Do you have an unreasonable or harsh spouse? Does God’s Word have anything to say about how you should respond? What about other difficult relationships? How should you respond to mistreatment, harshness or a lack of loving behavior?
Ezekiel 45 & 46
1 Peter 3.1-22
Responding to an Unreasonable Spouse
In the Same Way …
Here in chapter 3 Peter addresses the husband and wife relationship:
¹ Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, 2 when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. 3 Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— 4 rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.
Another translation says, “Wives, in the same way, be submissive to your own husbands …” In the same way as what?
To understand we need to look back at chapter 2, beginning in verse 13:
13 Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, 14 or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men— 16 as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God.
Notice first that we do this “for the Lord’s sake” and one of the purposes is that “by doing good you may silence the ignorance of foolish men.”
Then Peter gives some examples of submission, beginning with servants:
18 Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh.
Servants were to submit, not only to good masters, but to those who were harsh.
19 For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully. 20 For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. 21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:
22 “Who committed no sin,
Nor was deceit found in His mouth”;
23 who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously;
Christ was to be their example (and ours). He didn’t return reviling for reviling or threaten when he was suffering. Instead, He entrusted Himself to His Father.
Romans 12.19 says:
Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.
When we’re mistreated, we need to leave the judgment and consequences to God. He is the only One who knows the hearts of the people involved and just how much judgment is due.
Before we go on, we need to remember that this was not originally written with chapter divisions, but was one continuous letter.
So Peter continues with another example, “Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands …”
Likewise …. in the same way … as servants were to submit to masters, even those who were harsh, we wives are to submit to our husbands, even those who are harsh, who don’t obey the Word, or one translation says, those who are “unreasonable.”
Ladies, our behavior is to be respectful and God-honoring even with a husband who does not obey the Word, whether he is unsaved or a disobedient believer. And, like Jesus, we are to entrust ourselves to God and leave any necessary judgment to God.
And the purpose is the same, that “by doing good you may silence the ignorance of foolish men.” Or as chapter 3 says, “they might be won without a word by the behavior of their wives.”
But wives are not the only ones who are to submit. Verse 7: Continue reading