I spend a lot of time thinking about pastors, churches and the realities of hurting people. I love Jesus. That means I love the local church. Pastors. The Body of Christ. And I spend a lot of time with hurting people.
One thing I don’t want to be is a Debbie Downer. I hate bad news. Like you, I scroll through social media and avoid certain people and places because they make me feel bad. I honestly like to have fun, laugh, and swap stories. Don’t you? I don’t like being sad or facing the reality of bad things. It gets old. It’s depressing. Difficult.
But then I remind myself that people live in there–in places of sorrow and pain–for days, months, years, decades. It’s reality. These posts, this website and ministry are here to shed light in the dark. Jesus came to bring Light. That’s why I write posts like this–for Jesus. Spoiler alert: hang in there. You’ll find good news at the end of this post.
This morning I was thinking about and praying for individuals who are threatened by the idea of women disagreeing with men. Men lead. Women follow. Applied biblically, in proper context, that’s good. However, applied with human understanding and limitations, it’s destructive. Deadly. Few people who are threatened by a woman’s voice read posts like this by people like me. For those who are here, welcome.
For individuals who struggle to give weight to any woman that discredits or calls out a man’s behavior, I’m not here to bring conviction, that’s God job, but I’m hoping this post may bring clarity.
- Some really love Jesus.
- They love the local church.
- They want to do what’s right and they want to please God.
- In their mind and heart it comes down to whether or not they can stand on the side of a woman who disagrees with her husband, men in authority, or with authority as it relates to their own position. That may be the very question or issue that makes them hesitate to get involved with women and children who suffer at the hands of a husband/father.
- Although they wrestle and wonder in their own mind, they don’t raise the question for fear of being mocked by companions or questioned by counterparts.
- They may even fear how it would affect them personally.
Listening to and siding with a wife over her husband may smack of feminism; liberalism; being “woke.” Individuals who struggle with this believe any disagreement with a husband–especially when it happens outside the immediate relationship– is in opposition to God. They believe the husband is the ultimate authority of his home.
I would argue that is a worldly stance based on fear and one’s “own understanding,” not biblical truth and trust in God. Jesus is the only One with “all authority” (Matthew 28:18). Out of His authority, He has entrusted others to use it to protect and care for others the way He would: as husbands, parents, employers, pastors, government leaders. Each individual or group has “some,” not “all,” authority. Therefore, when an individual misuses the authority given by God, there is a biblical set of checks and balances that directs individuals to seek help from a higher authority (Matthew 18:18-18; Romans 13:1-5).
Many individuals who struggle to give women’s voices the same weight as men’s have their telescope backwards. They interpret the Word of God through the lens of marriage, cutting women and children off from the promises and Person of Christ. If they would turn it around and interpret marriage through the lens of Scripture, they would see and apply the all-inclusive promises and Person of Christ to men, women, and children equally. In other words, their interpretation of Scripture is based on biblical roles rather than interpreting biblical roles based on Scripture.
Here is an example of a husband wrongly using authority to protect his pride. If it reminds you of a person or organization, pray and make decisions with great wisdom:
“On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was cheerful with wine, he ordered …the seven eunuchs …11 to bring Queen Vashti before the king with her royal turban in order to display her beauty to the people and the officials, for she was beautiful. 12 But Queen Vashti refused to come at the king’s order delivered by the eunuchs. So the king became very angry, and his wrath burned within him.
13 Then the king said to the wise men who understood the times…15 “According to law, what is to be done with Queen Vashti, since she did not obey the command of King Ahasuerus delivered by the eunuchs?” 16 And in the presence of the king and the other officials, Memucan said, “Queen Vashti has wronged not only the king but also all the officials and all the peoples who are in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus. 17 For the queen’s conduct will become known to all the women so as to make their own husbands despicable in their sight, when they say, ‘King Ahasuerus commanded that Queen Vashti be brought in to his presence, but she did not come.’ 18 And this day the wives of the officials of Persia and Media who have heard about the queen’s conduct will talk about it to all the king’s officials, and there will be plenty of contempt and anger. 19 If it pleases the king, let a royal edict be issued by him and let it be written in the laws of Persia and Media so that it cannot be repealed, that Vashti may not come into the presence of King Ahasuerus, and let the king give her royal position to another who is more worthy than she. 20 When the king’s edict which he will make is heard throughout his kingdom, great as it is, then all women will give honor to their husbands, great and small.” (Esther 1:10-20)
So what does God’s Word say about this situation? God is either in support of Queen Vashti or in support of King Ahasuerus. They cannot both be right. (Don’t jump hurdles to God’s ordained will and how God uses everything to accomplish His purpose. Yes, He does. But using God’s sovereignty as an for excuse unkindness and indifference is a discussion for another time.) Stop. Look at the context. Consider why this is here and what you can learn.
Does God stand in support of Queen Vashti’s dignity and worth? Or does He promote her husband’s position and rule? Which person ultimately honored God and His design? Which person reflected the example and Person of Jesus Christ?
King Ahasuerus responded in fear and arrogance, considering how he and his cohorts would fare in the face of “the wives of the officials of Persian and Media who have heard about the queen’s conduct.” Queen Vashti created quite a stir. And she was punished. That’s why women in many homes are punished. Because of anger and outrage. Because of wounded sinful pride. God in His goodness, protected Vashti by removing her from the king’s presence.
King Ahasuerus’ command reminds me of others:
“Teacher, show us a sign” (Matthew 12:38).
‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a song of mourning, and you did not weep’ (Luke 7:32).
Selfish demands may not be sinful in and of themselves, but they do not recognize or demonstrate God awareness. Such thinking and behavior views self, not God, at the center; God who created each individual–man, woman, child– for His pleasure, to make Himself known, and for the glory of His grace (Ephesians 1). Instead, it reveals a desire for self-exaltation, self-validation, and self-gratification. Just as it was not Jesus’ purpose or intent to be used for short-sighted, sinful desires, it is not God’s desire that His daughters be used to elevate and glorify a husband as if he was god. Those who refuse to provide for a wife who disagrees with or takes issue with her husband’s treatment and leadership need to ask what they’re truly protecting and whom they serve.
If I have to choose a side, I would rather err on the side of protecting dignity and human decency than a cultural norm or religious front with a distorted view of authority that benefits an individual, organization or institution. That is not God’s heart. God’s design and purposes are not man-driven, man-inspired, or man-sustained. God’s purposes are not dependent on individuals, but on the Holy Spirit, in agreement with the written and living Word of God. God makes Himself known and reveals Himself to those who live by faith.
Here’s more good news–Jesus is for me. Jesus is for you. He will always come to the aid of those who are humble, weak, downtrodden, brokenhearted. The gospel of Jesus Christ is not one of power, position, and might made right. He is able and willing to provide, protect, and care for His own. Perhaps He will even use you to accomplish His purpose.
So let me ask:
Do you practice and uphold justice?
Do you exemplify kindness?
Are you walking humbly with your God?
It’s difficult, but it’s not complicated.