Dirty Little S – Word

By Cindy Koch

There is something about this simple word that makes my skin crawl. Even today, when I hear myself say it, I shake off a little shiver of disgust. The syllables bludgeon the ears and even the tongue from which it speaks. Most of us edited this word out of polite conversation long ago. But it still sweeps across my lips, leaving that bitter flavor behind.

I would gladly refrain from using this naughty little word, but it is not easily forgotten. I have even tried to use other gentler words for a substitute, but you know what I’m really saying. The biggest problem with this disturbing word, however, is that our God likes to use it.

He uses it when he calls his faithful people; He uses it when he talks about his church. He speaks it regarding his own son; He speaks it directly to you and me. He uses this terrible little word over and over again whenever he addresses His beloved, be it Israel, Jesus, the church, or His very own creation.

Submit.

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Immediately I picture myself as a dog, choked by a collar and restrained by a chain. The angry man blocks out the sunlight and puffs his chest, tightening his grip on my leash. He booms that s- word only inches from my face with sour breath and spit. He wields all the power; he has me trapped. I submit.

This is why I hate that dirty little word. It delivers such a shameful punch in the gut. It is filled with injustice and anger; it is used to control and kill. It seeks to bind me to a life of slavery, one I cannot escape. I wish I would never again hear that word – submit.

But our hearts ponder it more than we choose. Our God brings it up more than we would like to admit. Our Christ takes this little word and makes it His own. Jesus sits quietly at the end of the chain, drinks in the abuse, and submits to death. There is no escaping this dirty little word because Jesus bled out to submit for you.

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After Jesus had finished with this word, it meant something else. The terrifying man disappeared. The collar has been broken. The yelling and demanding and control-hungry words have been silenced. Suddenly, I am free. That word doesn’t scare me anymore.

Submit.

God uses it when he calls his faithful people; He uses it when he talks about his church. He speaks regarding his own son; He speaks it directly to you and me. He uses this wonderful little word over and over again whenever he addresses His beloved, be it Israel, Jesus, the church, or His very own creations.

Thanks be to God that I am free to submit.

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4 thoughts on “Dirty Little S – Word

  1. A Christian man is the most free lord of all, and subject to none; a Christian man is the most dutiful servant of all, and subject to every one.

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  2. Actually “Submit” is the punchline for Islam. Islam was spread by the sword, and still is today. In some periods of world history, sometimes our Christian Faith was spread by the sword as well. God’s word does include love, obedience and grace, and the focus of grace brings redemption through the sacrifice of Jesus at Calvary.

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    1. The term “Islam” means submission/ surrender. It defines the entire relationship of the muslim to their god. It’s one of the difficulties in reading the Qur’an and “hearing” Allah’s tone from outside Islam. It feels more like a fearful necessity than a response to love.

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  3. I’ve always liked Bonhoeffer:

    “Only those who believe obey” is what we say to that part of a believer’s soul which obeys, and “only those who obey believe” is what we say to that part of the soul of the obedient which believes. If the first half of the proposition stands alone, the believer is exposed to the danger of cheap grace, which is another word for damnation. If the second half stands alone, the believer is exposed to the danger of salvation through works, which is also another word for damnation.”

    We receive faith and submit to God’s will. the submission is part of receiving.

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