Women and their Roles

Women's rights, women's freedom, and women's roles in society is a huge topic in today's church. Different denominations and religions hold drastically different opinions. Historically, women's opinions, thoughts, and value as a whole person are not respected as highly as a mans. Religions throughout history and even today, promote the degradation of women, and society is more blatant than ever with it's trafficking of women, acceptance of pornography as the norm, and nonchalant attitude towards women as objects of entertainment.

I actually had a conversation somewhat related to this with my boyfriend the other day. He knows a married guy who on Pinterest had a "sexy women" board. I was horrified as any women in any relationship would (and should) be. My boyfriend made the observation that his friend is a nice guy, has a daughter who he loves, is a good husband etc. His wife must not be bothered by it. I would (and correct me if I'm wrong ladies) be of the opinion that EVERY woman is bothered by it deep down, but because society says it's "OK" and she loves her husband or boyfriend, she lets it slide. I'm sure different women have different struggles and may react more or less strongly to it, but I cannot fathom not flinching at all, knowing your significant other ogles another woman. I said "It's just disrespectful [to his wife]". Of course, my awesome boyfriend agreed, and we moved on with our conversation.

This is just one small example of how society normalizes disrespecting women. Think about the movies you watch, the magazines that are at the gas station. A man cannot walk out of the house without easy access to visual temptation. How does religion fit into this equation? Well, religious groups take many different approaches, but more common than naught, they go to the conservative extreme which also devalues women. By forcing a woman to cover herself from head to toe, to be "submissive" with the interpretation of being a doormat, and stripping her of her right to have opinions and make decisions, religion has also devalued women as much or more so, than non-religious society.

Christianity is the one Faith that stands out from others in that since the beginning of time it has promoted respecting women, loving them sacrificially, and holding them in high regard.

What about "submission"? "What about women's roles in the church?" you may ask. Well, Scripture is Truth, and it is also consistent right? Well, those passages( 1 Cor 14 and Eph 5 for example), don't seem to be consistent with the rest of scripture. That is because, in my opinion, they are often misinterpreted.

Let's begin with the concept of submission. (Eph 5) Religious wackos and let's face it, MEN - like to interpret this passage as: "I am the head of the house, I get to make all the decisions, and my wife needs to be modest, humble, submissive and while she may feel free to state her opinion, I have the final say". Somehow, they completely ignore the verses that tell the husband to love his wife more than himself and to give her respect.

So what do we do? We dig deeper. English was not the language the Bible was originally written in, and as we know well from the word "love" in the Bible, English cannot always encompass the full meaning the authors intended. One visual I found particularly helpful for me, is actually architectural in nature. "As a column submits to the roof of a house so a wife submits to her husband". Wait, a column SUPPORTS the roof. It is a integral, and very very important part of the structure as a whole. All of a sudden, wives everywhere would agree that this fits into their spousal role. A simple shift in our thinking shed a completely different light on this passage.

I would also like to point out, that if you have a husband who loves you as Christ loves the church, and who respects you as the Bible commands him to, then deferring to his leadership role in the household is a piece of cake. Discussions may be had, and decisions made as equal partners in the marriage. I would caution any woman that is dating, or engaged that if your significant other pulls the "I'm the husband" card or "I'm the spiritual leader, defer to me" and/or does not voluntarily guard his eyes and heart, then you may need to take a serious look at his spiritual foundation, and talk about your expectations for the future. Believe me, I have been there and it is not a happy life.

Next we tackle the horribly uncomfortable passage that seemingly squishes women in the church (1 Cor 14). Again, dig deeper. In Jesus' society, women didn't GO to church. At all. Ever. They stayed at home, raised the children, and cooked for their husbands. Paul was actually doing an extreme thing here by inviting women INTO the church! Since it was new, instructions were being given as to what to wear, how to behave etc. Is this unreasonable?

Just some thoughts. You may or may not agree. To me, this unifies scripture and is consistent with the respect given to Esther, the Proverbs 31 Woman, Jesus talking to the Samaritan woman, having female disciples, loving his mother, etc etc...

Speaking of the Proverbs 31 woman, this gives us a guide of behavior. A relationship is two sided and the woman has a lot of responsibility on her part too!
Proverbs 31
Her husband has full confidence in her!
She is a working, and profitable woman!
She is generous.
She is well dressed.
She is strong and dignified - full of character
She watches what she says.
She is a good wife and mother and her children and husband love her.

When men and women follow their respective "roles" that the Bible lays out (for our own happiness by the way) then the relationship is give and take, mutually respectful, and equal in importance. How fulfilling!

If a woman's perspective doesn't convince you, check out  John MacArthur's interpretation of women in the Bible
K.T.2 Comments