“You never tell me you love me.”
“You’re the husband and father, why don’t you ever lead us in family devotions?”
“You don’t give me the respect I deserve.”
Has anyone said these things to you? Do you say these kinds of things to others? These statements may be true. He never tells her he loves her. He doesn’t lead the family in spiritual things. The leaders don’t appreciate the hard working person in their service the way they ought. But does telling those in positions of authority help the situation?
One night when they were looking at some stars down by the lake Joan told her husband that he didn’t tell her he loved her anymore. Paul may have dropped off in his telling Joan that he loved her, but her comment virtually guaranteed that he wasn’t going to be telling her any time soon. Let’s see why: If he immediately said, “you’re right. I love you” they would both know he was only saying it because she told him to. He may have wanted to say it but her telling him to sucks all the “love” out of it. So he says nothing at all. The point is that Paul has been trapped. If he says, “I love you” in submission to his wife’s suggestion, he will be less of a man, because he is letting his wife tell him what to feel, say, and do. But if he waits, she might think he doesn’t love her. He is trapped.
Or what kind of man lets his wife tell him to lead? How is he leading, if he does it because his wife tells him to? He isn’t. If a wife tells her husband to lead, she is not submitting to him. She can’t have it both ways. If a wife tells her husband to lead, he cannot lead. He is trapped.
It is the same thing when a young man requires that others honor and respect him. How can he know if they are respecting him because he is demanding it or if it is because he is truly worthy of respect? He can’t! And if he’s gotten the respect by some less than respectful means (gossip, lying, going public, etc.), he will know in his bones that he does not deserve it. When a young man goes public with the fact that his leaders aren’t respecting him the way he thinks he deserves, he traps those leaders in a situation where they cannot do anything that will look like respect for him. If they give in, they will be lying. The really sad thing is that the young man might have deserved some kind of recognition for something, in the past. But his demand destroys any respect they might otherwise have had for him. He has trapped them.