive to your own husbands … as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior

In the eyes of the world – this cannot be. Let’s build an argument.

1.) Women have RIGHTS!! We don’t need to submit beneath any man. We’re intelligent and are often better at things than they are anyway.

2.) Respect must be earned!! According to my standards, my husband is a lazy bum with a mountain of sin in his life, he does nothing to deserve my respect. I can even make you a list of all the things he fails at and prove it to you.

3.) I can treat him with respect without really meaning it. After all, I’m respectful towards strangers all the time and I don’t even know them. They certainly haven’t deserved my respectful attitude, but since I don’t know them, I don’t respect them. I can be kind without actually feeling respect for him.

Did I nail it?

Now let’s look at what God’s Word has to say in light of believers who understand it and are called to something more.

Philippians 4:8
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Matthew 7:5
You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Romans 12:3
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.

Matthew 7:2
For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

(For time and readers sake – I’m not going to continue on with the other LARGE number of scriptures I have left to use… but if you’d like some more verses, comment to me and I’ll get you more to reference.)

Let me build a Biblical argument – DIRECTLY AGAINST the first argument I built.

1.) We’re not called to think of ourselves more highly than we ought. We’re ALL here to serve one another in brotherly love. (In AND out of marriage)

2.) Respect can never be earned when we’re the judge with the measuring stick. If that were the case, we’d have to completely remove EVERY sin (even those little ones we think are not nearly as bad as our husband’s sins) before we have the ability to point out our husband’s sins. Otherwise, we’re nothing more than a hypocrite before the Father.  And we’ll be judged by God with the same measure we used to judge our husbands.

There is good reason why the Lord commands us to think on things that are noble, pure, lovely, & admirable. When we purpose our hearts toward intentionally looking for the good in our husbands – WE WILL SEE IT and we will instantly build respect for their good qualities.

3.) You can’t fake respect.  We need to be wary of interchanging the word politeness or courtesy with the word respect.  They are NOT the same thing.  Not Biblically and not even in the English language.  When you use manners, allow someone else your spot in line, take turns, hold open a door…. that is not the same thing as respecting them, you’re simply being polite and showing courtesy.

In marriage it would look something like this.

Our husband’s are not fueled to run on courtesy.   And God doesn’t command us to be polite.  Obviously, I think when we’re respectful of them we will also be polite and courteous, however, what they really need is the respect part of the equation.

When someone says “Thank you” to me, I don’t immediately feel like they respect me.  I have plenty of people who have clearly made a stance that they do not like me, but in public, are polite toward me.  I am still very aware of their disdain for me.

Your husband is not an idiot.  He knows when you’re being polite, and when you sincerely respect him.

If you’re meditating on what is noble, pure and honorable about your husband, YOU WILL BUILD RESPECT FOR HIM FOR THOSE THINGS!!  It won’t be empty.  You WILL FEEL IT!  It won’t be fake, and when you show that respect, he’ll know it’s genuine by your words and the look in your eye.

Once he sees that, especially if it’s been years since he’s seen it…. he’ll want to see it more.

You can start today not just being polite to your husband, you can start showing him REAL BIBLICAL RESPECT that you’re called to give him RIGHT NOW!

Let’s try it.

Practical Application:

Think of ONE THING that your husband does well.

-I’ll list a few of my favorite things about my husband (and other women out there….  please add your favorite things you admire/respect about your husband in the comments so we can help encourage these women who are struggling to know where to start with things they can admire about their men too!!!)

One of my favorite things about my husband is that he never calls in “fake” sick to work.  That’s very admirable!

I also admire that when he makes a commitment, even if something else better comes up, or he finds out someone will be there he doesn’t really care for, he STILL follows through with his commitment and doesn’t back out on his word.

He comes home from work every night to have dinner with us as a family.

He has all this crazy knowledge that I never realize he has until something breaks or needs fixing, and then he just knows what to do!


Once you have your one thing (or more) ACT on your respect!!!  TELL HIM! Maybe you’ll take the Valentines Challenge I posted here.


2 Responses to “God does not call us to empty respect.”

  1. Rachel Self January 25, 2013 at 9:21 am #

    Love this! One of my favorite things about my husband is that he LOVES to help people. This extends to helping me around the house, but it’s even more admirable when he helps someone he’s never even met! He’s literally always helping people. He’s pretty awesome! 🙂

    • Kayla Gulick January 25, 2013 at 9:32 am #

      What a GREAT quality! Thanks for sharing Rachel!

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