At this time of the year, in our country we have what is known as “Sixteen Days of Activism against Woman and Child Abuse”. I understand where this comes from and the need to have something in place to remind the citizens that Gender Based Violence is unacceptable and to put special focus on teaching the country, especially the men that harming our women and children is not okay. So I agree with it all … but it is not sufficient. Violence and abuse don’t just come in the shape of physical harm. There are such atrocities as emotional, relational, family and financial abuse … which in itself amounts to the slavery of women and children because they are afraid of men. Because they are afraid for their life and their care, they keep quiet. It’s astonishing that in the Twenty-First Century, we have men who are educated (degrees and diplomas) who put their mothers, sisters, wives, children and siblings in danger because of the variety of abuse they level out against them. Personally, sixteen days are insufficient. We ought to have this in our face 365 days a year because then, perhaps we will get so sick and tired of the message that men are the perpetrators of the destruction of our future as a country. Perhaps then, as men we will transform … and deal with those who perpetrate and persist in thinking that as men they can monopolize women and children, using and abusing them as they desire. Please shout out and say that such a man, be it a husband, ex-husband, father, step father, grandfather, uncle, brother, boyfriend, boss or colleague are “an excuse and insult for a man”. Shame on such imitations of what God designed “man” to be as a husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, colleague or friend. Not all men are like this. There are some good men … in fact there are many good men who don’t fall into the bracket I have described above. Not only am I a husband, father, pastor and one who has taught children from grade 8 to 12 at a high school … I am Christian. Yes I have sinned, and yes I have failed in every area of my life and what I have to say today comes from a conviction that God’s Word is true and needs to be applied to my life, the life of every Christian … and it needs to be revealed to every non-Christian as well. Allow me to dangle a carrot before you so that you know where I am going today. Soon we will come back to “Dare to be a Daniel”. Here’s the carrot:
Mk 12:28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” 29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
Think about these words. We will come back to them shortly.
1) The Human Being. God created “man”, male and female and gave them the same mandate
Ge 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. 28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
This is part of the bigger picture of creation, but an important part because in general it reminds us that God made us equal in all ways accept two, which we will get too soon.
2) Man as in the male. Genesis chapter 2 leaves the general creation and focuses on the creation of the human being. After God created man, He, God, being a relational being and existing in plurality within the Godhead as Father, Son and Holy Spirit says
Ge 2:18 “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
Before this, God’s probationary command given to Adam in Genesis 2:15-17 is important. God gave this command to the man not the woman … thereafter He spoke verse 15.
3) Woman as in female. Once God said it is not helpful to the male being to be alone, He says He would make a suitable helper for the male. God created the woman.
Ge 2:20 But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.
The words “suitable helper” in verse 18 and “took one of man’s ribs” in verse 21 do not remove the equality factor of Genesis 1. What we tend to miss is that the man was created first, was given authority to name animals and the female and once he (male) sinned, he became the father of all sinners as he, breaking the probationary command needed to be responsible for his actions and be accountable before God.
4) Complementarianism. There are many ways people use this term, but in a nutshell, before God there is equality in every aspect of life … but the male remains the head of the household. This does not negate co-leadership implied in Genesis 1. Rather it brings the head of the Godhead principle into the marriage. The Father is head over the Son and Spirit although there is equality. The husband is head over the wife and children although there is equality between the husband and wife. Before we proceed, the Genesis 1 principle of equality accepts the fact that a female may be the head of a country, province or metropolitan council (such as we have in two of the three metros in Gauteng). She may be the head of a company or university. In all these examples she will have men as her subordinates. There is no conflict with the male being the head of the home and a female being the head of a country, company or place of education. So many women are extremely talented and their expertise must be used. We lack when we ignore or overlook women for strategic positions. Tomorrow we will continue with this theme, but allow me to say today … without having a clear understanding of the role of the husband and the wife in the home and the role of the male and the female in the market place, this becomes the first sign of a warped understanding of what God says in His Word as to the position and function of the male and female. What I hope to do as we navigate through this theme is to show you how men who abuse women and girls (all children) affecting their life for good are selfish. Life = self.
O God, help me not to be abusive. Amen.