By Derick Dickens
Filing for divorce twice as often as men, women most often say it is due to ‘mental cruelty’ (Source: Why women leave men). It seems that in most all statistics, women are worse off as a whole. They are seeing the highest levels of poverty ( Source: National Women’s Law Center), out of wedlock births (Source: National Review), and one in three women will have an abortion in their lifetime (Source: Guttmacher Institute).
It demands us to ask some serious questions. Has the last century of women’s rights not touched the home? Has women’s equality not turned the tide of divorce? Has it not lifted women out of poverty instead of sinking them further into poverty? Women’s equality has failed precisely because it is misplaced from the Biblical understanding of women. It has failed precisely because it misunderstands the honor God has given to women.
In short, if you think women are equal to men, then you have too low of a view of women. Women are not merely equal, they are to be honored and esteemed unlike that of a man.
Honoring women is not merely my opinion, but this is the Christian ethic. It is why men traditionally bent on one knee to ask for a woman’s hand in marriage, men would open the door for her, and men willingly sacrificed their life to save a woman.
Granted, abuses have often taken place in our culture and previous cultures. However, this should not be looked at with the ever critical eye that fails to realize all the facts of the situation. There were abuses of the past because of mankind’s inherent selfishness, pride, arrogance, and destructive personality.
Rather than see these abuses subside, they have escalated in modern times. For instance, women account for 75% of all people trapped in the slave trade. For every three childhood victims of human trafficking, two are girls (Source: UNODC). The heinous injustice brought upon girls and women should make our blood boil in anger and every decent human being cry out for the eradication of this evil.
The abuses that are easier to “live with” are those couched in the language of modernity. Women, for profit and sale, are treated as sex objects on magazines and television. Being remade to look nothing like they appear, women are donned in scant bikinis to sell products like beer, cars, football, and even tools. Parts of our society have made women utilitarian. This may be better than the sex slave trade but only by degree (Matthew 5:28)
What may be an attempt by some overreacting to abuses towards women has been an effort to make women completely the same as men. In some cases, this has forced women to be a clone of their male counterparts, or in other cases forced men to be exactly like women. In both cases, this is a travesty to women.
Women do not find their greatest worth in being like men but in being a woman. It is her uniqueness that should be cherished, but not to the extremes either side tends to push her. One celebrates the woman as having a utilitarian purpose in satisfying the sinful lusts of man, the other celebrates her distinct from her sexuality.
Both are wrong. Both seek to diminish women from being what they were created to be–a woman.
In turning to the Scripture, we extinguish the often cited critique that women are not as smart or capable as men. Proverbs 31, for instance, shows the virtuous woman as possessing gifts that would make most men jealous. She is intelligent, resourceful, hard working, and respectful–a tremendous force of dignity and wisdom.
These qualities, though, should not make us treat women like men. Women are to be treated distinctly like a woman. Husbands are called to reflect towards these women a demonstration of the greatest love ever shown, a love that willingly died in her place (Ephesians 5:25). For a man, he should represent her as a person worthy enough for us to die for, to present as pure, to uplift as glorious, and acknowledged as magnificent.
This is why, in the past, men would willingly give up their life to save a woman. This is why he would open the door for her. This is why he would undergo painstaking work to provide for her. In so many words, a true man says. “as Christ treats his Church, so shall I treat you. As a woman, you are much more than my equal for I solely exist to serve you, and in serving you, I serve God.”
The hormone filled men who relegate such distinct honorable women to sexual objects are no men but merely dogs in heat. On the other end, those who wish to make no distinction of men and women do immeasurable harm to the glory God has given women.
In the Biblical Worldview, women have a dignity all their own that allows us, men, to selflessly serve until our dying days. They are bone of our bone, flesh of our flesh, but they are much more. They are women and for that reason we should give them a greater honor.
Derick Dickens has an MBA in Leadership, MDiv, and MA in Religion. He speaks regularly on topics ranging from Christian Worldview issues to business leadership, and he is a Professor of Business and Human Resources. Married for 15 years to his wife Lacie, they have three children and live in Lynchburg Virginia. Derick also runs the website completeinthee.com
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