Why It Is Important to Keep A Woman In Her Place

Ok.  With a title like that, I will give everyone a moment to find their seats and make sure they have all the tools they need for getting through this blog post.  Let’s see, pitchforks? Check.  Torches? Check.  Rope? Check. Concrete galoshes? Check.  Ok.  Is everyone in their preferred seat on opposing sides of the room? Everyone ready to comment with venom if I don’t take your position?  Good.  Then let’s get down to it.

Over the last couple of days, I have been seeing a couple of pictures hit my social media feeds over and over gain.  I will not single anyone out and if you posted either of them, let me assure you, I am not picking on you or your situation.  In truth, as I have been seeing these two pictures, I have had one recurring thought, “My heart hurts for these people,”  Most of the time I have seen the pictures, I know that they are experiencing something difficult, and no matter how hard we try, our hurt “leaks” from time to time.  I get that.  I don’t judge it.  I just wish I could stop the pain.

So, here are the two pictures, and then I will say my piece.  Good, I see the fire is lit under the vat of oil.  This post will be a long one, but it should be boiling by the time I am done…

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Ok.  Anyone need to switch sides yet?  I’ll give you a minute to do so.  Ready?  Ok.  Let’s get back into this!  Both of these are wrong.  Pure and simple.  *scanning the crowd*  If everyone will keep your seat, I will take a few moments to explain.

The Plan

When God made man, He gave him something to do, gave him some instructions, and then put him to work.  It wasn’t very long at all before God looked at Adam and decided that he was lacking something.  He was not complete.  This isn’t saying God made a mistake.  It is the Creator looking at His most beloved creation and saying, “It’s just not done yet. He needs something more that will bring him that special thing he needs.”

So, he put Adam to sleep and took a rib from his side and made Eve, the first woman. Adam was understandably impressed and appreciative of this new development and responded appropriately by stating that the woman was flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone because she was part of himself – in this case, literally!  God did not create a new creature, he finished the creation by bringing woman out of man.

The Fall

Everything went south in chapter three of Genesis.  There are many who like to say that Eve messed up by eating the fruit.  I disagree.  I think this has been one of the principal errors in understanding the male and female relationship throughout history. Somewhere along the line, it was decided that woman messed up and man had to pay for it.  Ludicrous!  Absolutely ridiculous!  The Bible tells us that Adam was RIGHT THERE WITH HER the whole time the serpent was talking!  What in the world was happening that he did not step in and do something? he took a passive approach to the situation and did not help his helper.

A snake starts talking to his wife and tells her to break one of the two rules she and her husband were given by the God that they had the chance to walk with every day in the garden and Adam says nothing!  Men, this is where the Fall took place.  This is where man let woman down.  Period.  As a result of this sin, they are banished from the garden and this struggle between man and woman begins.  Some people think that God cursed woman at this point and put her in her place, but I believe He was just telling her what was going to happen.  Man would blame woman for his problems, and woman was going to suffer for it because he didn’t step up and do right when she needed him to do it.

The Result

We now live in a world where people are pretty polarized.  For centuries in most cultures, women have taken a back-seat role in all aspects.  Equal rights for women is still a pretty fresh concept in our history not only as a country, but as a planet!  It is a struggle for women to get the respect they deserve for being the people they are.  The atrocities that take place against women every single day are disgusting and should bring us to tears.  As a result, there are many women who hurt so deeply and have been put in a position that they may never trust a man again.  Whose fault is that?  Well, guys.  I won’t lie.  It is primarily the fault of man for getting that ball rolling.  Now we have small groups of women that are so angry that they just refuse to show respect any man.

I’m not going to take a Rush Limbaugh stand and speak rudely about women.  They don’t deserve it.  My view on feminism is simply this:  It never should have been considered as necessary.  It is the result of men not knowing how to keep a woman in her proper place. (Before anyone gets upset, please keep reading. I promise, it’s not as bad as it sounds.) Now she feels the weight of man and bristles at it, wants to get away from it, and prove that she never needed it or him in the first place.  Honestly, why wouldn’t she? So, how do we put her where she should be?

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I’m going to tell you how I think this can be fixed.  I have consulted with my wife of 21 years, and I know she agrees with me on it.  Neither she or I think I get it right every time, but we do agree that this is the way to get it done.  We go back to the original plan.

Man was not complete.  He needed help, and God gave him a helper out of himself.  Adam recognized that.  The problem was, he blew it, and we repeat his mistake. I repeat his mistake! However, I want to do better, and as I think about this, I believe God had a purpose in picking a rib as the part necessary to complete man.

  • A rib gives protection to the internal organs.  Important things that keep a man healthy!  Men tend to be a bit abrasive or hard on the outside, but underneath all of that, we are vulnerable.  Just like a rib protects vulnerable organs, my wife is God’s gift to me for protecting and helping me process the feelings I have that I hold inside.  She’s good at it!  Much better than I could ever be on my own.
  • A rib is sturdy, but flexible.  Ribs absorb things that would injure internal organs.  They don’t just snap.  There are too many times that I will do something foolish that brings trouble into our lives.  Where I would be more harsh and possible lash out, my wife is able to absorb it all, protect me from myself, and carry on.  The thing to remember is that when a rib receives a hard blow and is bruised, cracked, or broken, it can bring extreme discomfort until a healing takes place.

The same is true with me and my wife.  When she absorbs something bad (whether or not I am the cause), the pain will linger until a healing takes place.  Time heals things, but open, honest, loving communication works faster.  It is vital to the healing. It is up to ME to notice that my wife is voicing her discomfort, and not take it as nagging, but as a reminder that she is experiencing a pain that I possibly caused.  I need to take care of her to promote the healing in the relationship.  How smart would a person be to not take care of a rib that is hurting?  The same applies here.

  • A rib is at the side of a man.  You don’t see ribs protruding from the front or the back of a skull.  Why?  Because they don’t belong there!  If your skull was made up of bones like ribs you would really be at a disadvantage in life!  They aren’t under foot either.  They would not serve a purpose there. To function as they should, they should be at the side.

I believe God used the rib to remind man that the best place for woman is at his side.  If she is out in front of him, he is not able to be there for her the way he should. My wife is the most important person in my life, and I like to have her beside me so I can protect her.  That doesn’t mean she is weak.  It means she is precious to me.  I want her with me so I can take care of her when she needs to be cared for, and take the physical hit if necessary.

If my wife is behind me, I can’t see her, maybe I can’t even hear her.  She might see something that could cause me harm, but the distance and location make it difficult to communicate the danger.  I can’t see her, so my ability to be there for her if she needs me is also diminished.

God also didn’t plan for me to have my wife stepped on by me.  She is of value and should not be dismissed as the equivalent of a floor surface. She should be held close, in a place of honor.

I want my wife at my side.  I want her to feel loved, appreciated, and cared for.  Men, that’s what we are supposed to do!  She is not there to make our lives easier, but to make us complete.  To complete us in our weaker areas and shore us up, as we are supposed to do for them.  We are to be one flesh and one bone.  Yes, we have two minds, but they should be tuned toward the needs of the other – SELFLESSLY.  That is where the relationship can thrive.  When my wife is at my side I hear her counsel, I can protect her from danger, she can protect me from my own mistakes, we can grow as God intended.  That’s good for both of us, and that is why it is important to keep your wife where she belongs!

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This was a loooong time ago!

I’m not perfect, and my wife can tell you that!  I mess this up more than I want to admit, but it is my Relentless desire to honor God’s plan for how my wife and I should interact.  We do that by staying close, complimenting each other in our strengths and shielding each other in our weaknesses.

I’m not saying that 21 years of marriage gives me the authority to tell people how to live their marriages out, but I am certain that what we work towards in how we relate to each other works.  We have bumpy spots because we are human, but time and again, we have seen how sticking to the plan works and draws us closer.  As we work through things together and share our ideas and our hearts, we build into each other.  My wife is a brilliant woman, and gifted in so many ways, why wouldn’t I want her building into me?

10534681_10204206015501628_1184979595712247813_nSo, here at the end of this post, I hope my point is made.  We can joke about the differences in our gender, and many of those jokes are funny because they are true, but let’s remember that God’s plan was a symbiotic relationship where we each care for the other in the way that they need to be cared for.  It is sad how it all got messed up.

Ladies, no disrespect was intended or directed to you in this.  I hope that message came through clearly.  If it didn’t, blame me.  Just know that I am not perfect, I am in process, and when it comes to being the perfect husband, my wife can tell you that I am not here, but I am trying.  Sometimes VERY trying!

Men, if you can accept the challenge to be the man God created you to be, you might be surprised to see how God can work to bring you and your wife closer together.  So, what’s stopping you?

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Humility: Your Best Escape From Satan’s Reach

9.1.ChristLikeHumility_610947592I mentioned in my last post that I was going to start reading my Chronological Study Bible, and I have really been enjoying it.  Even as I go back through some of these old stories I have known since I was a little guy, I am excited at what God is showing me at this stage in my life. Yes, I am older now with gray hairs and all, so maybe I am just seeing things through an eye that has had to come to grips with a bit of life, so this is making more sense to me now…  Anyway, moving on…

In the account of Adam & Eve in the garden I read something the other day that got me thinking, and then some things happened, I read a quote, and another verse dropped in my lap and I got thinking even more. I have chewed on this for a few days,and now I am ready to write down my thoughts. So, buckle in if you want!

We all know the story of Adam & Eve and the fruit of the tree.  God had put them in the Garden with so many things they could eat and he told them to not eat just one thing.  In reading the account, the command was given specifically to Adam in Chapter 2, but when the serpent made its way into the Garden in Chapter 3, we can see that Adam did pass the message on to Eve – although he might not have been clear.

You see, Adam was told very clearly, “Don’t eat.” However, when the serpent confronts Eve she delivers a slightly different version of the rule to the serpent, “Don’t touch OR eat.” Why the difference?  Not sure.  Is it possible that Eve added that bit herself?  Is it possible that in an effort to protect her, Adam recommended the extra step?  Not sure, but I think in adding that little item, whoever tacked it into the job description, it could have been a contributing factor to the Fall.

See, after Eve tells the serpent that she can’t even touch it, the snake knows that he has her.  There is a falsehood in play now that he can use.  In chapter 3 we see the following exchange:

1Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 2And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” 4But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.

– Genesis 3:1-6

After the serpent told Eve she would not die, I think that she stepped up to the tree and gave it a harder look.  I think Adam was there behind her and was watching to see what was going to happen, but didn’t step up and stop anything.  Eve probably reached out tentatively and very slowly touched the fruit of the tree with a finger tip and NOTHING HAPPENED!  Then she probably took the fruit in her hand and NOTHING HAPPENED! Finally she pulled it from the tree and NOTHING HAPPENED!

At this point what is she supposed to think?  a full 50% of her knowledge regarding behavior toward this tree is now out the window and she is seeing no problems.  Then she looks at the fruit. It looked like it would be good for food, it had a pleasant appearance and looked ready for a bite, and the clincher, “What if it really makes me as wise as God?”

*Crunch*  “Here, Adam, you try.” *Crunch*

And that was all it took.  The temptation had set in, Satan’s trap had sprung, and mankind was now facing a death sentence.  Why?  Because of a lack of humility.

Slide1Jonathan Edwards said it very well, and when I saw this quote the day after reading this passage, I knew I wanted to use it:

“Nothing sets a person so much out of the Devil’s reach as humility.”  Let that simmer for a bit.  Really let it bubble.

What would that have looked like if Eve had chosen humility?  She would have recognized her desire to be like God as a matter of pride.  She would not have eaten the fruit. She might have realized that the serpent was trying to destroy mankind in telling his half truths.  She may have even had Adam step over and do a little pest control!  I’m not sure, but she allowed her relationship with God to be at a place where she considered herself at the minimum, equal with God in that moment.

We all have moments that we are like this.  Think about the times that you just want to other person to admit that you are right.  The times when you just want to have your way.  The times that you just want to be heard.  None of this things are inherently wrong, but what do they potentially lead to?

In my case they have led to harsh words with no thought to the other person’s feelings.  They have led to angry words intended to tear someone down.  They have led to yelling that accomplishes nothing at the end of the day other than, yes, I was heard.  They heard that I was loud, opinionated, and basically, a jerk.

Humility would be a better choice.  If I look at my position and actions as a way to better someone else rather than make myself look good, then I am acting with humility.  If I take the time to determine whether I am looking for something to make someone else feel better by enduring or not allowing myself to lash out, I am acting with humility.

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I am not a humble man by nature.  I have struggled with a need to be right, to be heard, to be acknowledged for much of my adult life.  I hate that about me, but I am not content to stay that way.  Relentless Growth demands that I put myself in a back seat, but it is more than that.  Like Mr. Edwards said, humility is not just sitting back and taking a lump for somebody else.  Sometimes it is a conscious thought-out decision to stand up against Satan and say:

“No.  I have no right to this feeling of indignation.  I have no right to this feeling of injustice.  I am a child of God, bought at a high price that was not deserved.  By allowing my feelings to override what I know to be right according to God’s Word, I am placing my desire to be right over His command to do right, and I will not do that.  I will humble myself to avoid the sin.”

Peter also said it well:

So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor.

– 1 Peter 5:6 NLT

Relentless Growth.  Sometimes it might feel like you are dying to do or say something, but when you choose to be humble in Christ, you are throwing roots down so deeply into Him.  Maybe that’s all we really need to remember.  When we choose humility over exercising our “right” to be heard or obeyed, could we really be acting more like Christ?  Probably not.

Thanks for reading.  I really just wanted to share this with everyone because it really spoke to me.

In HIS Grip,

Tom

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