At 14-years-old she found herself imprisoned for a year charged with the crime of adultery. She had been raped and beaten by her adult male cousin and because she was a female she was the one thrown in prison.
Reading Afghan Women Fear Rights Will Erode as U.S. Leaves in the The Wall Street Journal, made me change today’s blog.
The plight of this 14-year-old girl is not surprising. It is the same old story that has played itself out over the ages for women living in this fallen world. However, we should never give up trying to make a difference and educating the world that women are valuable beings who are created in the image of God.
As I read this story a conversation popped in my head that I had this fall with a male student at ABCU. What makes it so significant to me is because he is a likeable young man who is a Christian. Yet from my perspective, he possesses a questionable attitude about women that I have observed in many places in the world.
On Sunday mornings at ABCU faculty have a driver that picks us up in a van and takes us to the church of our choice. On this particular Sunday as we road home from the service, the drive stopped and picked up a few ABCU students who were walking back from church.
While talking with the students, I asked two of the male students their perspective on an issue and then I turned and asked one of the female students. One of the young men, who had already responded to the question, had a puzzled look on his face. He asked:
“Why would you ask the same question to one of the female students, we (two male students) have already responded to your question.”
His question actually was a statement containing the underlying premise: if a man had spoken, you do not need to seek the opinion of a woman. After all a man’s response is superior and a woman should be submissive and not respond.
If you know me, then you know that his question was the same as waiving a red flag in front of a bull.
I spent the rest of the bus ride back to campus assuring him that a woman’s response to a question can be just as valuable and sometimes even more valuable than a man’s. And my not so subtle premise was that as a Christian, he should make sure that he was correctly using scripture when he is asserting a male’s authority and/or superiority over a woman.
My Response and/or A Few Other Things I Would Like to Have Said
I can’t remember all that I said to the student but here are just a few points I either made or wished that I would have stated to him.
Christ Was Revolutionary
I did point out that Christ was revolutionary in his approach toward women. He walked and talked with women, which was a cultural taboo, and two of Christ’s best friends were Martha and Mary. I told him that some of Christ’s first spiritual truths were taught to women not men, and women were the first to know about the resurrection. I wish that I had challenged him to re-read the Gospels noting Christ’s treatment of and discourse with women. I also could have noted that it was women who stayed at the foot of the cross while the disciples fled.
He is correct in his belief that the bible talks about a woman being submissive, but it is in the context of a wife to her husband. Ephesians 5:21-33 states that in a marriage a woman needs to be submissive and show respect to her husband. However, focusing just on the verses about submission can be misleading unless you read the totality of the chapter. For example Ephesians 5:1 states that we should, “Be imitators of God…live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” When a man treats a woman as a second-class citizen or as an object to be used and abused, he is neither being an imitator of Christ nor is he showing love.
We also need to remember that Ephesians 5 describes how we should live and treat one another, with verse 21 first raising the topic of submission. Paul pens to both the male and female readers that we should “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” So often people focus on the submissive role of the wife in verse 22, but choose to exclude verse 21 in their discussion, which calls for mutual submission.
If I would have had time I would like to have pointed out to this young man that in Ephesians 5:21-33 that only four of these verses focus on the woman’s role in a marriage, while nine of the verses address how the husband should love his wife like Christ loved the church. Christ gave his life for the church because the church was precious to Him. I believe that we can conclude from these verses that a husband should show the same type of love for his wife.
I also wish that I had had time to share with the student my own personal experience. I know what it is like to have a husband who values and loves me as Christ loves the church. I would have assured him that my husband is a real man, and he is secure enough in who he is that he allows me to be who I am. I also would have told him that I know many other Christian men who treat their wives with love and honor. I would have pointed out that it is this kind of love and attitude that makes it easy for a woman to submit to and respect her husband, because you know that you are valued and your opinion is honored.
More Could Be Said
There is even more I would like to say, but sometimes I can be “to in your face” when it comes to this topic. My prayer is that my conversation with this young man will help him think about the value of women and the contribution they make to a society.
As we arrived back at campus another young man said, “Dr. Kloosterhouse you need to get on the radio in Monrovia and talk about this.”
I smiled at him and told him that I am not the one Liberians will listen to, but it is young men like him who need to take this message to the people.
Maybe there is hope after all.
What is a Think Through? it is an idiom that conveys the meaning of carefully considering possibilities and outcomes of a situation
Today’s Think Through: What can we do to help raise young men who respect women? And also young women who respect men?