You didn't click to the wrong page -- this is still the "women's" section. We're deviating this week from our normal womanly course to spend time considering God's first human creation: man. Before you skip this because you are not married, I'm not just talking about husbands. Truth is, a woman has not lived where she has not encountered God's firstborn.
This past Saturday I was enjoying a rare leisurely morning in one of my favorite ways: in pajamas, with coffee (of course), my favorite plush red blanket burrito-wrapped around me in my high wing-back chair (so I feel small), snuggled up with my Bible, journal and pen. Snow fell outside my window as I made a note on the page to help me remember the day: "No Regrets -- Mens' Conference Day". My sweet husband, Jonathan, was there. As I thanked the Lord for him, my heart began to swell with pride and gratitude because though none of us is perfect, he is the best of men in my eyes. (After all, he had the courage to marry a lawyer – a woman with 3 years of training in how to prepare an argument.)
God decreed in Genesis 1:31 that man was “very good”, as well as woman and everything else He had made. Have you agreed with God lately that His creation of men is “very good”? Or has your negative experience with a select group of men impaired your view of the entire class of them? Messages abound in our culture to affirm this to be true. (Men struggle with this too, of course, but this blog is for you ladies.)
God did have one observation about His design that He found to be “not good”, and we all know how it goes: "It is not good for the man to be alone." Gen. 2:18
Surely God was not suggesting it was "better" for man to have a woman around pointing out all his shortcomings everyday, reminding him of his past failures, second-guessing his every decision. Hardly! In fact, God shares His thoughts in Proverbs 21:9 (ladies, hold on here, this may sting a bit): “It is better to live in the corner of a housetop, than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife.” (That’s the ESV gentle-version, others use descriptions like “nagging”, “contentious” and my ouchiest, “bitter-tongued”.) Unfortunately this isn’t a problem just for folks outside the church, it’s everywhere, though perhaps more subtle. Among Christians it may be in the way of jokes, critical remarks made in public, or resentments. In the marriage context, author Robert Lewis suggests, “[M]ost women are not actually trying to control their husband. Instead, it’s more like they are stepping in front of them.” Some of us mean well, we just don’t get it! In this case there’s good news – we can learn better what men most need from us so we can build strong healthy relationships. (Consider this a plug for Date Night at GFC on Feb. 22nd!)
The strength and protection of man, designed by God in His own image, underwent tragic alteration when sin entered the world during the great deception in the Garden. Similarly, the nurturing help of a life-mate a woman was designed to offer, also in God’s own image, was mangled by that same sin. The result is visible everyday: sin-broken men living with sin-broken women in a sin-broken world in need of a sin-abolishing Savior – Jesus Christ.
I have seen the effects of brutal men on vulnerable women. I have stayed overnight as a "house mom" in a ministry home for homeless women with haunting stories. I've heard testimonies of abuse that could break the hardest heart.I had my own wounds inflicted by the hearts of some men, and have journeyed a long road with the God-man, Jesus Christ, who healed them.
I also know stories of women who have misused their influence to manipulate, control, deceive, offend, cheat, and yes -- physically abuse men as well. I regret to say, I could tell my own stories of influence-misuse myself.
Indeed, no gender is innocent of horrible histories.
The ministry of reconciliation Christ entrusts us with is a ministry of the Gospel that sets free every sinner, male or female, who believes in Christ’s sufficient death for their sins, reconciling sinner with Holy God. Perhaps the most radical demonstration of the presence of God in the Church today is love and respect shown in Christian marriages, and God’s love shown between brothers and sisters in Christ. (1 Tim. 4:12)
The bottom-line is that God made men with His very breath, and created them in His image. If He went to all that trouble to make them, and love them, and provide for them, and reach out to them even with His own Son who gave His own life for them so He could live forever with them in Heaven – what is He telling us? At the very least we can agree with our Sovereign God who called them “very good” and consider where we would be without them! Think about the Godly pastors, teachers, fathers, brothers, family members, counselors, friends, boyfriends or husbands that have shown you the love of God with skin on. Determine to not let the enemy sour your view of God’s man.
I would like to issue a 30-day challenge where you don’t say anything negative about men, especially your husband, to them or about them to someone else. Nothing negative! Instead, find one thing you can affirm them in and tell them each day. Let us spur on one another, ladies, in spiritually healthy attitudes. And let’s start this Friday night at Just Women Night!
Heather Yates, Women's Ministry Director
 “The Life Ready Woman” workbook, Shaunti Feldhahn, (FamilyLife Publishing, 2011). See inset quote, p. 61.
Posted on Wed, February 6, 2013
by Heather Yates