This message was preached at Woodvale Baptist Church on Sunday the 3rd of June 2018.
In October 2017, following allegations of sexual assault brought against movie producer Harvey Weinstein by several high profile actresses, the #MeToo campaign was launched and went viral around the world.
Since that time, thousands upon thousands of women have been empowered to tell their own story about unwanted sexual advances and sexual violence that they have endured over the years.
The World Health Organization has estimated that one third of women worldwide are affected by sexual violence.
Two 2017 polls conducted in the United States revealed that 54% of women reported that they had received “unwanted and inappropriate sexual advances with 95% saying that such behavior usually goes unpunished.”
And there have been similar claims made in various parts of Australian society.
It may seem an odd way to begin an article, especially given that May is the month we celebrate our mums, and women in general.
But it asks us a question that demands an answer:
What do we, as men, really think of women?
In answering this question myself, there are two thoughts that shape my thinking.
Women are full image bearers of the God Who created them.
Genesis 1:27 states that “God created mankind in His own image…male and female He created them.”
This does not say that women bear part of the image of God – they are full image bearers.
This means that by virtue of their relation to the Creator, women have inherent worth, value and dignity.
I have grown tired of the old cliché remarks about, “It was the woman who led the man astray in the Garden!”
The undertone seems to be that all the problems of the world can be blamed on women.
Interestingly, when the Genesis account is properly understood, Adam was right there beside Eve when she took the first bite of the forbidden fruit … and he did nothing to dissuade her.
Equally, I dislike the statement, “After God made man, He said, ‘I can do better!'”
God never intended to set men and women up in opposition to each other, but to support, encourage and strengthen each other.
This begins when we embrace the truth that both the sexes bear the full image of their Creator!
Women share equally in all the promises of God.
What a ground breaking, revolutionary statement Paul made when he declared that “there is neither Jew nor Gentile … slave nor free … male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
In other words, at the foot of the Cross, your racial pedigree, your social standing and your gender count for nothing when it comes to being accepted by God in Christ Jesus.
This is Good News for everyone living on planet earth because God accepts everyone who comes to Him in humility and repentance!
I am not on a crusade here for more women’s rights!
The proponents of the #MeToo campaign have encouraged men with some simple steps to demonstrate respect for women in their personal world:
I agree with all of this.
But the treatment of women will not change until there is a fundamental change in the heart and that change can only be brought about by God Himself.
When we see a woman, or a man, or a child or a disabled person, what do we see? A person made in the image of God or a “non-person?”
Looking through the eyes of God will fundamentally change the way we see each other – as image bearers of our Creator God, worthy of our love and respect.
So thank God this Mother’s Day for the women in your life and love them through His eyes.
They will thank you for it!
I can honestly say that I have never watched a single episode of Married at First Sight or The Farmer Wants a Wife and I do not intend to – the advertisements are enough!
What strikes me is that the people appearing on these shows are not so much looking for someone to love as they are for the feeling of being in love.
The comments often focus on “the wonderful feeling of being in love” or “being that special someone”.
At least, that is what I see on the ads!
It seems to me that our obsession with these programs stems from a profound unhappiness with our own life – that somehow it is boring and mundane; that it needs a little “spicing up!”
Perhaps we even feel a bit like that in our marriage.
But life consists of many things, including the exciting and the mundane. Listen to the words of King Solomon:
“There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven…”
In other words, there is a set time for everything that happens to us during our lives as well as there being a specific period of time for each of them.
Solomon describes many of these events in the words that follow: times for birth and death, weeping and laughing, mourning and dancing, loving and hating, war and peace.
None of these events, or others, always occur all the time – they each are given a set time.
And none of them lasts forever – they have a period of duration that can sometimes be long or short, depending on the circumstances.
Sometimes life is vibrant and exciting but sometimes it can be plain boring!
Can you relate to that? I most certainly can! This is the ebb and flow of life and it is grounded in reality.
I am writing this way because so many people manage their relationships as if they were living in a TV program or soap opera.
We all love the romantic movie where the knight rides off into the sunset with his princess and they live happily ever after. We conclude that this is how marriage is…but is it?
In our own marriages we discover that there are times of happiness but also conflict and in extreme cases, it seems to be only conflict.
What happened to the romantic ending?
For one thing, we don’t have the privilege of seeing how things worked out for the knight and the princess, but I’m certain they will have had their tense moments as well.
We have been duped into thinking that happiness in marriage is merely about finding this wonderful person or having “the feeling of being in love” and then everything will automatically flow from there – we have been “Hollywood-ised” about love and marriage!
Every marriage, even the best ones, have their times and seasons: times of laughter and passion and yes, times of conflict and boredom.
The solution is to try and make sense of these times.
This is why Solomon also said, “God has made everything beautiful in its time…” It is God who brings meaning to every moment of our lives. We can only ultimately be completely fulfilled in Him, not through some soap opera or unrealistic view about love and relationships.
And He is also able to bring meaning and fulfillment to our marriages.
A growing marriage begins its life when two people say “I do” to each other and to God. Then they are truly free to grow into unselfish people who find meaning in the times and seasons of their relationship with each other and with God.