Sunday, May 15, 2016

Whose Fault Is It?

Authority and responsibility go hand in hand. This should go without saying. People in the workplace understand this with rarely a question. If you give a person authority to do a thing, he also has the responsibility to make sure it is done well. If he doesn't have authority, neither does he have the same degree of responsibility.

Nonetheless, when it comes to men's and women's roles both the world and the church seem to have lost sight of this basic principle. The world has stripped men of their authority in relationship to women --- and yet generally holds men responsible for all ills. The opposite is true in the church. Christians understand that the man has authority from God --- and yet they blame the woman for everything that goes wrong.

This was brought forcefully to my mind recently when I read an article about why children rebel. It was directed toward women who belittle their husbands. That this is in many cases a real problem, I do not deny. Many of us wives make it very difficult for our husbands to rise and up and be the men that they ought to be. Nonetheless, the man has been made the head of the family by God, and he is the one that God will hold responsible for the direction the family takes.

Whenever there is an unequal yoke, especially in spiritual matters, it will take its toll on the family. No  woman has a right to blame her husband for this. The Scriptural injunction "Quit you like men, be strong," applies to her as well as to him, and she has the responsibility to be faithful in her circumstances, to "see that she reverence her husband," and to walk humbly before God --- whatever her husband may do. 

But if it is wrong for the woman to blame the husband (and it is), it is also wrong --- and even more so --- for the man to blame his wife. It is wrong also for pastors and teachers to give women the impression that all the ills in the family are the fault of their feelings of disappointment. If the man is the head of the family (and he is), he bears the responsibility not only for his children, but for his wife also. She is the weaker vessel, and it is his responsibility to dwell with her according to wisdom. This does not absolve her of her own responsibilities, but it does relieve her of his.

 A printed sermon on the subject of the man's responsibility in marriage can be found here: The Husband Is the Head of the Wife.

~ Nita Brainard

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