Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.–Luke 7:47
There are those that would diminish a woman’s capacity for great love. In fact, there are those that will say it is beyond a woman’s nature to love unconditionally, that a woman loves her husband for what he can provide her. What these people are missing is that a woman desires her husband to provide for her because that is a promise from God. Out of the Law of Moses, a man is to provide for his wife. So is the Law incorrect because man’s philosophy/psychology says that woman is wrong to want a man’s resources? God forbid; let God be true and every man a liar. Is a man excused from this because of Christ? How much more should a husband who is portraying Christ and his sacrificial love to his wife provide for her out of his worldly goods? Christian women are not looking for wealth; if they are, their focus is wrong. What they are looking for is the support of their husbands.
With that said, let’s transfer that picture to Jesus. Does a woman love God for what He can provide her alone? Or is she capable of loving the Lord her God with all her heart and mind and soul? Let’s take a look at the New Testament text to see what it says.
First, we know that the first and greatest commandment is to love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12:30). This commandment is to all Christians, both men and women. The Greek word used for love in this verse is agapao, that is agape love. So we know that not only can a woman love God in this manner, but she is commanded to, even though he is her Lord and master, and superior to her in all things. So, we can see that the superior/subordinate construct has no effect on the capacity for agape love. We do know that as Christians, we all love God because He first loved us, but we also can see that we are expected to return that love from our inner being.
Second, we know that a woman is specifically said to have loved Jesus much. In Luke 7:47, the woman in Simon’s house who came to wash Jesus’ feet with her hair, is forgiven of her sins and Jesus says, her sins which are many, are forgiven her for she loved much. Again, the word used for love is agapao. The woman loves him much as her Lord.
In Ephesians, chapter 5, husbands are commanded to love their wives as Christ loved the Church and gave himself for it. The word is agapao. Because this passage does not likewise command women to love their husbands, many assume a woman cannot or should not show agape love to their spouse. I would like to submit, that if the husband is portraying Christ, and that if a woman can and should show Christ agape love, there is nothing to say a woman cannot show agape love toward her husband. She is commanded to love God with agape love, shown to love Christ with agape love.
In the Song of Solomon in the Septuagint ( a Greek translation of the Hebrew), the Jewish scholars used the word egapesen in the phrase “him whom my soul loveth”. This is the same word found in many verses in the New Testament reflecting Christ’s love for us. The Jewish scholars of the Septuagint felt then that a woman did have the capacity for agape love for her husband. Although their use of agape for ahav is controversial, they certainly did not feel that agape was outside the emotional capacity of a woman’s nature. This is the same form of agapao that is used in Luke 7:47.
Having already shown that a woman is capable of agape love, I put forward my opinion that in the act of submission there is a component of agape love. Just as we love our Lord and surrender ourselves completely to Him, putting our trust in Him, a woman, through the act of submission is showing her husband her love for him. We are definitely called to submission through obedience, but love and trust are important. It reminds me of the passage in Exodus 21:5 where the servant says “I love my master” and chooses to stay as a servant rather than go free. Now, I say this by opinion, not as fact. This is definitely a choice a woman makes when she marries a man, knowing that she is called to submit to and obey him.
Those who feel a woman incapable of loving her husband as he is are following after erroneous pseudo-science and philosophies, the vain deceits of men.
Pamela Parizo © 2017