Equal, but Different

When I was younger, I used to wish I had been born a boy. I thought that they could do more, could climb trees better, and had more opportunities.

Besides, it was obvious that God doesn’t use girls. He calls wives the ‘weaker partner,’ and so he can’t expect much at all of females. All of his great heroes in the Bible were male. I was feeling left out and sorry for myself. To me, Ephesians 5:22-24 condemns young ladies (even those of us who aren’t married yet):

“Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Saviour. Now as the church submits to Christ, so wives should submit to their husbands in everything.”

A lot of people take these verses and 1 Peter 3:1-7 as grounds for one of two extremes. Either they lower their expectations of girls and women to a manageable height for the weaker partner while men are encouraged to ignore women or simply use them, or they encourage women to break out of God’s bondage and rebel against Him, while men are pushed out of the picture and relegated to the couch in front of the TV.

Both are convenient ways to take these passages, and both are easier than wrestling with God and doing whatever we do to his glory. Neither are a good idea.

Western culture has swung to the second extreme. Young women are told to break out of religious bondage and realize all of the potential they have and not submit to the drudgery of the classic female occupation. But if we are truly hobbled by our faith, how does Christ’s promise in John 8:36 fit in?

“So, if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”

But by setting out these rules and guidelines for how we need to live together, God isn’t tying us up, like I used to think. Instead, by following His plan for us, even though it seems a mundane and worn out path, we are set free!

See, simple math shows that 4+4 = 8. So does 1+7. Both equations equal 8, but they use different numbers to get there. The equations are equal (4+4=1+7), but both sides are different.

I was reading a feminist book recently. It was just lying there and I picked it up. Women have been seen historically (and even presently) as work animals for the home, and the feminist movement did a good thing in trying to raise expectations for women. But the movement has unwittingly undermined God’s calling on men and has left something lacking for women.

Notice that in the math example above, I didn’t just use 3+5 = 5+3. Both still equal 8. But if I had done that, both sides of the equation are not only equal but also the same.

That is what the feminist movement has done. The message of feminism is that women can do everything men can do, but differently (or in the extreme, better). We are just a rearrangement of men; we are equal to them, and the same as them.

That doesn’t sound very threatening. But imagine for a moment if the world was full of you – yes, seven billion yous. Is that a pleasant thought? Would you get much done? That is what being equal and the same ends up looking like.

I believe this is why some men feel extremely threatened by feminism, and why others retreat into their corner and allow women to take their place. God made men to rise up in the strength he has given them to love, cherish, look after, and protect girls and women, and by declaring we can do it ourselves, we have essentially taken away their job and their basic calling from God. Being equal is a good thing – being the same is not.

On the other hand, God created women to love, support, help, and encourage the men in our lives. When men are pushed aside and demeaned, we no longer have something to support, but something to drag along behind ourselves.

If we listen to our Master, the author and perfecter of our faith, and do the things he sets before us, what we as young men and young women of God do does not really matter. But doing them according to His ultimate plan does.

You object: But I am doing what is before me, and it is dreary. I must submit to everyone in my life, first my parents, and then my husband!

Or: Women have it easy. All they have to do is submit and help men, while we do all the heavy lifting. Why couldn’t I have it the easy way, too?

And Christ replies: What is that to thee? Follow thou Me.

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