Why Samurai?

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Many people wonder why I chose “The Samurai Husband” for the title of this blog for Biblical marriage advice, so I decided to give the explanation in this post:

The word Samurai means “to serve”.  The Samurais adhered to Bushido, a uniquely Japanese code of conduct the literally means “the way of the warrior”.  Bushido emphasized loyalty, honesty, obedience, and self-sacrifice among other virtuous qualities.  These were a few of the tenets of Bushido that all Samurai abided by that were kept with the utmost discipline.  One such tenet was honor, a highly esteemed tenet of Bushido.  Honor was so highly recognized that if a Samurai were to in some way lose his honor, the only way it could be regained was by committing seppuku, or the ritualized killing of oneself.  For example, if a Samurai was faced with losing a battle, seppuku was the honorary custom to avoid falling into enemy hands and to avoid the shame of defeat.  It was done by taking one’s tanto, or short sword, and stabbing oneself in the stomach and moving the blade left to right and letting death overcome you silently.  While this act may seem appalling to the Western way of thinking, seppuku was an honored tradition with the warrior class of the Samurai.  This was one of the most respectful things a Samurai could do to maintain their honor.

Husbands, we have an even greater call and code than Bushido that we are called to follow. While the Bible never says to literally go kill yourself, the Bible does literally say to go kill yourself.  Confused yet?  Followers of Jesus don’t literally plunge a blade into their stomach, but Paul calls us to be crucified with Christ so that we no longer live but Christ lives in us [1].  And Paul is merely echoing the call of Jesus to deny ourselves, pick up our cross, and follow Him daily, [2] putting to death our selfish and worldly wants and desires and allowing Jesus to be our great desire.  In the same way that the Samurai honor their way of life by committing seppuku, followers of Jesus honor and glorify Jesus when they lay down their lives for Him.  All throughout the New Testament we see this call to lay down our life.  All throughout the New Testament, we are called to die to ourselves, to give up our rights and control, and to consider others better than ourselves.  It is not Bushido that Jesus’ followers adhere to, but it’s an even higher calling and one of the more important calls as a Christian; to give up control and relinquish one’s life to Jesus.

This truth becomes very clear as Paul begins talking to husbands in Ephesians 5:25 and calls husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.  Now I hear a lot of people quote this verse, but most of the time it is a partial recitation.  Most of the time you hear “Husbands love your wife as Christ loved the church”, and this is good, but it isn’t Paul’s complete thought.  The critical six words in this sentence are “and gave Himself up for her.”  The reason it gets left out a lot of times is because it doesn’t allow for much wiggle room as a husband.  The reason it is so important not to leave out, however, is because it doesn’t allow a lot of wiggle room for a husband.

Ephesians 5:25 calls husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.  As Christ GAVE HIMSELF UP FOR HER.

What a high call to be a husband.  As He gladly gave Himself up for the church, so you are called to gladly give yourself up for your wife.  This is our act of worship and obedience as husbands. This is our daily seppuku, to act of dying to yourself for the sake of Jesus and love your wife with the love that He has for her.

The thing about Ephesians 5:25 is that it doesn’t give us husbands an out clause.  If you’re dead, you’re dead.  Jesus didn’t partially die on the cross.  He was completely dead.  No pulse.  No breathing.  Nothing.  Only after Christ totally gave Himself up in complete and utter submission did God breathe the resurrection life into His body.

This blog is the call and cry for husbands (and wives alike) to give themselves to the sake of giving glory to God by loving their spouse in the radical love the Bible calls us to exhibit.  I am praying this blog helps you along that journey!


[1] Galatians 2:20

[2] Luke 9:23

2 thoughts on “Why Samurai?

  1. This is a good piece. If you mean this as part of your Samurai comparison, it would be nice to see more about husbands and serving. For some of us, this is news that needs to be a taught and shared more often.

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