What is submission all about? Today on the broadcast, wife and author Bunny Wilson talks about the lessons she's learned about submission throughout the years with husband, Frank.
What is submission all about? Today on the broadcast, wife and author Bunny Wilson talks about the lessons she's learned about submission throughout the years with husband, Frank.
Bob: Are women who submit to their husbands weak? Here’s Bunny Wilson.
Bunny: I am stronger now than I have ever been, and, ladies, God has no problem with you being a strong woman. God loves strong women. You know why? Because he knows that once we understand a principle and it’s clear, we’re just as strong towards submission as we were towards rebellion. God doesn’t mind us being strong. He just wants us to channel our strength. I’m stronger than I ever was before I was submissive.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Tuesday, September 7th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine. We’re going to hear today from Bunny Wilson about the power that comes from being a submissive as a wife.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Tuesday edition. You know, we made it through the first part of the message we are going to hear today without getting too much attack or injury.
Dennis: Well, the reason was we had a gifted speaker who delivered the goods. We just got out of the way, didn’t we?
Bob: That’s right.
Dennis: We talked yesterday on the broadcast about the subject of submission, and…
Bob: Actually we didn’t talk about it, Bunny Wilson talked about it.
Dennis: There you go.
Bob: She did a great job. This was a message that was featured at the Building Strong Families in Your Church conference that we co-hosted in Dallas with the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. Bunny’s presentation on submission was a great reminder of what the scriptures teach on this subject.
Dennis: Yeah, in fact, Bunny has a book that’s committed to this subject. It’s called Liberated Through Submission and she is not only an entertaining speaker, but an excellent writer, and personally, Bob, I think it’s best that this subject of submission be dealt with by a woman. I think if I were a woman it would be very difficult to hear a couple of men in a studio talking about submitting to your husband and maybe without saying anything else, we need to let Bunny Wilson just go ahead and speak to the women.
Bob: We’ll do that. As she picks up her message here in Part Two, she’s talking about how wives need to be ready to adjust to some of their husband’s uniquenesses. Let’s listen to Bunny.
Bunny: Now, ladies, we have got to learn to get to the point when we’re talking to our husbands. You know, our husbands are very bottom line, right? You stay home from church, he goes to church, he comes home, and you say, “How was the service?” “Fine.” “What did the pastor talk about?” “God.”
Now, you go to church, he stays home, you come home; he says, “How was church?” And we’re like, “Well, you know, I left 15 minutes late, just knew my parking space wasn’t going to be there, Sally was pulling into my parking space, got in the church, it was too hot on one side, too cold on…” We have got to get to the point.
Bunny: Our hearts study to answer. Give him the benefit of our thinking, because the Bible says, “Husbands live with your wife according to understanding that your prayers be not hindered.” God knew that the husband wasn’t going to take the time to want to understand this, so He had to threaten his prayer life. You know what hindered prayer is like?
Bunny: Hindered prayer is like being on the phone with static on the line, and Jesus’ voice going in and out. Hindered prayer. And so I want to make sure I do everything in my power so that Frank clearly understands. It doesn’t matter whether he agrees or disagrees, is happy, mad, or sad. I just want to make sure that I share with him what I’m thinking with the right attitude, with the right spirit, knowing he has the right to make the final decision, honoring that with him, having a yielded spirit and a reverent spirit. That should be your tone. It should be your attitude. You should share clearly your heart and get to the point.
Now you have to understand how difficult this was for me. I was a very outspoken, get-you-straight, kind of person, so when I understood what God was saying, “You can speak the truth but you have to speak it in love.” I said, “Okay, okay, okay.” The first time I saw that I said, “Okay.” Frank and I had had a disagreement and I said “I’ll wait until I’m not upset anymore and then I’ll share this with him.” Well, two months later…
Bunny: …because every time I thought about it I got upset. Two months later, I said, “Okay, God, I got it, I got it. I’m going to do this right.” And I went to Frank and I said, “You know, Frank, you’re about to make a decision that I don’t agree with and I just wanted to share with you why I don’t agree. I don’t agree because of A, B, C, D.”
But while I was sharing with him he had a body language, with his arms crossed. He had an attitude and then, ladies, he gave me the look. Well, when he looked at me like that my voice just got higher and higher and higher until I had to explain it to him.
So God said to me, “You didn’t share the truth in love.” He said, “What your soft voice was really saying was ‘You know, Frank, if I took the time long enough to calm myself down to address this ridiculous decision you’re about to make, you ought to be able to sit up in your chair and act like you have sense while I get you straight.’” He said, “That’s what your soft voice was really saying. You were not speaking to him in love, you were speaking to him in manipulation.” I said, “Okay, okay, God, I won’t do that anymore, I won’t do that anymore.”
But then after I got through manipulation I had a whole other sin to jump over. That was the sin of guile. You know what that is, that’s when you say one thing and you mean another. It’s like the woman who said to her husband, “You know, what, honey, my birthday is coming up and I saw how much money that we have in our checking account, and we don’t have any money so I don’t want you to buy me a birthday present.”
And so the wise husband said, “Oh, no, I’m going to buy you a birthday present.” And she said, “No, no, no, even if you bought it I wouldn’t be able to enjoy it.” So now the logical husband would say, “Well, if she’s not going to be able to enjoy it, then why should I buy it?” How many of you all know that if that husband comes home without a gift he’s got a problem on his hands?
Bunny: Because what she really meant to say was, “Honey, I looked in the bank account, we don’t have any money. I don’t care if you drive me to the lake as the sun is going down, bring a tape recorder of romantic music, stick a dandelion in my ear, and buy me a hot dog. I don’t care what you do, but you do something, because my birthday’s important to me.” Now that’s what she really meant to say.
So I had to get over the sin of guile. I had to come without manipulation, without guile, with a reverent and a yielded spirit and speak the truth in love. Now, I stopped. I spoke the truth in love. Then I gave him the right to make the final decision, and if he did not agree with me it is at that time…this is where submission kicks in. It is at that time that I give God the space to intervene in our lives, not to show us which one is right and which one is wrong, but to show us what His will is in the situation.
Sometimes you can have all of the facts and it not be the will of God for that particular situation. There have been times when I thought I was dead right, and I was dead wrong. I was so happy that my husband had made the final decision. And, after all, ladies, when we get to heaven he’s the one that’s going to be judged for the leadership of the direction he took the family. I mean, while we’re reclining next to the crystal river sipping on heavenly lemonade, he’s going to be in the throne room, and I figure if he’s going to get the whoopin’ he ought to be able to make the decision.
But let’s look at it for a minute from just a humanistic point of view. Let’s say that Frank and I don’t agree about something. And we take it to a judge. I write up my brief and Frank writes up his brief, and the judge looks at it before he comes into the courtroom, and on this particular decision the judge is leaning in my favor. He’s thinking, “Wow, Frank, I think you’re off on this decision, but I’m going to wait and hear what you have to say when I go in the courtroom.” So he comes in the courtroom and we all rise, and he lets Frank talk first, and Frank gets up and he starts explaining his point. The judge is sitting there with his head in his hand, and he’s thinking to himself, “No, Frank, on this decision I think I’m going to have to rule in Bunny’s favor.”
In the middle of Frank talking, I get so upset, I jump to my feet and start telling the judge all the reasons why he’s wrong. What is the judge going to tell me to do? Sit down. What if I don’t sit down? He’s going to hold me in contempt of court. And what if I still don’t sit down? He’s going to put me in jail and fine me money.
You all did not hear me when I first started this illustration. The judge thought I was right. He was going to rule…are you all going to come down to the courthouse and picket for me, take off of your job and said, you know, “Let Bunny go?” Of course not. You know what you’re going to say? You’re going to say, “You know what, Bunny? You ought’ve known that there was an established order in the courtroom. You should have known that when you went in there. If the judge doesn’t get you straight then the next people that come in are going to be standing up on the table tops, and the people after that are going to be swinging from the chandeliers.”
There has to be an established order, and we all understand that. If we understand that in the courthouse, why don’t we understand that in our house? Why don’t we understand it in the church house? That there is an order that is established.
What I discovered was there were areas that God agreed with me on, certain areas in my marriage that really needed to be fixed, but I was tying his hands with my contentiousness, with my rebelliousness, with my stubbornness, because what if God fixed it with me out of order? Guess who would have been watching? My children. And where would the testimony have been?
I was the one that was delaying the answer that God had in our marriage relationship, but on the day that I decided…because Frank even said one day in a radio interview…he said, “When Bunny decided to become submissive it put the fear of God in my heart.” He said, “Because I knew I was no longer contending with her. I was dealing directly with God.”
So where I had been standing in the way, and God wanted to get at Frank, he couldn’t get to Frank because I was blocking. I was interceding the whoopin’, I was getting the whoopin’, when he wanted a clear shot at Frank.
2 Samuel, 15:23 says, “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft and stubbornness as the sin of idolatry.” This is the scripture that arrested me, changed my heart, turned me in another direction, because I said to God, I said, “How is rebellion like witchcraft?” He said, “Well, witchcraft is designed to make a person do what you want them to do.”
The Lord says when you murmur and complain, when you pout and you nag, and you give the silent treatment, He said “It’s just like practicing witchcraft, because what you’re saying to your husband is, ‘I will go back to being the wonderful person you always knew if you do things the way I want them done.’” He said, “That is like practicing witchcraft.” He said, “and stubbornness is like idolatry because idolatry is when we worship something above God.”
It could be your ministry, it could be your children, your money, your profession. It could be a lot of things that you worship above God, that’s idolatry. But he says “When you are stubborn against my established order, in your home, on your job, in your church,” he said, “you are worshipping your thoughts, your feelings, and your opinions above what My word teaches.” As far as I’m concerned that is like practicing idolatry.
Now I don’t know about you, but when God calls an angel over and says, “That’s Bunny, that’s my blank child,” rebelliousness, stubbornness, contention, argumentative, deceitful, manipulative, guile…I don’t want those adjectives in front of my name. I want to be God’s yielded, submitted servant. I want to be kind. I want to be compassionate and empathetic, and sympathetic, and willing, and obedient. I want those kind of adjectives to be used by my name. And I said, “God, today I decide.”
So many women have said to me, “How do you become submissive?” You decide to become submissive. You decide to implement the principle into your life. The next time you get into some intense fellowship with your husband, rather than continue, you stop, and you say, “Okay, okay, okay, okay, okay. I’m not going to talk about this until I can speak the truth in love.” And you may have to take two or three months off until you can do it without guile and without manipulation.
But this much I guarantee you. When you step out of God’s way and see God intervene on your behalf…when I say your behalf, that means your husband and you. That means your boss and you. That means your pastor and you. When you see God intervene on your behalf, and you having given it up to God, you can be around your husband and you all totally do not agree, and your spirit does not change at all, because you believe, by faith, that God will intervene on your behalf and show you what His will is. And He does. There have been times when Frank thought he was right and discovered I was right, and every time God showed him that I went up a notch in his eyes, in terms of how he viewed my ability to make decisions.
In the early part of our marriage, I would tell Frank how I felt, and he many times would say, “That’s dumb.” I’d say, “That’s not dumb, that’s the way I feel.” He would say, “Ninety-five percent of the people in the world agree with me, five percent agree with you, that’s dumb.” He does not say that anymore.
When I say, “Frank, you’re about to make a decision and I don’t agree with you,” he says, “Tell me everything you know.” The reason for that is he’s got enough whoopins from God. He’s dealt with God enough. The fear of God is in his heart. He doesn’t want to have to deal with God, and he can just listen to me and then weigh it out. Now there’s one thing for sure. I want him to make the decisions that he feels God is calling him to make, even if it doesn’t agree with me. I want him to make the final decision.
Some ladies say, “What if you can’t get your husband to make a final decision? What if he says, ‘I want you to make the decision?’” That is his final decision. The fact that he wants you to make the decision, that is his final decision. When we get to heaven he will still answer for that decision even though you made it, because he is the final authority in your home, and if he has given you that right then you make the best decisions you know how. I hear women complain about it all the time. I said, “I know a lot of women that would love for their husband to say, ‘You make the final decision.’” Until he takes up the mantle of doing that, and he will do it more readily when you have a yielded, submitted and reverent spirit that is not fighting him and contending with him, and making him feel foolish if he makes a mistake.
That brings me up to the last point. What if I submit and my husband, or my pastor, or my boss makes a mistake? The question is not what if, the question is when. Your pastor, your boss, your husband are not perfect people. There will be times when they think that they’re hearing the word of God, or hearing God speak, and it turns out that it was clear that it was incorrect, and that the way you thought was correct. Now you could say to them, “I told you so,” and all that’s going to do is bring up a list of justifications for why they did it and a remembrance of all the things that you’ve ever done wrong. That’s all that’s going to do.
Or you can say to them, “Anybody can make a mistake. What can I do to help you fix it?” When we forgive a person’s mistakes it bonds them to us, and it makes the relationship even dearer and nearer.
I walked in the bedroom one day, and two of my teenage daughters, who are grown now, they were arguing with each other at the top of their lungs. I walked in and I said, “You know, you all need to learn to resolve your differences the way your father and I resolve our differences.” So, they stopped and looked at each other, started to giggle, and said, “Let’s do that, let’s do that.” So the first one said, “You know the way I see this…”
And she began naming her points, and the second one sat there and listened to her, and when the first one stopped talking the second one said, “Are you through?” She said, “Yes, I’m through.” So the second one said, “I understand what you’re saying, but the way I feel about this…”
And they fell across the bed just rolling in laughter. They thought it was so funny. When I walked out of the room, the spirit of the Lord spoke to me and said, “They may not be doing it now, but they know what it looks like.”
One of my greatest joys is watching my children grow up and understand the principle of submission. When they go on their jobs and how they act with an employer, when they go to church and how they act within the church body…now that I see them married.
Remember that daughter that I told you wasn’t going to get married, she was the first one of my daughters to get married. Number two when she was 16 years old she decided to put a collage on the ceiling of her bedroom. They were all wedding dresses. I said, “ God you have such as interesting sense of humor.” After she got married she is the kind of person that follow through is not one of her strongest suites. She’s developing but I had to really stay on her.
I said, “After the wedding make sure with this allotted amount of time you send out thank you cards. Promise me you will do that.”
She said, “Oh, mommy. I promise I’ll do that.”
Well, past the allotted time they should go out I got a call from my mother her grandmother. “Did she get the gift? Did she enjoy it?” “Well, I never heard from her.”
I couldn’t dial her number fast enough. When I got her on the phone I said, “You promised me you wouldn’t do this.” And she said, “Well, mom. I was going to send them out but my husband said he wanted me to wait until he could sit with me and do them. So in submission to my husband…”
I said well you tell your husband to call me. When I see the peace and the harmony with which they operate their life. When I have watched God intervene on my behalf, no muss no fuss. Meaning that he sent the answer and he fixed it in time. You have to give him a space of time. You can’t rush him. Being able to be in a relationship where sometimes you don’t agree and the spirit of peace abounds. It’s one of the greatest gifts that come from exercising the principle of submission.
I am stronger now than I have ever been and, ladies. God has no problem with you being a strong woman. Women come up to me all the time and say, “I don’t know how I’m going to do this. I’m a strong woman.” God loves strong women. You know why? Because he knows that once we understand a principle and it’s clear, we’re just as strong towards submission as we were towards rebellion.
God doesn’t mind us being strong. He just wants us to channel our strength. I’m stronger than I ever was before I was submissive. I’m clearer than I ever was before I was submissive, because now my mind and my attitude is not clouded by anger, manipulation, guile, rebelliousness, and stubbornness. I am liberated and I am free, and I take pride…Godly pride…in saying that I am a submitted servant.
Bob: Well, we’ve been listening to Part Two of a message from Bunny Wilson on the subject of submission, and I’m glad she said what she said. She’s just cutting it straight, saying what the scriptures teach.
Dennis: You know, this message, if it were given by…well, for that matter, any person…would not be a popular message and the reason is, is it cuts across the grain of our humanity. We don’t want to submit to anybody or anything or any authority. Yet one of the ways we can almost be assured that a message is biblical is if the flesh rebels against hearing it. There is almost a sense that of authenticity. It must be right because that is not the natural bent of how human being are. We do want to rebel. We do want to be angry. We do want to be embittered. We don’t want to submit joyfully to another human being who is not perfect. That doesn’t make sense to us. And yet God in his ingenuity has called us as believers to trust his plan and blueprints.
I get concerned Christians today who want to rewrite scripture and the roles and to find an easier way out especially in a culture that is a feminist culture. The culture is calling women to seek their own rights. The Bible calls both men and women to deny their rights. That is the clear message of scripture.
Dennis: Why would we want to go echo the message of the culture, especially with the failure rate of families being what they are today. Let me tell you something. No amount of embracing the world’s plan for marriage and seeking your own rights is going to build healthy, godly, Christian families. I say to those who want to step forward and re-write Paul’s writings and reinterpret Peter and say that a woman is not called to submit and to somehow erase the word from the vocabulary and make the scriptures much more palatable and winsome to the unbelieving world, be careful of changing what the scriptures clearly say. The Bible says, “Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands.”
Bob: Yes. We have to acknowledge I think that some men have grabbed onto this passage and this teaching and they have misinterpreted what the Bible says so that a wife has no dignity. That she is somehow lesser in a marriage relationship than her husband. They have used this as a weapon. They have not been humble themselves. We really do need to be clear as we address this subject this is not something the Bible teaches to give men permission to be abusive or cruel or domineering over a wife.
Yet at the same time just because there have been abuses that does not excuse a woman from her responsibility to do what God has called her to do. I think Bunny really has outlined that clearly in what she has said on the program today but also in the book that she has written called Liberated Through Submission. We have copies of her book in our FamilyLife Resource Center. You can go online at FamilyLifeToday.com for more information on how to get a copy of the book. If you want to hear the entire message that is available on CD as well or you can stream the audio on our website.
If you want to call to order a copy of Bunny’s book you can call 1-800-FL-TODAY. It’s 1-800-358-6329. That’s 1-800-F, as in family, L, as in Life, and then the word TODAY.
Now quickly let me update folks on what is going on with our FamilyLife Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise. It is scheduled for Valentines week February 14-18. Leaving from South Florida and going to the Bahamas and Coco Kay. We are getting close to filling up the ship and we wanted our FamilyLife Today friends to be able to come along with us. This week if you sign up for the Love Like You Mean It cruise we are making state rooms available for half price. It’s a buy-one-get-one free offer. Pay for one person to come along and the second person comes for free. This is good for FamilyLife Today listeners and it’s only good through this week.
Here is what you need to do. Go to FamilyLifeToday.com and click on the link on our website that gives you more information about the Love Like You Mean It cruise. Dennis and Barbara Rainey are going to be there. Maryann and I are going to be there. Crawford and Karen Loritts are going to be there. Kirk Cameron and his wife and Shaunti Feldhahn and her husband, Sela, Point of Grace and Big Daddy Weave. It’s going to be a great week so sign up this week and your state room is half price. To get that special offer you have to identify yourself as a FamilyLife Today listener by typing my name “BOB” in the promo code box on the registration form. So go to FamilyLifeToday.com and click on the Love Like You Mean It cruise link. Hope to see you onboard the cruise and I won’t tell anybody that you got the special deal. Everybody will think you paid what they paid. It will be our little secret. Alright?
Now tomorrow we want to encourage you to be back with us. We are going to introduce you to a remarkable young woman. Her name is Kristen Jane Anderson and she has a remarkable story to tell. As a teenager she decided that she would end her life but God had other plans for her and we’ll hear about those plans from her tomorrow. I hope you can be with us for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I’m Bob Lepine. We’ll see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
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