As I mentioned yesterday: marriage, family, and gender issues are increasingly confused throughout the world; the confusion is not just a western issue. In cultures like Egypt, where the majority religion is Islam, the proper treatment of women is a major issue. Like many places, many women are verbally and physically abused and often sexually exploited. Sadly, such atrocities are hidden behind a veil of secrecy and many women have no viable option for escaping the abuse that plagues them.
In such an environment, we would naturally expect the influence of feminism and western ideas to be non-existent. Yet this is not the case. In reaction to the patriarchal ideals of Islam, Egyptian Christians can be tempted to go to another extreme, especially in their interaction within the home. Men can abdicate responsibility, failing to love their wives and children; women can rule over their husbands, disrespecting them for their lack of leadership; and children from a very young age can control and manipulate their parents to gain their every want.
Thus, we have seen the need for a family conference for a while now and Don and Cindy Currin graciously accepted the challenge.
Yesterday, for the first day of the conference, Brother Don spoke two messages on “Don’t Waste Your Marriage.” Elaborating on this theme, he urged our Egyptian friends to take advantage for the glory of God of the gift of marriage. Here are a few highlights of what Don said regarding ways in which we can waste our marriage:
Point #1: You will waste your marriage if you do not believe that God has chosen it to conform you to the image of Jesus Christ. Romans 8:28
Point #4: You will also waste your marriage if you fail to see that your companion’s struggles and physical defects are God-given ministry opportunities to develop deeper love for him/her. 1 Cor 7:14
Point #6: You can waste your marriage when you think you are more effective at serving Christ independently of your mate. 1 Peter 3:7
Point #7: You will also waste your marriage if you fail to realize that answered prayer depends on the way in which you treat your wife in marriage. 1 Peter 3:10
Point #9: You will also waste your marriage when you attempt to live out your role within the relationship without the fullness of the Holy Spirit.
During the afternoon session, Mrs. Cindy then addressed the pastor’s wives on the “Blessing of Submission” from various passages throughout the New Testament. She started off by making an important emphasis: Men and women are created equally in the sight of God, yet created to fulfill different roles. Cindy spoke of the following blessings of biblical submission:
First, we are obeying God in submission to our husbands.
Second, as wives submit to their husbands, they will grow in faith. God uses submission in the life of a wife to conform her to Christ and cause her trust in God to grow.
Third, biblical submission provides protection for the wife. Under the authority of her husband, a wife is living under the protective umbrella of her husband.
Fourth, for a Christian woman with a lost husband, it gives her the opportunity to lead him to Christ.
Fifth, when you submit to your husband, the Word of God is honored.
Lastly, Don capped the evening with an exhortation from Ephesians 5: “Husbands love your wives.” He appropriately emphasized the role of Gospel in the marriage relationship: the Gospel is both the paradigm through which we evaluate husband love, as well as the life-giving message that enables husbands to love their wives.
May the Lord give His people grace to live in the delicate biblical balance of love and respect.