Has anyone ever asked you to do something totally outside your realm of experience? This happened to me just a few weeks ago. The public relations company I work for asked me to write a blog post for their website about a PR aspect of feminism. After recovering from my slight panic attack, I dove into a frantic crash-course on feminism and was soon confronted with a dilemma: How could I write about something that most Christians are opposed to? The bigger question I had to ask myself was, “What do I believe about the position of women today?”
This question led me on a captivating journey through blog posts, conversations with peers and mentors and, most of all, through Scripture. The answers I found led me to ask even more questions about how society is (or rather isn’t) following the precedents set in the Bible. Let me share a sliver of what I learned through this study. Disclaimer: this is about to get real.
The biggest thing I learned is that when Jesus is present, women are respected and valued. He set the precedent for how to treat a woman. Think about it. He commended a Gentile woman’s faith and healed her daughter because of it. He lovingly guarded the adulteress from her attackers. He praised a widow for her sacrificial giving. He graciously revealed Himself to the Samaritan woman that most Jews would have avoided. He used women as the subject of five parables to teach about the Kingdom of God. Interestingly enough, He performed his first miracle at his mother’s request. Christ teaches us to honor women by setting the perfect example of how to do so.
There is no doubt in my mind that God wants to use women in His service. Have you ever considered the significance of Christ showing Himself first to a woman after His resurrection? This privilege entrusted her with the responsibility and gift of being the first to share the news of Christ’s resurrection. Ever. If that doesn’t show Jesus’ love and regard for women, I don’t know what does. He had full confidence that she would fulfill the job He had given her. In the story of Esther, God could have sent a prophet to the king; instead He sovereignly orchestrated events to save the Jewish nation through His chosen vessel—a woman. In Joshua, rather than using a strong, highly respected man to protect the Israelite spies, He used a woman with a scarlet cord. In the New Testament, Paul’s first European convert was Lydia, and her home became a safe haven for Christians. Significantly, she was a single woman who supported herself financially. She used her singleness for the Lord and ran her business honorably.
According to Genesis 1:27, God made both men and women in His image. Neither men nor women are superior. But He did make them different. He gave men and women different perspectives, skills and responsibilities, all of which He values equally. He does not regard men or women more highly than He regards the other.
We would do well to follow this example. If men and women regard each other equally and respect one another, they will balance each other out, their strengths complementing the other’s weaknesses and vice versa. If society treats women the way Christ did, women will be valued and cherished. They will be given opportunities to use the skills they possess, whether in the workplace, home or church. Their opinions and abilities will be respected just as much as men’s.
So what do I believe about women? I’m glad you asked. I believe they are equal in value to men socially, economically and spiritually. I believe they deserve respect as much as men do. I believe they should have the opportunity to exercise responsibility and leadership. I believe their opinions and input are valuable. And finally, I sincerely believe women are significant in God’s eyes and capable of doing great things for His kingdom.