I like this chapter. It’s a lot to swallow, but Peter (or whomever the author is), lays it out perfectly. He calls wives to accept the authority of their husbands. Next up, husbands, honor your wives. Everyone: love each other and be tenderhearted. Right when you might feel like you’re getting the short end of the stick, we’re reminded the life that Jesus submitted to:
“Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit.” 3:18
We are all called to live the way Christ lived. If the words submit, honor and obey bother you, consider the life of Christ. We are in beautiful company and under the authority of a perfect, loving God who has full understanding of what he’s asking of us.
“For instance, Sarah obeyed her husband, Abraham, and called him her master. You are her daughters when you do what is right without fear of what your husbands might do.” 3:6
This example is gold. I can’t speak for everyone, but a lot of my hesitation to fully submit to anyone is that they might fail me, or because I think I know what’s best for me. Abraham put Sarah in a horrible position, endangering her life and disobeying God’s promise (read the story in Gen. 12). Sarah obeyed her husband and did what he asked her to do, placing her hope and trust in God, who protected and rewarded her because of it. She did not sin because she submitted to Abraham during his crappy plan. Abraham was held responsible for the way he failed to lead his wife. (Note: the Bible is not approving of any sort of domestic abuse and abhors when authority is lorded over someone.)
“Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brother and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it.” 3:8-9
Never underestimate what God has invited you in to. The Christian life is not easy, and the reason Jesus warned people to size up the task at hand before joining in is because he wants us to be all in. It’s hard. But it’s beautiful, rewarding and I wouldn’t want to live any other way.