Monday, June 1, 2009

The Woman's Role

As a Christian, I have often faced disdain even from other Christians about my own beliefs about a woman's role in the church. I have been called anti-feminist. I have had words put into my mouth stating that I did not believe that women should hold jobs such as doctors or lawyers, because I felt that women should not be the head of a church. (That is untrue...I think women can be excellent doctors and lawyers if they so choose)

I have often struggled with the concept of submission as stated in the Bible. Wives, submit to your own husbands as to the Lord. Ephesians 5:22 (ESV). It is difficult as an independent and intelligent women to reconcile myself to the idea of submission to anyone. The world would have us to believe that submission is slavery. The words are not synonyms. defines submission with the term to submit. It defines submit with the following words to allow, to yield, to defer. Slavery is defined as bondage, being owned. Submission is a willing choice; slavery is not.

Although are human nature is to struggle against the position of leadership that God has placed the male in, He is asking me to choose to yield and defer to my husband just as Jesus choose to yield and defer to the Father's will. 

Now I have been doing a study of Genesis as part of my daily time with the Lord. I want to work my way through the whole Bible not just reading each verse, but taking the time to read, pull part, put back together, and understand the truths that the Father has reveled to us in His holy words. My study today was about the Fall of mankind, but I went back to read the previous chapter about the creation of man and woman God reached out and revealed some things to me. Please keep in mind that God's words are His and these revelations are what I feel he has revealed to me about those words. You will have to ask Him to reveal their validity and truth or lack there of.  Do not simply accept anything I say, but allow Him to discern it.

With all that said, lets look at the verses in question so that you know where I am coming from.

Then, the Lord God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him. " Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the fields. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said,  "This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man." Genesis 2:18-23 (ESV)
While I read this, I am using a commentary by John Phillips, Exploring Genesis:An Expository Commentary. He makes a references to a statement by Matthew Henry, "...the woman was taken from Adam's side- not from his head to rule over him, not from his feet to be trampled on, but from his side to be equal with him, from under his arm to be protected, from close to his heart to be loved." (Phillips p.53)

Yet beyond all of this I see that in Eve's creation, the role of a woman is far greater than Satan would have us believe. Instead of a lesser being or a weaker being, we are made equal though different. Satan's lie sometimes is that because we are made from man we are weaker. NOT TRUE! 

Look at from what Eve is made: Adam's rib. 

What is the function of a rib? From what I can tell having ribs myself, they protect two of the most vital organs the heart and the lungs. Without these organs, human life is unsustainable. Futhermore, the ribs support the frame of the upper body. (Keep in mind I am not a medical expert and these are only my personal observations.)

So if we view ourselves from that which we are made our role as helper is incredibly more valuable that we give credit. We are to protect and support.

  • Protection
The ribs are protecting the most vital organs, so to women must protect the hearts of men. People may say that men are less emotional than women, but I would argue from my own experiences that men love deeply and intensely. They are sometimes more emotionally fragile than women. We have to guard those hearts when they are made vulnerable to us. 

I lay as evidence on the table my brother's experience. My brother dated a young woman and had asked her to marry him. My brother is a fairly typical male specimen. Slow to open his heart to others, but when he does he gives his all. This young woman cheated on him and broke off their engagement when she learned she was pregnant with this other man's child. My poor brother was emotional devastated. He thoughts turned dark and suicidal. Fortunately with time his wounds healed. The young woman failed in her role as protector.

Additionally, look at all the men in this world who are deeply broken by a mother's failure to guard and protect their hearts.  Proverbs details the qualities of an excellent woman.

The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. Proverbs 31: 11-12 (ESV)
I recently read a book that details how men think. I was amazed at how deep their need for intimacy and love ran. Equally, I was shocked at how easy it was to leave lasting wounds on their hearts. Gird yourselves for battle women, you must be prepared to guard the hearts of your husbands and sons from your actions and the actions of others. What a powerful role you have as a woman!
  • Support
Bones are an integral part of the bodies structure. Without your bones you would be a blob, unable to move. They are the foundation upon which the complex human body is made and will endure long after the rest of you is gone. As you are made from this foundation that supports the body, so also you are made to support others. This is not a role for the timid or weak. The Holy Spirit is often portrayed as a helper. You also have this role. It is many faceted role requiring you to wear any number of hats- comforter, provider, counselor to name a few.

As wives, mothers, sisters, daughters, we are called upon to do many things to support those around us. Much like an army would most certainly fail without its support personnel so too would our loved ones without our support. Returning to Proverbs 31 we see a woman supporting her family far beyond the traditional roles we have been told a woman holds. Not only is the woman the cook, keeper of the house (vs. 15), a wife, and a mother (vs. 28), she is a real estate investor, an entrepreneur, a merchant, a weaver, a philanthropist, a teacher, and a counselor just to name a few.  She supported her household so well the Bible says she was "...not afraid of snow for household..." (vs. 21) and that "...she laughs at the times to come." (vs. 25).  When you are fulfilling your role as a woman, you have security for the future.

WOW!!! God made a woman to be so much more that just a slave, but he did not make us to struggle against men for power and authority. He made us equals with tasks we are perfectly suited for that require as much strength and ability as any role that he made for a man.  I certainly feel empowered by that and I hope you do too.

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