Community thrives best amidst mutual trust and respect. The moment any of us use position or title to gain superiority, we will also see the decay in community. As a husband, I must not use my title to demand respect or insist that my family submit to my every command. I must learn to lead through love and genuine affection.
Esther is a provocative book in the Bible for many reasons, not least of which because an entire kingdom of 127 provinces creates judicial edicts to enforce every family to respect the husband/father, all because the King was humiliated by his own pride and stupidity.
“On the seventh day of the feast, when King Xerxes was in high spirits because of the wine, he told the seven eunuchs who attended him to bring Queen Vashti to him with the royal crown on her head. He wanted the nobles and all the other men to gaze on her beauty, for she was a very beautiful woman. But when they conveyed the king’s order to Queen Vashti, she refused to come. This made the king furious, and he burned with anger.”
- Esther 1:10-12
This culture had an issue with gender equality but this one incident caused a law to be passed that men could treat their women however they wanted. Somehow, men already felt inferior enough to demand honour and respect. Some of the hardest lessons for me to learn have been responding the right way when I know I have done something the wrong way. Those moments when I have spoken harshly with my wife or children. Sure, it was out of frustration, but never warranted. I have found the quickest way to gain respect back in my home is to actually admit I was wrong and simply say “I am sorry”. Hearing my kids say, “that’s ok Dad, we love you” changes everything and I learn things I never would have learned if I pretended I was right.
Healthy community is not all about being right but about making it right.