Thursday, December 19, 2013

Jesus & Women

Are you concerned with how your sons will view women?
Are you concerned with how your sons will treat women?

I am.

I often ask myself,

Will they see women as created in the image of God?  
Or will they see them as lesser beings?

Will they see women as a valued part of creation and God's Kingdom?  
Or will they see them as irrational and emotional beings incapable of reason and thus, useless?

Will they treat women as Jesus did?  
Or will they treat them as inferior objects to be had and disposed of according to their own selfish needs and desires.

I find myself doing whatever I can to shield my boys from images and portrayals of women that belittle their value and parade them about as stupid, sexual objects.  I discreetly turn magazines over in the checkout lane so they don't see the scantily clad and sexy images of women plastered on nearly every magazine cover.  I avoid certain store departments, even some stores altogether, where I know there will be images of women in their underwear all over the place.  I change the channel when inappropriate commercials, shows, or movies come on that further the personification of women as irrational and unintelligent sex objects.

I go to these extremes because I desperately want to protect my sons' eyes and minds (for as long as I can) from seeing women as most of the world does.  Instead, I long for them to see and treat women as Jesus did and still does.    

Jesus was revolutionary in his treatment of women.  

He presented them as faith models in a culture where women were considered to be corrupting, evil influences [Luke 4:24-26; 15:8-10; 18:1-8].  

He redefined the one-sided Jewish legislation concerning divorce providing more protection for women [Mark 10:11-12].  

He redefined adultery, placing a higher level of accountability for men to honor women with pure thoughts and motives [Matthew 5:27-30].  

He willingly and openly taught women in a culture where women were generally barred from reading and being taught the Torah [Luke 10:38-42]. 

There isn't one recorded instance where Jesus disgraces, belittles, or stereotypes a woman.  His treatment of Mary Magdalene, the Samaritan Woman [John 4:1-42], the Woman taken in Adultery [John 7:53-8:11], the Repentant Sinner [Luke 7:36-50], and the Bleeding Woman [Mark 5:25-34] give absolute proof that He loved and valued women as daughters created in the image of God.

Throughout the Gospels, so many firsts went to women:

The first news of the incarnation went to a woman [Luke 1:26-38].
The first miracle was performed for a woman [John 2:1-11].
The first recorded Samaritan convert was a woman [John 4:7-42].
The first recorded person clearly told by Jesus that He was the Messiah was a woman [John 4:26].
The first recorded Gentile convert was a woman [Matthew 15:21-28].
The first resurrection teaching was given to a woman [John 11:23-27].
The first witness to the resurrection was a woman [Matthew 28:1-10].

Dorothy Sayers, a Christian writer and close friend of C.S. Lewis, summed up Jesus' attitude toward women beautifully:

"Perhaps it was no wonder that women were first at the Cradle and last at the Cross.  They had never known a man like this Man.  There never has been such another.  A prophet and teacher who never nagged at them, never flattered or coaxed or patronized; who never made sick jokes about them...who rebuked without querulousness and praised without condescension; who took their questions and arguments seriously; who never mapped out this sphere for them, never urged them to be feminine or jeered at them for being female; who had no ax to grind and no male dignity to defend; who took them as he found them and was completely unself-conscious.  There was no act, no sermon, no parable in the whole gospel that borrows pungency from female perversity.  Nobody could possibly guess from the words and deeds of Jesus that there was anything "funny" or inferior about woman's nature."

As disciples, we are called to be imitators of Christ.  So as my two boys continue to learn how to best follow Jesus in all that they say and do, I must pray that regardless of what the world (both men and women alike) say about and how they treat women, that my sons would faithfully imitate Jesus' beliefs and treatment of women.

Let's pray!

Thank you for revolutionizing beliefs and treatments of women while You were here on this earth.  Thank you that You never belittled, disgraced, or stereotyped women.  Thank You that You viewed women as faith models and worthy of hearing and learning Your teachings.

As my boys grow up, may they imitate Your beliefs about and treatment of women.  I pray they would counter the world's attitude about women by fervently study Your words and actions with women.  And may that study make them powerfully aware of how the world's attitude is far from Your own.  Through Your Spirit, may they avoid being entangled up in the world's views of women.  May they treat women with respect and value.  

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