Responsibility vs. Right

Questions. Within questions I often lose myself finding I enjoy questions.  My scientific education tells me to methodically search for an answer.  Solve the problem.  Measure the result.  Define with complicated equations and numbers.  The only question unanswered is one too complicated for a time, or one too quickly abandoned.  My philosophical side asks, “What is wrong with an unanswered question?”  Not an answer, just another, better, more thought-provoking question.  Questions.  I love questions.  I have been working through two questions lately.  I’ll cover the first here, and the second later…

In our Sunday School class, we are discussing the principle of marriage found in Ephesians 5, namely, husband love your wife, and see that the wife respects her husband.  Love & Respect.  A man thrives on respect; a woman love.  Different, not inherently wrong.  Our culture in America today is overdosed on love.  It’s everywhere.  Hallmark “I love you” cards.  Songs, “All you need is love” (Beatles).  Movies, like The Princess Bride, where you have true love.  We have made ourselves into a culture of love.  Not my problem this week.

The first question was “What is the difference between right and responsibility?”  A man thrives on respect.  From the respect given to him, he carries responsibility.  At the workplace his responsibility is to perform well, deliver results, grow the company, etc.  In the home it is to provide financially, lead spiritually, invest in his wife and in his children, etc.  A species of this responsibility is patriotic in nature, almost matyr-like.  A man has such a strong sense of responsibility, associated with his respect which is deep within his God-designed nature, that he will die for his loved ones, for his beliefs, for his country, for his God.  It is a responsibility…not his right.  I feel that our culture can view this sense (and related species) of this responsibility as a right.  Voting–it is a men’s right and it should be a woman’s right.  Agreed.  It’s a men’s right to pastor, it should be a woman’s right too. Not agreed.  A man protecting his wife by standing in the line of gunshot, so that his wife can live–responsibility, not a right.  The man doesn’t stop to ask his wife, “Honey, what do you think here?  Since we split leadership of our family, decisions, and marriage 50/50, who should be killed here and who should live?  Who’s right is it?”  Hogwash.  It is my firm belief that the man will, and is culturally expected to, take the bullet.

But men have abused their sense of responsibility for centuries I acknowledge that…no wonder our society is backlashing today.  The question I have chewed on this week is, “Where is that line of responsibility?”  What is my role, specifically within my covenantal marriage with Julia, and how is it best, biblically balanced, with respect to the strengths we individual bring into the marriage?  I don’t know.  But God is increasingly faithful to illuminate different facets that shine and sparkle and make me feel less dumb.


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