Passive & Submissive

What’s the difference?

More specifically, what’s the difference for a Christian?

passive: receptive to outside impressions or influences; lacking in energy or will; induced by an outside agency.

submit: to yield to governance or authority; to yield oneself to the authority or will of another; to permit oneself to be subjected to something; to defer to or consent to abide by the opinion or authority of another.

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4 Responses to Passive & Submissive

  1. Steve Ward says:

    We have two callings to submit:

    Romans 12
    Living Sacrifices

    1Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual[a] act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

    Romans 13
    Submission to the Authorities

    1Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. 4For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. 6This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

    For the Christian, submission is a given. Passivity, however, is not. While Christ said to “turn the other cheek”, this was not passivity as we know it. During that time, is was considered an insult in that the person who more often was right handed. (Left handedness was considered as evil. The Italian word for left (hand) is were we get the word “sinister”, so no one wanted to be lefthanded. When you are struck on by someone with the right hand, it hits your left cheek- menaing that you are beneath him/her. You offer the other cheek (the right) so that he/she hits you on the right cheek- meaning that your are being struck as an equal.

    I was a bit rushed in my explanation, so if it doesn’t make much sense, that’s probably why.


    • semmie says:

      Excellent thoughts, Steve. And I absolutely agree with you–we are called to submit, but not necessarily to be passive. I hadn’t really thought much of it until a few nights ago. It was one of those “aha!” moments. 🙂

      Pax. And thank you for sharing.

  2. Ronald Millsaps says:

    Actually, we are not to be passive, and we’re not to be submissive, necessarily, either. We do not have to respect laws that have absolutely no place being in place, such as the legality of abortion, which is even worse than the legality of slavery.

    Are we to attack the abolitionists for their stance against the latter? Of course not! Let’s not be apologetic in our stance against the former— among many other things as well.

    • semmie says:

      Hi Ronald. Welcome. I don’t think I’ve seen you here before, and it’s a pleasure to have you. I’m Sarah. 🙂

      You make a very important and interesting point. Let’s dig a little deeper. You wrote:
      “We do not have to respect laws that have absolutely no place being in place”

      Respect them? No, we don’t have to respect or agree with them; but we do have to survive in a society that would give us such laws. And that means sometimes that if we are going to break such laws, we have to be willing to bear the consequences within our legal system. You talked about abortion–which is an excellent example. But I don’t see many Christians “submitting” to abortion just because it is legal. It should also be said that just because we believe abortion to be wrong (even though the law says a woman can choose for herself), that doesn’t make it moral for us to do physical/tangible harm or damage to any person, building, or other establishment. Certainly you would agree with me on this matter.

      The line between morality and legality often gets blurred in our world, doesn’t it?

      As to your point about slavery…
      Being submissive, and respecting the authority of the legal system does not mean that we agree with the morality or rightness of every law. And it certainly does not mean that we don’t make the effort to speak out and have such laws changed (or help those who suffer injustice because of such laws). It does mean, as I said before, that we are willing to bear the consequences of the legal system for the sake of our actions.

      I do believe Scripture teaches us to be submissive. And I also believe that we can be submissive without being pushovers. Submission is, I think, a choice. It doesn’t happen when someone else breaks our will, but when we break our own will…or allow our will to be broken by God. I think. I’m not really sure, but that’s what I think at present. I’m willing to be wrong. 🙂

      Anyway, Ronald…thank you so much for sharing. I appreciate your comments, and I think there are a lot of topics we could talk about (Bible smuggling, for instance). That might be great topic one day. I hope to see you again, and I hope you’ll continue to share your thoughts and convictions with us. The more dialogue we can generate…the better!

      God bless you, brother!

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