CDPCKL · How To Live As Foreigners: Part 3 (1 Peter 3:1-6)

How To Live As Foreigners: Wives and Husbands (1 Peter 3:1-6)

In the bible there is a story told of woman who had a crazy husband. This man, prompted by some kind of strange new God, told his wife that they were going to leave their nation behind and migrate westward. He kept talking about how this strange new God had promised to make him the father of a new family, the father of a new nation, safe in a new homeland.

And they arrived! This strange new God actually appeared to her husband, and confirmed that, yes, this is the place. And just like that, their travelling days were over! Her husband set up an altar in the shadow of a great tree. They built a house together, with a nice water-feature in the living room and a well-equipped kitchen. And there they lived happily ever after.

…No. I made that part up.

Because I think you all know I am talking about Sarah and her husband Abraham. And I think you all know that this was just the beginning of a story that went on for many difficult years. And if you are familiar with this story, then you know that Sarah was a woman with strong opinions and a voice to match. Abraham made some extremely bone-headed decisions all by himself — including some that put his wife in extreme danger — but on at least three occasions Sarah seized control of the marriage and proposed some bone-headed decisions of her own…and Abraham was not wise or strong enough to resist her will.

Even so, we find that — through all the ups and downs of their marriage — Sarah remained faithful to the process, to her husband, and to her husband’s God. And we see this in a later episode, when Abraham was eating a meal with three strangers, and one of the strangers made a prophecy that within the year Sarah would have a son. Now, Sarah was listening in. And when she heard this she laughed to herself as she thought, “After I am worn out and useless and my lord is old, will I now have this pleasure?”

And clearly we can hear some discouragement and despair in her words, the sounds of a faith that is almost completely worn out with disappointment. We can even hear some wifely eye-rolling when she thinks about how old her husband is at this point. But still she calls him “my lord”.

And Sarah’s strength and commitment to her husband even in the midst of such uncertainty became the model for the women who followed her: Rebekah, Rachel, and Leah. These four women were the mothers of the great nation of Israel, alongside their husbands who were the fathers of that nation. They were revered by the generations that followed, and rightly so! Because a nation draws its strength from its mothers just as much as from its fathers.

And this truth — that women are just as necessary for the health of a nation as men — is a truth recognized by almost every nation, every society, on earth. Which makes sense to us, not just biologically but theologically, because our scriptures tell us that human society did not begin until there was a male and a female who could work together to build it. Marriage between men and women is the foundation-stone of human society, and every human society has recognized this, and has taken care to carefully regulate marriage.

Historically speaking, it is only when a society has turned the corner into decadence and decline that it begins to deregulate marriage. There is a recognizable pattern that has been repeated many times over the last 5000 years — which is as far back as our written records go:

Step One: marriage is gradually deregulated. First, men gain their independence: they are allowed to sleep with women they are not married to. Some time later, if the society continues to develop, women gain the same independence. And then anyone can sleep with anyone they like.

Ironically, it is at this point in a society that women are often the most empowered, legally speaking: able to own property, run their own businesses, even have a voice in government.

I say “ironically” because, as the pattern progresses and women receive more and more legal human rights, they begin to lose a sense of their own personal human value. And this is because of —

Step Two: once marriage is completely deregulated, sex completely loses value. This follows a simple economic truth: once a commodity becomes common it becomes cheap. Unfortunately, once sex loses value, women also lose value. In a society that has reached the stage where women have almost exactly the same human rights as men and marriage has become completely deregulated…a woman is only valuable if she is either rich or sexually desireable.

So the painful irony of this pattern is that, at the very point in a society where women are the most legally empowered, they also become the most trivialized: judged completely by their financial assets and their external appearance.

And then, once Step Two has run its course, Step Three takes effect: marriage rates decline. Birth-rates collapse. And society collapses shortly afterwards — usually swallowed up by a more conservative society, where marriage is still strongly regulated and women are still considered a valuable commodity…

Now the reason I have run through this historic pattern with you is because, 2000 years ago, when Peter wrote this letter to the Christians of Roman Asia, the Roman empire was just starting down this path. Men were already free to sleep with anyone of an equal or lower status. The average woman could not. But there was a growing sense of the unfairness of that. Women were starting to speak up and demand sexual and legal rights that their mothers and grandmothers would never have dreamed of asking for. At the highest levels of society — in the emperor’s court, for instance — women were starting to have sexual affairs and get away with it, something that was deeply shocking to the lower classes…but at the same time curiously attractive.

And what this means is that, even while the progressive upper-classes were starting to pick apart the threads that hold marriage together, the more conservative professional- and working-classes still valued marriage very highly. They viewed a stable marriage as the foundation of a stable society, a stable economy. And they believed that, in order to keep a marriage stable, it was important to let husbands sleep around — otherwise they would explode, obviously, and that’s no good. But they believed it was even more important for wives to behave. And behaving meant dressing conservatively, speaking conservatively, and having no friends or gods that were not also her husband’s friends or gods.

So any new religion that came along saying that men should be faithful to their wives, or that women should be unfaithful to their husbands, was considered a threat to the stability of the family, and therefore a threat to the stability of society.

And the thing is: a number of religions like that were starting to show up. Because, as we realized when we began this sermon series, Roman colonization mixed with Roman religious tolerance had accidentally resulted in a bunch of new religions being introduced to the empire. So, for instance, Rome had recently swallowed up the Jewish religion, which taught that men should be faithful to their wives. Conservative Romans thought this was just plain weird. On the other hand, there were some other eastern religions — like the cults of Isis and Artemis — that encouraged women to dress up and sleep around as an act of worship dedicated to the goddesses. And conservative Romans — conservative men, especially — thought this was absolutely perverse.

And so now, here comes this new eastern religion called Christianity. And on the one hand, Christian teachers are saying that men should be faithful to their wives, which is crazy, but — you know — good luck getting men to join you guys!

On the other hand, Christian teachers are also saying that women are like “free people” — like legally recognized persons with rights and stuff! All of which sounds terribly empowering. And we all know what happens when women get empowered, right? Yeah: they start sleeping around! And so the Roman response to this was, “Hey, you Christians: knock it off! If you start giving women an inflated sense of their own importance you are going to completely destabilize the empire!

“You are teaching our wives to rebel against us. Stop it!”

So Peter, writing to his friends in Roman Asia, says, “We have got to silence these accusations that Christianity is telling wives to rebel against their husbands. So:

[1] “Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, [2] when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.”

Now, right away, we find that Peter’s instructions here are actually radically progressive. Roman society expected a wife to follow her husband’s religion. Peter is saying that a woman must hold on to her own faith in Christ even if her husband resists her. So, in a sense, Peter is telling wives to rebel against their husbands.

But he has a very good reason for saying this: in essence, he is telling Christian women that, in Christ, each one of them have been given an identity that is independent of her husband’s identity; an identity that is — in fact — greater than her husband’s identity, if he refuses to believe. Just as he did last week when he was writing to Christian slaves, Peter is telling these women that they are the children of God, each one more valuable than the emperor! — and that, as the children of God, they do have the power to destroy the men in their lives; they do have the power to destabilize the empire.

But at the same time, Peter’s instructions are really conservative. He is saying, “Restrain yourselves. Do not use your power to destroy, but rather: to save. In the same way,” Peter says, “submit yourselves to your own husbands so that they might be won over.”

— now, I do want to pause and make one thing very clear: when Peter says “in the same way” he is not saying, “wives should submit like slaves to their husbands.”

When Peter says “in the same way” he is referring back to where he told everyone, “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority…” Then he said, “Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters…” Now he is saying, “Wives, in reverent fear of God, submit yourselves to your own husbands.”

He is basically reinforcing this idea that a wife can have her own personal faith apart from her husband’s, that a woman has the power to submit for the Lord’s sake, in reverent fear of God. She does not submit to her husband because she is his slave, she submits because she is moved by her Heavenly Father, motivated by her vision of God’s great plan of redemption.

And so, just like he did last week, when he was talking to slaves, Peter is telling these Christian women that they have a valuable part to play in the greater mission of the church. Just as Christian submission to government is a kind of evangelism, just as slaves’ submission to masters is a kind of evangelism, so also a wife’s submission to her unbelieving husband is a kind of evangelism. Just as Christians are called to win over government — harsh ones as well as good ones — without words, through the purity and reverence of their lives; just as slaves are called to win over their masters — harsh ones as well as good ones — without words, through the purity and reverence of their lives; so also wives are called to win over their husbands — harsh ones as well as good ones — without words, through the purity and reverence of their lives.

So what we are discovering here is that purity and reverence is not just for women, it is for all Christians.

Okay. But let’s get specific, then: what does Peter mean by purity and reverence?

“Well,” Peter says in verse 3, “for example:

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes.”

In Roman society, your clothing was your identity. What you wore defined who you were: your value. People would treat one another with the respect due to the proper status of their clothing.

And as I have already mentioned, this was a time when Roman women in general were beginning to express themselves: they were beginning to wonder, more and more publically, whether they were really getting everything out of life that they deserved.

And some of this self expression was starting to show up in their clothing. Upper-class women — who, in their very progressive society where sex was cheap — were being forced to compete sexually with other, younger women. So they were starting to flaunt their wealth and power through fashion. Lower-class women, quite naturally, copied them, even though — in their more conservative societies — they really need not need to compete for men’s attention in that same way.

But because upper-class women were more free with their sexual favours, and because upper-class women dressed in high fashion, high fashion became widely associated with unfaithfulness. And this impression was reinforced by those eastern religions that, frankly, encouraged women to dress up and sleep around.

So Peter is not saying that women should never dress up or wear jewellery or get their hair done nicely. But he is saying, “Please do not give your husbands the impression that you are sexually available to other men. And please do not give your husbands the impression that Christianity is one of those bizarre eastern sex cults. Yes, our faith is very empowering for women. Yes, we know that Christian empowerment never leads to the deregulation of sex, because we know that this always ends in the devaluing of women. But your husbands do not know this. To them, the empowerment of women always leads to unfaithfulness in women. This is not true, but it is what they think. So if we are going to convince them that this is not true, you are going to have to show them that you are empowered women who know how to use your power to stabilize the household instead of destabilizing it. You are going to have to convince your husbands through the purity and reverence of your lives, right down to what you wear.

“You are free people now. But do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s wife: live as if Jesus was your husband.

In other words, Peter is telling these Christian wives that, since they now have a secure identity in Christ, they are no longer enslaved to the degrading identity games of the Roman world, a world where women are only valuable if they are rich or useful or sexually attractive or “empowered” — however that is defined.

[4] “Rather,” Peter says, “your beauty — your identity — should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.

And this is the point where many modern women say, “Oh, here we go with the gentle and quiet spirit bit! That is always the conservative patriarchal ideal, isn’t it: the quiet, demure, two-dimensional woman who has no opinions of her own…!”

But that is not at all what Peter is saying. Peter is actually telling women that they are more than just two-dimensional sex objects, more than just baby-making machines, more than just a path to male wealth and power. Peter is saying that women are human beings with a deep and fulfilling three-dimensional inner self. They are creatures who are capable of intellectual development, and reason, and self-control: they do not need men to control them, they do not need men to think for them, they do not need an identity or a value that is assigned to them by men…because they have already been assigned the maximum possible value by the great Father who created them, in the Saviour who spent his own blood to redeem them.

So “a gentle and quiet spirit” is not a reference to spineless, two-dimensional women without opinions, it is a reference to the deep emotional and spiritual strength that is required to control yourself when things go wrong. Because when things go wrong — when a man actively persecutes his wife’s faith, for instance — that is the moment when all our instincts scream at us to seize the controls, to start fighting to fix things.

Peter is telling these Christian wives that this would be a mistake.

Here is a modern example: in 2009 an airliner suddenly fell out of the sky at midnight in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, even though there was nothing wrong with the plane. They were flying along just fine, they hit a little bit of turbulence — and suddenly the aircraft started fighting against the pilot’s control. He was doing everything right, he was doing everything he was supposed to do…but in three minutes and thirty seconds a perfectly functional aircraft simply stopped flying and fell almost straight down from 38,000 feet to 0.

The flight data recorders solved the mystery: the co-pilot had panicked in the first moments of turbulence and tried to seize control. In order to save the plane, the pilot needed to push the nose down a bit so that it could have enough speed to keep flying. But every time the nose went down, the co-pilot used his stick to pull the nose back up. The plane actually needed to go faster; the co-pilot kept slowing it down. And because of the design of the controls on that aircraft, the pilot never realized that he was not actually fighting the plane, he was fighting the man beside him.

Basically, 228 people died because the co-pilot could not control his fear.

What that co-pilot needed was a gentle and quiet spirit. What he needed was the strength to take his hands off the controls and trust his pilot to do the right thing.

In the same way, Peter is urging the Christian wives of Roman Asia to take their hands off the controls and trust — not their husbands! but — God to do the right thing.

And this level of self-control takes immense strength of character, it takes immense faith in God! So when Peter says that Christian wives’ beauty should come from a gentle and quiet spirit he is not calling them to weakness, he is calling them to strength. And the fact that he believes they are even capable of this level of self-control is a compliment of the highest order!

And we can tell that Peter is calling them to exercise their strength because, in the very next verse, he brings up the strongest women he knows from history: [5] For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands, [6] like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.”

These are the daughters of Sarah he is writing to. Through baptism into Christ, they have now received Sarah’s spiritual DNA. They have inherited her courage, her strength, her faith. Just like Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Leah, just like all the mothers of our ancient faith, these Christian wives do not actually live at the mercy of their husbands’ whims, they are actually safe in the hands of the Saviour who redeemed them. This is the reality that gave Sarah the courage to take her hands off the controls and put her hope in God.

In summary, here: Christians are being accused of being anti-marriage. They are accused of encouraging wives to rebel against their husbands, to seize control of their marriages and humiliate their men by flaunting their freedom in public.

Peter is calling upon Christian wives to silence this ignorant talk by doing their best to stabilize their marriages instead. By doing this they will be defending the name — the honour — of Christ. And they will be leaving room for true evangelism: the evangelism that comes through the work of God’s Spirit. Of course it is tempting to seize control, to try to argue a man into God’s kingdom! but Peter is calling upon these women to resist that temptation, to take their hands off those particular controls, and put their hope in God’s work and God’s protection.

But now: what does this have to do with us? How are we supposed to apply this to our lives?

Well, our modern global society is very different from Roman society in many significant ways. But there are things that have not changed. For one, marriage between men and women is still the basic building-block of human society. For another thing, the ancient pattern still holds: any society that begins messing with that basic building-block is getting ready to destroy itself.

And our modern global society is showing every sign that it has turned the corner into decadence and self-destruction. Yes, Europe and America are in advance of the rest of us…but not by much. Marriage is being redefined and deregulated all over the world. On the positive side, this means that more and more women are finding themselves legally empowered, and that is great! — but this empowerment is always accompanied by a huge spike in divorce rates: in the United States, 70% of divorces are initiated by women; in Malaysia, today, there is the equivalent of 1 divorce every 10 minutes. And while we can celebrate the fact that more and more women are being empowered to escape from terrible marriages…this empowerment is always accompanied by yet another unintended consequence: as marriage is increasingly deregulated — as divorce becomes easier — sex becomes cheaper and those same women who just escaped from a bad marriage find themselves set ”free” into a world that is busy turning women into two-dimensional charicatures, valuable only if they are sexually desireable, wealthy, or capable of building wealth. For instance: have you noticed that in every western movie that features an “empowered female lead” those characters are nothing more than a sexually liberated woman who is also capable of terrible violence and revenge? More and more, at the progressive ends of our society, the complex inner life of women is being reduced to nothing but sexual desire and rage.

So our situation as Christians today in Modern Asia is very much like the situation in Roman Asia 2000 years ago: we find ourselves caught between two great movements.

On one side of our global society there are the progressives, who tell us that the best way to empower women is by deregulating marriage and dismantling the family. This is a lie. Many progressive people do not know that this is a lie: they genuinely want to empower women. But the most advanced progressive thinkers know that the deregulation of marriage and family always leads to the devaluing of women — they just don’t care. Partly because they are men who actually hate women — I think the recent #metoo movement has proven that beyond a shadow of a doubt, it is always the most ”progressive” “open-minded” men in power who are the worst abusers of women. But partly they don’t care because they believe that after society’s collapse — and the violent death of millions — there will be a revolution and the rise of a true egalitarian utopia.

On the other side of our global society are the conservatives, who are deeply shocked by progressive immorality…but at the same time are curiously attracted to it: willing to watch it on TV, for instance. Conservatives tell us that the best way to stabilize society — and avoid the collapse — is to regulate marriage. And they are right about that! But there is a deception here, also. Because throughout history, most conservative societies have regulated marriage in such a way as to allow men more freedom than women, and a lot of energy is spent covering up the unfairness of that. Most conservative societies have arranged matters so that one man can have several wives, or — at least — a series of concubines or mistresses. And what is truly unfortunate about this arrangement is that it provides just enough regulation and stability to allow a conservative society to continue on like that for generations, sometimes for centuries.

And so, just like the Christians of ancient Roman Asia, we receive accusations from both sides.

Progressives say Christianity is an anti-social religion because it asks women to control their sexual impulses. Because we teach that a wife should remain faithful to her husband, we are accused of disempowering women. Christians — especially in the West — are being regularly accused of trying to “regulate women’s bodies”. More and more we are being called anti-woman and anti-marriage because we refuse to accept all the progressive redefinitions of marriage and womanhood.

Conservatives, however, say Christianity is an anti-social religion because it asks men to control their sexual impulses. Because we teach that a man should have only one wife — no second or third wives, no concubines, no mistresses, no pornography! — we are accused by conservatives of empowering women too much. We are accused of encouraging wives to rebel against their husbands.

So what are we supposed to do? How are we to silence these accusations today, in 21st century Kuala Lumpur?

Well, we follow Peter’s instructions. We adopt Peter’s philosophy, Peter’s approach. Because Peter’s approach is our Heavenly Father’s approach.

And the first thing we notice is that Peter’s approach is both progressive and conservative. He adopts the elements of truth that are found on both sides, but he rewrites those truths — he underwrites them — with God’s values, God’s truth. And God’s truth drives out the lies that are found on both sides. So we can admit, along with Peter, that progressives are right: women desperately need to be empowered, to be recognized as equal in value with men; but progressives are wrong to believe that the empowerment of women comes through the deregulation of marriage. We can also admit, along with Peter, that conservatives are right: society will self-destruct if marriage is redefined as anything other than a sexual union between male and female; but conservatives are wrong to believe that the proper regulation of marriage requires a greater regulation of women.

Now, the proper biblical regulation of marriage does depend upon the wisdom and restraint of Christian men — and I do regret to inform you that Peter is only going to address that for us next week. So, brothers, if you want to know what our Father requires of you as Christian husbands, make sure you are here next Sunday.

But as for these accusations that Christianity is both too empowering toward women and not empowering enough…ladies, sisters, the reputation of our faith — the reputation of our Lord Christ — is in your capable hands. And Peter is asking you all, for the Lord’s sake, and for the sake of all your brothers here, to deal gently with the men in your life.

Because, look: we men all know that you have the power to destroy us, to destroy our lives. And to be very honest, apart from Jesus Christ, we are as afraid of you as you are of us. Those of us who are more conservative try to control our fear by controlling you; those of us who are more progressive try to control our fear by giving you the controls, thinking that if we just give you everything you want you’ll be happy and won’t make us miserable. Most of us do a bit of both, which is terrifically frustrating and confusing for everyone involved. And to make matters worse, neither the conservative nor the progressive approach actually makes you ladies happy, and as they say in the American South: “if Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”

— if you need a translation of that proverb into proper English, please ask someone during our Q&A.

But again, I am getting ahead of myself: we are not here to talk about the proper Christian male approach to women…

Sisters, our reputation is in your hands. Christ’s reputation is in your hands. And Jesus put that responsibility into your hands because he believes in the power of the blood that redeemed you — because it is his blood! He believes in the power of the Spirit that lives within you — because it is his Spirit.

And so our Saviour has given you the power to destabilize and destroy because he knows that you are strong enough to resist that temptation. He knows that, if you are a woman caught in an unhappy marriage, you are longing to seize control. He knows you are thinking that if you were in charge you would fix the problem and redeem your marriage. He knows you are thinking that if you cannot be in charge and you cannot escape then at least you can pay your husband back for every moment of misery he has forced you to endure…

Sisters, our Saviour is saying to you, “Don’t do that.”

Yes, if you are in a conservative society you still have the power to make your husband miserable…but the pleasure of that does not last, and in the end you will just find yourself more disempowered than ever. Yes, if you are in a more progressive society, you could seize control of your marriage…but this will simply disempower your husband and end your marriage emotionally or perhaps even legally; and in the end you will find that assigning your own value to yourself is a lot less empowering that it seems from the outside.

Instead, live with the strength of Sarah’s daughters, knowing that you — yourself — are of great worth in God’s sight. Silence progressive accusations by using your power to stabilize your husband’s household wherever possible. Demonstrate the gentle and quiet spirit that is actually the greatest kind of strength: the strength of self-restraint. And silence conservative accusations by submitting yourself to your own husband for the Lord’s sake, so that he might be won over without words by the purity and reverence of your life.

Now, practically speaking, what does this mean: no jewellery? No trips to the hair-dresser?

Not necessarily. There are two very generous features built into Peter’s instructions here that provide us with a lot of freedom in how Christian women can express themselves.

The first generous feature is this: purity and reverence are God’s commands for all Christians at all times — but at the same time, certain aspects of what is considered pure and reverent is defined by society. So, for instance, God’s Word tells us that adultery is a sin. But God’s Word does not define what adulterous clothing looks like. In Peter’s time, elaborate hairstyles, gold jewelry, and fine clothes meant that a woman was sexually available. But back in Sarah’s time, a woman signalled her availability by veiling her face, while in some cultures of our world today it is the woman without a veil who is signalling her availability. I grew up on an island in Indonesia where many women wore nothing but grass skirts and men wore much less than that. When those tribes turned to Christ, they did not suddenly start wearing shirts and pants — but they did stop wearing certain kinds of jewellery that communicated non-Christian ideas in their cultures.

The second generous feature of Peter’s instructions is this: a Christian wife is not called to submit to the ideas of all men in her society, she is called to submit to her own husband. Which means that, for a Christian wife, certain aspects of what is considered pure and reverent are defined by her own husband. And this provides a Christian wife with both freedom and further opportunity to demonstrate her strength of spirit. For instance, a society might have more progressive ideas about how women can dress…but a husband might have more conservative ideas about how his wife should dress. Now, a Christian wife is a free person in Christ. She is actually free to dress however she likes, because she knows that her true value does not come from how she dresses. But her husband may not know that. And so, for the Lord’s sake, she accepts her husband’s definition of purity and reverence. But sometimes a society has more conservative ideas about how a woman should dress…while a husband might have more progressive ideas. Well, in that case, a Christian wife is not called to submit to the ideas of all men, she is called to submit to her own husband…as long as his definitions of purity and reverence does not contradict’s God greater definitions.

So, practically speaking: what does purity and reverence look like here, today, in Kuala Lumpur?

Ladies, God’s Word is affirming that you have a deep and fulfilling three-dimensional inner life. You are capable of intellectual development, and reason, and self-control. So look around! Evaluate our society. Speak with one another. If you have a husband, speak with him. You have the freedom as a community of Christian women, to figure out what purity and reverence should look like as we live as witnesss amongst the nations of our world.

I would like to end there. But I would be a bad pastor if I did not at least acknowledge the question that is on many of your minds: what about abuse? Is Peter telling Christian wives to submit to physical or sexual abuse?

No. The word for submission that Peter keeps using here is a Greek word that means “to consent to live under a proper order”. As we have just discussed, some aspects of “proper order” are defined by God, but some aspects are defined by society.

Roman society recognized that certain kinds of abuse destabilizes marriage, which destabilizes society. So, in the interest of proper order, there were Roman laws in place restricting husbands from abusing their wives in certain ways. Now, for the last three weeks, Peter has been telling the Christians of Roman Asia that they must be a people who love and support order in Roman society as best they can. Roman society has declared that the abuse of wives is against good order. Therefore Roman Christians are against the abuse of wives, and have the freedom to pursue a solution through the Roman legal system.

By God’s great kindness to us, we Christians of Modern Malaysia have the same freedom. By God’s grace, there are laws in place restricting certain kinds of abuse within marriage. As Christians, we do have the freedom to pursue those legal solutions. And we should.

At the same time, we should also realize that those legal solutions only serve to limit the worst of the damage. They are not truly transformative, they will not bring an end to abuse. For that, we will have to turn responsibility over to the men.

We have a lot more to say about this — but you’ll have to come back next week to continue the conversation.

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