I can’t think of a more polarizing issue than church and religion. While finance may be a personality difference, and in-laws may be a self-control issue, church and religion are deeply moral, personal, and at the very core of your world-view.
I grew up in a home where my parents did not agree 100% on church and religion. I saw firsthand what happens when you have differences. While you may be willing compromise on money or lifestyle, it is hard, hard, hard to compromise on beliefs. And it should be, frankly. If you are easily swayed by your husband’s opinion, then I question the depth of your personal relationship with Jesus.
However, your husband is the head of your home as a Christian, and he does have the responsibility to lead your home in the way he believes God wants him too. This is not to say he must run over your convictions and beliefs. A Godly husband should always consider his wife’s convictions, and pray together concerning big decisions or problems. But what if you both are seeking God, and you come to wildly different conclusions?
Let’s first lay down the basics.
And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. 1 Timothy 2:14
Eve was deceived in the Garden, and has shown us that women tend to be swayed easier than men. Whether by our own reasoning, emotions, or personality – we can be ‘talked into’ convictions or beliefs when we haven’t really studied out what God’s Word says.
Adam was not deceived, but like many men – he wanted to keep his wife happy. So he capitulated. Lesson from Eve: Don’t lead your husband into a bad situation by your emotional reasoning. Let him lead.
What if he wants us to go to a church that I don’t agree with?
But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. Ephesians 5:24
Go with him. Unless it is a cult – in which rare circumstance you should seek outside counsel – go with him. You don’t have to join, you don’t have to agree with everything. But, if he is taking the family to a Christian church, be thankful.
You can teach the finer points of theology and Christianity to your children at home, if necessary. (respectfully and not husband or church-bashing) If they are dry and dead, you can still be vibrantly alive. If they are soulish and wild, you can be sincere and spiritual.
What if our church has a split or other huge issue that we disagree on?
This is the trickiest problem. I can assure you that ‘being right‘ is NOT WORTH YOUR MARRIAGE!! Trust me on this. My parents went to a church where they ended up on opposite sides of a church spilt, and it wasn’t pretty. The aftermath lasted years. (my parents never separated, just to be clear) Growing up and watching this, I saw what happens when you are not united as a couple.
Here is the rub: Do you trust God? He knows that these issues will come up, you know, and He still gives us the command to submit to our husband. Do you trust His way to be perfect?
My advice in this situation is to shut up and drop it. I know, that’s not what you want to hear, in fact, I dare say I lost some of you at this point. Maybe you can see clearly, maybe you are in the right and your husband/whomever-else-involved is in the wrong. What will happen if you continue to support your husband and your church? What will happen if you don’t?
Think this through carefully. Ask God to give you wisdom. Forgive those who wronged you, so that God’s love can flow through you. As in any situation, sometimes you try your best, and the other party refuses to acknowledge their wrong, refuses to mend fences. That’s ok. That is between them and God. God tells us that “Love covers a multitude of sins” and if there was ever a place where love needs to flow, it is the church!
I believe there are a few exceptions. Sexual affairs, physical or sexual abuse, or things of that sort. If it is clearly there and you know it, yes – it needs addressing and if your husband is so weak he won’t support you, find help. Somewhere.
But I dare say most of church problems are more common ‘self’ type of things. Cliques, power struggles, pride in their reputation, selfishness, unkindnesses, ‘politics’ in church, church structure, etc.
In the second group there is often (probably always!) sin, but it is the stuff you can live with. Yes, you should definitely discuss these issues with your husband. You should respectfully let him know what you feel is wrong, and ask him how he sees the issue. But if you want to leave church because your best friend did (and how could she possibly be wrong?) and your husband tells you that he wants to stay – then shut up and stay. (this has not happened to me, to be clear! Just thinking of possible scenarios 🙂 )
I believe with all my heart that if you have a sincere heart, fully respecting and honoring your husband, and fully trusting God – that He will work every thing out for your good.
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28
Church issues are sensitive because they are such a deep part of our core beliefs, and this kind of thing can be the hardest thing you have ever faced. But with God’s strength and grace – daily! – you can be an overcomer in this too! You don’t need to fall into discouragement or depression. You can trust Him and His Word, and be filled with His Spirit daily.
Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right. 1 Peter 4:19
No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. Corinthians 10:13
Be encouraged to walk with God in righteousness, and not get sidetracked by Satan’s wily schemes! He wants to distract us and destroy us, and he will use any means necessary. You have the power of Heaven at your back – cry out to God for wisdom! Walk in humility and wisdom. Trust your God and respect your husband and it will go well with you.
Today’s challenge: Do some soul-searching, and some praying for your church. If you love your church and have no problems with it, then ask God to show you how you can best serve the other members. Ask how YOU can be a blessing, instead of always waiting for someone to bless you.
Read the rest of the series HERE.