Difference Between Submission and Obedience

Submission vs Obedience

Difference between Submission and Obedience is important to know as we live in a society where obedience and submission to power and authority are not a novel phenomenon to us. We all go through it on a daily basis from different groups of people, social structures, and higher power. However, whether it is obedience or submission remains a doubt. Most of us consider these two as synonymous, simply complying with orders and instructions. However, there exists a difference between these two terms. While obedience is following orders or commands, submission is yielding to power or authority. When looking at the definitions, they look so much alike, but the difference between the two stem from the sentiment of the individual who follows the orders. This article attempts to emphasize this difference through an elaboration of the meanings of the two, obedience and submission.

What does Obedience mean?

When looking at the first word obedience, it is almost as if it does not need a definition. Students, children, employees, officers and many groups of people go through this. It is following orders and instructions. Simply it is doing what is told. This is an external reaction to a demand that has been made. When a person obeys a rule, it is not because the individual wills it but because the individual has little choice to do otherwise. Let us assume a worker who has been ordered to work for some extra hours during the festive season, the person would complete the work and obey the orders of his or her superiors. However, this act of obeying is not the genuine desire of the individual , but is a result to a situation where if the worker does not comply with the instructions he may risk his position.

Difference Between Submission and Obedience

“An obedient employee”

Let us take another example. A student who is punished by the teacher for misbehaving in the class is asked to remain standing throughout the period. This student obeys the teacher because he has to or else he has little choice of not obeying, which will most probably guarantee a more severe form of punishment. This highlights that obedience is a mere response to an order, command or instruction.

What does Submission mean?

Submission is when a person gives into authority or greater power. However, unlike in obedience this is willful and out of respect for the person in power or authority. Earlier, in obedience, there was no sentiment involved and the person merely follows orders but, in this case, the individual follows orders because he respects and is willingly to comply with instructions. Especially when we speak of God, we submit to God and not obey God. This is because there is love and respect for the greater power and authority. As an individual submits to authority or power, there exists a particular bond between the one who submits and the one in power. This brings to focus that submission comes from within unlike obedience. This is the main difference between the two words.

What is the difference between Submission and Obedience?

• Obedience is following orders, commands or instructions.

• Obedience does not guarantee a person’s willingness to comply with orders.

• It is a reaction to a command where the individual has little choice to reject or oppose the authority

• Submission is yielding to power or authority.

• In submission, a person has respect and love for those in power.

• Unlike in obedience where the individual succumbs to power merely as a reaction to power, in submission, the individual’s reaction is guided by genuine desire to follow instructions.