Friday, January 30, 2015
Are women "weaker vessels" than men?
The first glass you pour is from the newly purchased bottle of juice. You carefully pour the juice into the glass handling it with care, you also slowly set it down on the table as you recline and consume the flavorful beverage. It was so refreshing that you went back to the refrigerator for another glass. This time you accidently used the expired juice to pour a glass to drink. With the same caution as last time you sit down at the table ready to have another refreshing glass. You pick up the delicate vessel of juice, you take a large gulp.... Uuuggghh! The taste is so sour and rotten that you slam the glass down on the table in utter disgust! Crash! The glass explodes into thousands of pieces all over the table and floor! You are left with a terrible mess to clean up, and a terrible taste in your mouth. You think, what on Earth happened? I cannot believe that I just broke such a valuable glass!
In this story the value and nature of the special occasion glass was properly considered at first. You had a refreshing glass of juice while handling the unique glass with utmost care. But this was not the case with the second glass... As soon as the putrid taste of the expired juice entered your mouth all remembrance of the vessel's value left your mind and immediately you treated the object with disregard and lack of respect for it's worth. This is how many husbands like me make mistakes in our marriage, at certain times we fail to embrace the value and nature of our wives due to sour circustances or having a rotten day, and when this happens we are left with a huge mess and a terrible taste in our mouths. In this blog I want to focus on the passage about husbands in 1 Peter 3:7. I will endeavor to break apart the many nuggets of wisdom it contains while showing how it practically applies to each of us today.
First of all I want to make it clear that our wives are much more valuable than even the most expensive item in our possession, the analogy of the special occasion glass is purely for putting what 1 Peter 3 teaches into perspective. As we move along with this topic you will see just how applicable the story is to how we can sometimes relate to our wives in a harmful manner. So let's begin with taking a look at the passage in 1 Peter 3:
1 Peter 3:7(ISV)-"In a similar way, you husbands must live with your wives in an understanding manner, as with a most delicate partner. Honor them as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing may interfere with your prayers."
There are a couple of key phrases that Peter writes in this verse that I want to point out before going any further. The first phrase I want to look at is "live with your wives in an understanding manner." This was translated from a Greek phrase "live (with your wives) in wedlock by way of knowledge." So the question would be, knowledge of what? Peter explains this as having knowledge that your wife is a "most delicate partner." The other phrase I want to look at is "honor them as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life." This translates from a Greek phrase "apportioning due value as also a co-inheritor of the grace of life." So to "honor" your wife is to "apportion due value" to your wife. So what is her due value? This is gauged in light of the fact that she is a co-inheritor with you of the grace of life. That is, God looks at her as so valuable that He gave His only begotten Son to save her, and we need to look at her with the same level of value as her husband.
So in 1 Peter 3:7 we see that God wants to answer our prayers as husbands. But He explicitly states that our prayers may be hindered if we are not careful. God teaches us that He wants us to value our wives like He values them, by demonstrating great care with her as a delicate partner. When we do this our prayers are more effective because we have our priorities in order. So this takes us back to the special occasion glass analogy. When our wives are in a good mood and "doing all the right things,"we have a much easier time treating her with great worth and care. But when we are on the outs with our wives, or stressed out over things in life, or whatever other issue it may be, it becomes easy to act carelessly in the way that we speak or act toward her. This is when we cause great pain for our wives and have a huge mess to clean up. We must remember that she is fragile and delicate even when we are experiencing a moment of conflict or stress.
Now, is our motivation for treating our wives with care as a delicate partner for the sole purpose of having our prayers answered? Absolutely not. As a matter of fact we are supposed to treat our wives with care based upon the fact that we have properly appraised her value, we love her and see her with the eyes that God sees her. When we see her as a valuable child of God and let that reality flow into our actions, we begin to treat our wives the right way, with love, kindness and grace. But when we forget this reality it won't be long until we damage her and find ourselves in a mess all over again, just like the costly glass that was shattered in the story. This usually happens when our judgment is clouded by emotions and stress.
Think about it this way. What if God sent you a valuable item today? Suppose a truck shows up at your house to deliver the portrait of Mona Lisa for you to own from now on. Think of the great care that you would exhibit toward such an expensive piece of history. You would most likely take meticulous daily precautions to make sure the item was always in good condition. What if we start looking at our wives in this manner? As a priceless gift from God that He has entrusted into our care, a gift that we strive to keep from being damaged, that we endeavor to treat with gentleness at all times. I believe this is the point that Peter was trying to make in 1 Peter 3:7. And the reality is, if you are married God has given you so much more than a priceless material item such as the portrait of Mona Lisa, He has given you a precious co-heir to the gift of life that Jesus died to give us all!
My prayer is that God will help us men to view our wives the way that He does, and use wisdom in the way that we engage with them every day. As we acknowledge our wives as delicate partners who are worth far more than anything else in the world I believe God will start the process of making us into the great husbands we are called to be. I pray that God will help us to not be clouded in our sight by emotions when we are stressed or experiencing conflict, but to continue to keep the great worth of our wives in perspective by showing kindness and grace in abundance. This will help us to nurture our wives into the beautiful flower that they are. And most of all it will please God when we lavish His love upon them through our relationship with Him. God bless and I hope you enjoyed this blog! Please share so that other husbands can be impacted by 1 Peter 3:7!
Written by: Kyle Bailey, M.Th.
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photo credit to: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_61054iYOrtg/TFSELXx5UzI/AAAAAAAABRs/4oHseX5PGZg/s1600/Pieces_of_Broken_Glass_by_nORP.jpg