We’ve all rolled our eyes at that passage from Ephesians about wives being subject to their husbands. We live in an age where women don’t have to depend on a man to get what they need and we can dress however we want to. So why on Earth is Peter asking wives to accept the authority of their husbands and to not adorn themselves by dressing nicely?
Take a step back and take a deep breath, ladies. It’s all a matter of context.
This passage asks women to lead by example. While we are free to dress how we want to, the evidence of our holy lives is better shown by how we act as people. True beauty, after all, is found within. Don’t worry so much about having the latest hairstyle, the trendiest accessories, or a closet filled with designer clothes. Men are definitely visual creatures, but if you ask your significant other (or a beloved family member) what they find most beautiful about you, they’re more than likely to (hopefully) say something about the way that you smile or something related to your personality.
The second part of today’s passage also feels a bit counter-productive. “Do not repay evil for evil or abuse for abuse, but on the contrary, repay with a blessing.” (1 Peter 3:9) It’s a bit reminiscent of Jesus asking us to turn the other cheek. But what exactly does that mean? It doesn’t mean that we act like doormats or run away from the evil that we encounter. Instead, we lead by example.
Mother Teresa of Calcutta didn’t have it easy, living in a country many different religions are seen in conflict with each other and especially against Christianity. I recently watched a wonderful biopic about Mother Teresa that showed her leading by example by keeping calm in the face of adversity.
A large group of locals were protesting against Mother Teresa and her sisters moving into their village and creating a hospice for the severely sick and dying, thinking that they were buying souls for God. Things got particularly scary when they started throwing rocks against the hospice. However, the ringleader of the group went inside the hospice and saw Mother Teresa tending to the wounds of a Hindu temple priest without even speaking to him. The ringleader stopped the group from attacking the hospice, saying that Mother Teresa was a daughter of their Goddess of Mercy.
By choosing to lead by example, Mother Teresa was able to take care of the poorest of the poor. She still faced adversity, but she repaid those problems by blessing her enemies. The example of Mother Teresa’s life inspired hundreds of women to join her in the Missionaries of Charity. To this day, whenever I see a woman dressed in the famous white and blue habits, I feel like I just saw a famous celebrity because the women in the habits are carrying on Mother Teresa’s legacy.
Today’s featured song comes once again from Danielle Rose called “The Joy of the Lord.” It’s an upbeat song that reminds us that when we lead by example, we should do so with joy in our hearts.
Blessed Mother Teresa, pray for your fellow sisters in Christ!