The word ‘submission’ is largely found in the context of family and relationships. Parents expect their children to submit to them. Bosses expect their subordinates to submit to them. It is interesting that somewhere in our human nature, we want people to submit to us but we find it difficult to submit. Over the years, I have observed with keen interest how the concept of submission has been grossly misunderstood.
For the purpose of this write-up, let’s seek to understand this concept by what the concept is not.
- Submission is NOT agreement- many people unconsciously think that they are submissive because they agree with someone’s opinion or reasoning on a subject matter. That’s a myth. The reality is that to submit, you have to have a differing opinion you are willingly laying aside because of the other person’s superiority or authority over you. For instance, husbands and wives are admonished to submit to each other because they will most times have differing opinions about subject matter. However, the bible goes a step further that if a deadlock situation arises, the wife should submit to her husband. Unfortunately, many husbands have used this portion of the bible to relegate the ability of their wives to contribute in decision making. The fact that your wife has a differing opinion and she willingly submits to yours based on scriptural injunction does not mean she is weak. Neither does it suggest that you are right. It is also unfortunate that many men cannot handle people with differing opinions especially their wives. The strength of a leader is determined largely by his ability to handle people with differing opinions on his team. The holders of such differing opinions are many times loyal and they help to provide checks and balances in leadership. They are the people who are really submissive as long as they keep on subjecting themselves to the other person’s opinion willingly.
- Submission is NOT instantaneous – anything that will last requires time to grow. As leaders, we are tempted to coerce people into submission and quickly define those who don’t in the immediate as rebels. Whereas, people buy into leadership at different rates and pace. Sometimes, the slow burning ones last longer. The longer a seed stays in the ground the higher the market value of the crop it produces. We must never think instantaneous reverence is submission. In a generation like ours where submission, especially to constituted higher authority, is becoming antiquated, we need to be more careful. While the mindset of differing opinion (which is a major ingredient in thinking outside the box) is being advocated, submission to God constituted authority is key. We must however get comfortable with those whose opinions differ from ours and not necessarily endeavor to expunge them out of our team. They might be instrumental in teaching us what submission really is. Husbands! Create an environment where your wife can comfortably disagree with you and put forward her own opinions and vice versa. Submission is not a sign of weakness neither is it of pride. Rather, it is a sign of balanced emotional strength.
What will you do today? Submit or quit?