Last Thursday was International Women’s day . My Facebook feed was therefore inundated with posts by women proclaiming independence, an ability to do everything better than men, and defiance towards getting in the kitchen and making him a sandwich. This prompted me to write about our roles in relationships as defined by Biblical standards.
There’s this misconception that God is sexist. However, in terms of salvation, (probably the most important message of the Bible), God says this:
There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Gal 3:28).
Clearly, God views man and woman as equals but He does define specific roles for each gender. This is not sexism, this is just perfect management!
Let’s start at the beginning. Gen 1:27 describes the creation of mankind, both male and female. In Gen 2:21 God took Adam’s ribs to create the woman Eve. This is quite symbolic. The ribs or the side of man’s body corroborates the equality of the genders in God’s eyes. He did not take part of man’s head or foot, so ladies should not laud over nor be subservient to their men. However, God did make females with a purpose:
The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” (Gen 2:18)
Ladies your role is to keep your man company, be his friend, confidante and helper. Unfortunately for us, Eve botched her job big time. We all know the story: Eve was deceived by the serpent in the garden, ate the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, shared it with Adam and pretty much got them evicted from Paradise.
When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. (Gen 3:6)
Adam should have said “No!” He knew the rules, but he trusted Eve because he expected her to look out for him as his friend and helper. Adam was given a huge choice of free-growing food, but he ate from the forbidden tree, and Eve showed poor decision making and by extension leadership skills. God therefore judged mankind fairly: man suffered via having to work to grow his food for all the days of his life (Gen 3:17-19), while woman was destined to be ruled by her man (Gen 3:16). Yes, fellars, you are ordained to rule the ladies. Luckily, Christ has given us the best example of a good ruler:
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her (Eph 5:25)
That’s a huge role guys. To love your lady means you must be patient with her, treat her kindly, protect her and display only good will towards her. God wants you to rule your lady with her best interests in mind. No manipulation, no games and especially no abuse.
Ladies, God did not leave you out:
Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. (Eph 5:22)
Ladies, your God-fearing man is willing to sacrifice himself for you. If he has your back, the least you could do is submit to him and respect him. Don’t make his job harder by being quarrelsome, disrespectful or unsupportive. You are his helper – encourage him to seek God and allow him to fulfill his responsibility of leading you as the priest of the home.
But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. (1 Cor 11:3).
Once the couple strives to follow this model of accountability, a harmonious and enjoyable relationship is inevitable.
But what if these roles are not being fulfilled? Let’s start with a man in the wrong. A man who is not following God, who is encouraging you to do unholy things, and who shows no interest in Christ as the head of his life has forfeited his right to be your ruler. In this situation pray for your man. Ask God to move him to His will and make suggestions to him respectfully to reflect on his actions. In this case, the lady may have to lead (with Christ as her head) in the man’s stead. An example of this is Deborah, a judge/leader of Israel (Judges 4). Deborah told Barak, the commander of the armies of Naphtali and Zebulun, to march out and meet the enemy and God would guarantee the victory. The commander did not trust God and begged her to go with him. If Barak was an example of the kind of doubtful men that were around at that time, it is no wonder God favoured Deborah to be the leader in Israel despite being a woman!
Now for the “independent ladies”. God did not command your man to be your oppressor. If your man is obeying God’s will you don’t need to get on your I’m-a-strong-woman-I-don’t-need-you pedestal. He is your guardian and is responsible for you. Nothing is wrong with being a strong woman, but remember the same way your man submits to Christ is how you should submit to him – willingly. Don’t be like Lot’s wife, looking longingly at the world, while your man is leading you to the safety and good things of God. A pillar of salt is not a good look for you!
So Guys and Girls, know your role: the guardian and the ruler, the helper and the friend. God has ordained it, so let it work in your life!
P.S. It’s okay to grab him a sandwich now and again 🙂