Submission Does not Equal “Doormat”
If you have been keeping up with the news you have seen that Anna Duggar is taking a great deal of flak over her apparent decision to stick with her unfaithful husband. Pure and simple, she has an obligation to make a decision that will not only protect her but her children also, and only she can make it. The sincerity of her husbands words of repentance remains to be seen, and wisely speaking, he deserves a great deal of suspicion and wariness. Only God knows the heart.
But on what grounds is Anna basing her decision?
I am what you may call a devout Christian in that I believe Jesus is God and therefore our Creator, and the Bible is the flawless word of God. The Duggar’s also call themselves “devout Christians” but their idea of what it means greatly differ from my own. There are some heavy misconceptions that people like the Duggar’s have about God and what the Bible says. Let me explain a few.
It is said Anna Duggar believes it is ungodly for a woman to get angry and that it goes against her beliefs that a wife should submit to her husband.
Let me tell you first of all, when it comes to God’s laws, man or woman doesn’t make any difference. If God says something is sin, then it’s sin no matter who commits it. God doesn’t have a different standard for men than He does for women, and no where in the Bible does it say, or even imply, He does.
But is anger truly ungodly?
I always return to this verse: “Be angry and do not sin,” (Psalm 4:4, Ephesians 4:26). If God viewed anger as sin wouldn’t that verse be a contradiction? But on the contrary, a person can become angry without sinning and a very good reason for how I know this is Jesus Himself. While Jesus was on this earth there was an instance where he was enraged at the way people were desecrating the temple.* He literally drove them out! There was emotion, a great sense of justice, and decisive action on Jesus part. Furthermore, while He was in human flesh He remained perfect, sinless God, and thus could not commit a sin. If we do not share in His anger at injustice in the world, we are no good for anything but to be walked over. (Granted, the way a person responds to their anger can often lead to sin, and more often than not does. That is our responsibility to handle.)
Thus simply put, becoming angry at your husband does not go against a wife’s responsibility to submit to him.
But submission itself is a touchy subject, one plagued by years of stereotypes and misrepresentation. It’s not something to keep women under the thumb of men. This is a ghastly misconception that one would think had gone out with the crinoline. We are all required to submit daily –yes, all of us. For example, when driving our vehicles, we submit to the laws of the road. We submit to leaders, elders, children are expected to submit to their parents, employees to their employers, and so forth. And yes, biblically speaking, a wife is supposed to submit to her husband (Ephesians 5:22-24), but in doing so she is not expected to lose her voice and her identity. God made each of us unique and with a special purpose. Likewise, a husband does not become a god to her, with the right to rule superior (Ephesians 5:25).
But more importantly is this. At the top of the submission pyramid is God, to which all of us are first and foremost required to obey. Anything contradicting Him loses its right. For instance, a boss, husband, parent, leader, etc, has no right to enforce you to do something that you know goes against God.
Next down on that pyramid for a woman would be her father or husband. And yet, I would say it is wrong to put man higher on the pyramid than woman because this implies that man is superior to woman. Genesis 1:27 says, “[I]n the image of God He created him (man, as in mankind); male and female He created them.” Both were made by God, in His image, with just as much importance in the eyes of God as the other. The husband being head of the wife, father head of the family, does not replace equality and pit men better than women. A wife submits to her husband because she respects him. The problem for us as women is that it is hard for us to adhere to this way of life because we know the undependable nature of mankind. You can’t trust that your husband will always do what you “know” to be the right thing. It really boils down to this, no woman can be what she needs to be for her husband, her children, or herself, apart from God’s empowerment. It is impossible because we do not have the strength within us. We have to trust God to do what needs to be done. Which can be oh, so hard!
Anna Duggar appears to have lost her individuality and seems to consider her responsibility toward her husband her highest priority. Biblically, there are grounds for divorce, but whether this is it, I will not say. I just hope Anna will soon realize the right God has given her as a person. Because a godly woman is a strong woman.
For further reading, see Ephesians 5:22-6:9; 1 Corinthians 11:3; Romans 13:1; 1 Peter 5:5.
*Matthew 21:12; Mark 11:15-17; Luke 19:45-46