I just read an article that I’ve seen circulating the past few days about the plight of GenX women. The struggle to make enough money, to save money, to find meaningful work, to find value and worth in a monetary world that has far too often passed us over for men.
I could not finish the article. I felt so discouraged and down, because as I wrote before, I feel I have experienced being passed over and it is painful.
I believe women have been experiencing this because of the Fall. Because of sin.
God said this to Eve about the consequence of her sin for her (and for all women): “Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”” (Genesis 3:16 NIV)
So many people disagree about what this means. But the best interpretation that makes the most sense to me is that as a result of the Fall, as a result of sin in this world, men would take advantage of women, would hold them back, would keep them in a lesser position of authority, or worth, or value.
I like the way the New Living Translation puts it: “you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you.”
We see these power plays every day.
I am tempted to become overcome by discouragement. To be completely honest, I struggled the past 9 months as I searched for a position as a pastor in a church because I knew a majority of the open positions would not even consider me as a pastor to adult men and women.
It makes me crazy because it hurts me personally, but also because this is not the way it was supposed to be!!
Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
(Genesis 1:26-27 NIV, emphasis mine)
Men and women, both created in the Image of God. Both given authority to rule over the earth.
Before the Fall, before things were imperfect, before we started hating one another, and clawing at one another to prove our own value, a man and a woman resided together in perfection as equals.
(This is supposed to be a five minute post, but I don’t want to stop here.)
Conservative Complementarians (I often prefer the term Traditionalists) argue that men and women are equal, but different in role. This would be fine with me if each of us had roles of authority as we did before the fall. Instead, women are stripped of any authority in their marriages, in their work, in parenting, in most every aspect of their lives.
Equal, but different.
That is a very big but.
Genesis 1 says the opposite.
We are different. Male. Female. AND we are each made in the Image of God.
We are each made to reflect Him.
We are each given authority to rule.
How this is overlooked, I cannot understand, but for centuries people have been looking at the result of the fall and have said this is the way God ordained it to be.
I look at creation and say, no, that is the way we were meant to be. At peace. Living in unity. Different AND Equal. Anything else is a distortion. The result of selfishness, sin, power grabs, and subordination.
I believe Jesus came into the world to right what is made wrong by sin. Because of this, I believe that He came into the world to lift up women from the second class citizens they have been for centuries to a place of value, worth, and, yes, leadership in the world.
I believe Jesus came to restore women’s equality with men.
So while I may not be able to find a job as quick and easy as my male counterparts (after all, the world hasn’t been made perfect yet), I know that that does not negate that I was made in the Image of God, called by Him to pastor, and have been given the gifts and abilities to carry out that role.
I also continue to strive to lift women up with me as I rise.
Sisters, if you are reading this, hear me well. You were not created less than. You were not created to be someone’s slave, object, sexual fantasy, or worse. You were created to be a reflection of God Himself. And you are. This is true whether we experience it or not.
But I do continue to pray you and I experience this more and more this side of heaven.
This post was inspired by the prompt “create” and is post #4 of Jesus, The Bible, and Women, a series of five minute articles written throughout October/November 2017.