Previously: three r’s of delegated authority
Family authority, part one
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Genesis 2:24
When a man leaves the authority of his parents, establishes his own household, and marries a wife, he receives delegated authority from the Lord over his family: his wife first, and then his children when they are born. “Cleaving” means “clinging to, following closely, joined to” in Hebrew. The same word is used to charge us to cling to the Lord our God and to serve Him only.
A man will be hindered in establishing the authority of his own household if:
1) He has not left his father or mother. He is to leave the sphere of their authority so that he his own can be established. This does not mean he rejects everything they taught him. It means he becomes his own man and makes his own decisions. If he has not left his father and mother, it can manifest itself in different ways:
He listens to his parents’ voice over the voice of the Lord or his wife, where his loyalty must now lie;
He is motivated by fear of his parents rather than by fear of the Lord;
He tries to please his parents above pleasing the Lord or his wife;
He allows his parents to exercise usurped authority over his wife or children.
2) He has not cleaved to his wife. A husband exercises authority over his wife to serve and benefit her. Her submission is more freely given when she knows she he is committed to her well being above his own or others. If he has not cleaved to his wife, it can manifest itself in different ways:
His loyalty is not to his wife alone, in his heart, his mind, or his body (i.e. fantasies, [p-rn]ography, affairs);
He elevates loyalty to his children or other family members above that owed to his wife;
He elevates loyalty to work, friends, hobbies, or other interests above that owed to his wife;
He places his own needs or desires above his wife’s needs or desires.
The man is not to be loyal, or listen to, the voice of his wife above the voice of the Lord (Gen 3:17 and Deu 13:6-8); and he is only permitted to break his loyalty to the wife of his youth when 1) she has been unfaithful to him, or 2) she is unbelieving and initiates the divorce.
If a man’s authority is not respected in his home, that man ought to first seek the Lord to see if he has sinned against his own authority by not leaving, or not cleaving. To restore biblical authority when the man has lost it by sinning against his own authority, he must repent before the Lord, confess his sin to his wife or children; and sin no more.
About confession, due to the nature of the sins involved in not cleaving, please seek the counsel of a wise pastor before making confession to a wife or children. If this applied to me, if I knew of the sin, then I would want my husband’s confession to restore my heart to his; but if I was ignorant of the sin, I would prefer his confession be to the Lord and to his pastor, and my heart remain unburdened with the knowledge of his disloyalty.
Sometimes a simple, “Honey, I haven’t treated you with the devotion you deserve; I have let other things crowd in above the primary place you have in my heart, and I am sorry; and I am turning that around from now on. Please let me know if I ever make you feel unimportant to me again,” is all that is required.