As the inimitable James Brown sang during his life and career, “This is a man's world, this is a man's world; But it wouldn't be nothing, nothing without a woman or a girl.” This world would be very bleak without the feminine touch.  But all too often, this world has been male-centric, not allowing for the full development of women, not allowing them to pursue their dreams, or not even allowing them the freedom and rights of a man.  Thankfully, that has changed in the modern world, for the most part, leading to a more fulfilling life for women and benefitting the world from the many achievements of women .  This is largely due to the influence of Christianity.    In modern, Judeo-Christian-influenced societies, women are treated with much more respect, although even there, the record is not perfect due to mankind’s propensity to sin and to do things his or her own way.  But scripture is clear on the equality of women and men in God’s eyes:  “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28).  Moreover, the very example of our Savior, during His ministry on earth, showed that women were to be respected and given equal status.  Although Israeli culture in those days did not treat women as equals, much like modern countries under Sharia law, Jesus broke that man-made tradition, always making a place for women in his teaching and ministry.  Considering the traditions of the time, this was a dramatically different way.  But ever since those days, Christian tradition has always made a place for women at the table, so that they can learn and serve equally with the men in God’s house.

I want to stress here, though, that equality does not mean sameness.  While women can do anything that men can do intellectually and creatively, there are still biological differences that will keep women from doing absolutely everything that men can do, and vice versa.  Although there is always an exception, a few women in the population that have a little extra strength, speed, and agility such that they can compete with men in men’s sports, this is still a rarity without resorting to chemical methods such as steroids.  God has made men and women inherently different, not so that one could be better than the other, but so that each could bring something to the table that the other does not have.  God intended men and women to be complements, like two pieces of a jig-saw puzzle that fit together perfectly, creating a picture that is much greater than the simple sum of the two parts.  This world needs the unique perspective and touch of a woman, just as it needs the unique perspective and touch of a man.  We all have our roles to fulfill in society, in the workplace, and in the home, each one just as important and critical as another, because in the greater scheme of things, there is an intricate web of causation, so the absence of one of us has an impact in the overall chemistry.

And women most definitely have a critical and respected role in our society.  This is as it should be.  In the biblical story of creation, Eve (woman) was formed from the rib of a man (Adam) (Genesis 2).  The Matthew Henry commentary notes:  “That the woman was made of a rib out of the side of Adam; not made out of his head to rule over him, nor out of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be beloved.”  In marriage, the husband is supposed to be the leader and protector.  The Bible says, “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God” (1 Cor. 11:3).  But the relationship should be one of equals, a partnership.  When the man leads, he does not do so as a dictator, but rather as a benevolent, humble servant-leader, always cognizant of his tremendous responsibilities to his wife and children, and constantly consulting with his wife on all important matters so that they work as a team.  The Bible admonishes, “So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.  For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church” (Eph. 5:28-29).  So women are to be treated with honor and respect. 

In marriage, the woman is to be a “help meet” to the husband (Gen. 2:18).  She should be his closest friend, his advisor in all things, and his cheerleader.  But this should not be a one-way street.  The man should endeavor to be a help meet to his wife, as well, treating her with great honor and respect, and supporting and encouraging her in all her endeavors.  To some, this may sound too idyllic, but if we yield to doing things God’s way and spend time with God in prayer and meditation on His word, He will provide the strength and the wisdom we need to do things right. I should point out here that not all women are married, nor do all women want to be married.  The Bible tells us that some have a gift for remaining single (1 Cor. 7:7-8).  Most of us feel the need to have a partner at some point in our lives, so we end up getting married.  But there are those that don’t feel this need so urgently.  They are content in singularity.  And there is nothing wrong with that.  Thankfully, in the modern world, women can now establish an identity apart from marriage in education, careers, and service, etc.  They are not forced to get married in order to find fulfillment.  But as with all things, whether we are married or single, we should seek our ultimate fulfillment in our God.  We have a gaping hole in our hearts and souls that cries out for filling.  Only God can fill that hole.  We can try to fill it with something else, but we will never be completely satisfied until we turn to God to fill our emptiness.

I pray that you will all find your fulfillment in our boundlessly and tirelessly loving God.

 


Comments

02/13/2014 10:17pm

The article you have shared with me is so marvelous. Thank you so much for sharing this.

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08/18/2014 5:56am

I am very happy to read this article.

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    I'm a retired soldier, having spent 23 years of my life serving our country, actually 30 years when you count the reserve and National Guard time as well.  I believe in servant leaders, following the example of our Lord, and I believe in giving back to the troops once one has attained a certain status or level of success in life.  But I also believe in fighting back against corruption and incompetence wherever you find it if it hurts people.  Our national values were worth dying for.  They are also worth living for.  A man or woman can actually live a life by these principles of humility, service, love, duty, and honor, and have a significant impact on the world around them...if you have the dedication to see it through. 

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