Men, women are equal in the sight of God

Sept. 8
September 8, 2009
Wilda Marie Boudreaux Molaison
September 10, 2009
Sept. 8
September 8, 2009
Wilda Marie Boudreaux Molaison
September 10, 2009

One of the most misunderstood scripture verses – and maybe the most harmful – is St. Paul’s words of advice on marriage in the fifth chapter of Ephesians, “Wives, be subject to your husbands as you are to the Lord.” (Eph. 5:22)

Unfortunately, many men have used this passage to justify their own inadequacies and to “keep women in their place.”

What Paul is saying here is practical advice about the cultural relationships of his time. In this section from Ephesians, he addresses the bonds between husbands and wives, parents and children and slaves and masters.

No one in his right mind would argue that the institution of slavery was from God. Why would some contend that male superiority in marriage is from God?

What Paul is saying in this whole section is: “Whatever state of life you find yourself in, act with love.”

In Paul’s world, a wife was considered the property of the husband. So he writes accordingly.

However, he goes one step further. He tells husbands to love their wives as they do their own bodies. In fact, he starts this section with, “Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ.” (Eph. 5:21) It’s a mutual responsibility. Each person should love and respect the other.

Christian marriage is based on the dignity and equality of husband and wife. Both male and female are made after the image and likeness of God. Both bring to the marriage something unique.

In Christian marriage, no slave/master or mistress relationship exists. All are one in the sight of God.

The Christian definition of love is wanting what is best for the other or seeking the good or the well being of the other person. That love can only grow in an atmosphere of freedom and trust, not from restraint and obligation.

Loving is like any other living entity – we must cultivate it and allow it to grow or it dies.

St. Paul gives us the secret to a happy marriage or relationship in chapter four of Ephesians: “Beloved, be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.” (Eph. 4:32) Follow that advice and you won’t go wrong.

Kindness, tenderness, and forgiveness are three qualities that every relationship needs.

Kindness comes in many different shapes and forms. The one way of being kind that perhaps is the most important is in speech. The words married couples say to each other have an enormous effect on their marriages.

Researchers have found that harsh criticism, sarcasm, and put-downs act as cancerous cells that, if unchecked, erode relationships over time. Continuous negativity takes control and destroys a relationship. However, kind words, praise, encouragement – these virtues are the building blocks of a happy and lasting relationship.

Christians should cultivate a sense of gratitude in all things. God is the giver of all good gifts, and we have been blessed with so much. As we start to pay attention to those gifts, we will begin to see the world differently.

If we are in a committed marriage relationship, we will especially begin to see our husband or wife as one of the greatest gifts we have been given.

The third element in that secret is forgiveness.

Christ has forgiven us, and will continue to forgive us. This is the great gift we have been given and will always be given.

Can we not offer this gift to one another?

When couples are constantly able to offer and receive the gift of forgiveness, they have discovered the final, and, perhaps, most important secret of happiness.

Our relationships, especially marital, are important elements in our lives.

May we always choose to be like Christ who was kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving to all people.