The “S” Word, Relationships, and Accepting Love
Discussion Thought of The day:
21 And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Ephesians 5:21 (NLT)
Among experts the question is raised: “Yes, but who actually needs to be converted? Must the fathers yield to the young? Or the young to the fathers?” … It is not a case of one group’s yielding to the other, but of both groups’ yielding to the other by renewing their courage to believe in God. It is only thus that they will learn to accept and understand one another. It is only when hearts have been turned to God that there can arise the courage of togetherness, the confidence in other persons, and so the ability to love them and to endure their otherness.
There are two “s” words that may have come to mind, as you read the title of this blog.
This is about the one that would have been thought far less often, but actually is more controversial.
Yes, this isn’t about sex, it is about submission.
But now that you are here and are disappointed, you might as well stick around and read it. Because it isn’t just about one relationship you are in, it is about every relationship you are in, and in every one of them, what Paul directs us to do in Ephesians 5:21 is needed. It’s why the Holy Spirit led him to write those words.
Following verse 21, there are three relationships compared. The first is husbands and wives, and how they must set aside their best interest given the other. This is not submission to any barbaric thing, but to seek out what is best for each other. Then there are relationships between husbands and children, and employees and their employers (or back in the day, slaves and masters)
Every relationship, with those who follow God, who are in awe of His love, reaching out with that same love to the person with who they relate. Every relationship has some form of submission, of setting aside our desires, much as Jesus set aside His divinity, to come down and be with us.
Pope Benedict nails it, when he identifies the key to this being, not in focusing on yielding to the other (a synonym for submission) but instead having and renewing their courage to believe in God. For it is there, in seeing how Christ gave of Himself to save us, to enter into a deep relationship with us, so that He could present us to the Father, that we find the peace and strength to love others. To love them by having mercy on them, by forgiving them, by seeking their forgiveness. By reconciling to those for whom reconciliation doesn’t even enter their thoughts.
Allowing them to love you, to care for you, that is at the heart of submission…. whether it be to God or to someone else.
This does require you to see them as God sees them. Part of this submission is lowering our defenses, letting them in, loving them enough to trust God and let them see us, as we really are, and letting them love us. For then these relationships transform from being duty-driven and duty bound, to being focused on the love of God that brings us together and causes the relationship to flourish.
Which allows the relationship to endure…. because God is there.
So everyone, out of the reverence, considering the love and mercy of God, seek out and love your neighbor, helping them, caring for them, putting their best interests first. Have the mind of Christ, for He will never leave nor forsake you.
(1) Ratzinger, J. (1992). Co-Workers of the Truth: Meditations for Every Day of the Year. (M. F. McCarthy & L. Krauth, Trans., I. Grassl, Ed.) (p. 169). San Francisco: Ignatius Press.