I’m just going to put this out there: I don’t do submission to humans well. As a survivor of domestic violence, I struggle to recognize the authority of another person that allows them to rule over me, as some think of submission. Indeed, a male Christian friend once told me that I didn’t know anything about submission, and I took that as a badge of honor.
I grew up in a world of women, having never lived in a household where a man resided. These women taught me that I had a mind, heart, soul, and spirit that God gave me to use for His glory and my survival. They did everything for their children, including working jobs and coming home to cook meals and ensure that we had done our schoolwork.
They didn’t teach me that, as a Black woman, I was inferior to anyone, including white people or men in general, which is what submission requires. As Black women surviving life in the South, they did teach me to acquiesce to the police, meaning to comply with their commands without protest, to be safe and stay alive. They also advised me that on jobs, you have to sometimes reluctantly accept bad treatment without protest, or acquiesce, to keep a job.
I don’t always like the decisions that my husband make, but often I reluctantly accept them without protest, to keep peace in the relationship and to avoid him having feelings of emasaculation and low self-esteem. This isn’t submission, because I don’t think of him as a superior force, for he is only human, just as I am.
I think that all of God’s people, male and female, understand that He is superior to us, and that we should practice submission to His will every day. I treat people the way I want to be treated because Jesus tells me to, and I yield to His authority in my life.
This isn’t just silent consent or acquiescence, but recognition that His ways are higher than my ways and that His thoughts are higher than mine. I also agree that He made us, and not we ourselves. So, submission to Him makes sense to me, and I do it gladly and with peace in my heart and soul.
Galatians 3:28 states, “There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.” For me, this means that all people are created equal and in the image of God.
Therefore, I don’t have to submit to anyone, seeing any other human as superior to me. But I do have to sometimes acquiesce to others, silently complying to bosses, my pastor, and, yes, my husband. This is my argument for the differnce between submission and acquiescence, although admittedly failing to do either could get you hurt or killed!
I would love any feedback and thoughts on the matter from your point of view!
I like how you differentiate between submission and acquiescence. It indicates a mindfulness of situations and makes it clear there is a choice. I did a theological study once about spiritual practices and one was submission. I really struggled with that. I think that they use the wrong word; I don’t believe that submission is what God wants, if it means a mindless acceptance of your inferiority. Recognizing that you are not superior is good, meekness when it means seeking to understand instead of inserting your own beliefs is good. But blind submission without a thoughtful choice is not a good thing.
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