The world is constantly turning upside down, from the issues of Ebola in Africa, to the craziness in the Middle East with ISIS, to the crisis of sex ratio in India and China, causing an increase in human sex trafficking. This is the world that we live in, and one simply cannot deny that it is not a reality. As Christians, we have been given a pretty good heads up on the psychotic turn that humanity will take because of sin and also because things are wrapping up for Jesus’s Second Coming. So while these things may come to our ears, and whole-heartedly disagree with such things, it also does not surprise us. However, just because this is the case with the world we find ourselves in, does not mean that it is something that we should find ourselves in, in our own lives as Christians.
What do I mean?
Well, just about a week ago I read an article on CNN.com that was explaining the crisis of sex ratio in India. For about 1,000 males that are born, only 800 girls are born. The article went on to explain that because of selective abortion practices, the ability to kill baby girls is easily available to parents who find themselves conceiving a baby girl. Since a girl is a curse to them and to their tradition, they kill them, leaving no future brides, which leaves men not able to marry, which is also a curse. The article explained that because of this crisis, the men are desperate and pay to have mail order brides; where do they come from? They don’t care, as long as they get a wife…which leads to increase of human sex trafficking. It also has lead to a high sexual violence rate in India, where they publicly have ganged raped several women in Delhi, as if taking out their anger. How dare you be a woman….yet how dare you not get married. And if things aren’t hard enough, once these raped women return back to their villages or homes, if they are lucky, they are ostracized and ridiculed, because by them coming home after being raped, they have brought shame to their village. And the poor girl is left with absolutely nowhere to go; with a country that hates them, with men who treat them as property, and with parents who view them as a curse. It is not their fault that they were born a girl.
And you know what, even though us Americans, or others from first world countries would cry out in horror at such a disgusting act, and we hold our head high with pride saying, “Well that doesn’t happen here at home, and if it did, the authorities would be immediately on their case,” but we struggle with the exact same thing, just on the opposite end, but the signs and symptoms are there.
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How many men have you heard that when they get married, they joke about no longer being free, and are now bound, with chains and shackles? Bachelor and bachelorette parties going to stripers because now it is just one person they are bound to? How many women have you heard that make the exasperated remark, “What do you expect, he is just a man, he will never understand?” How many times have you heard the comment, “You throw like a girl?” Or the men comment, “She is the boss now, I have no opinion over the matter?” Wedding cake toppers of women dragging men who are trying to run away, or women thinking they have to look over every detail, because men are not capable or men being bothered by nagging or women being accused of being too emotional? How many times men have gone to women just to satisfy a physical, sexual desire, leaving the women feeling used, and the women holding sex over the men’s head in order to accomplish something? And the question the guy asks sometimes, “Why can’t girls be more like guys?” It leads to women rolling their eyes when men say, “Well there you go, there is something else that you don’t need me for.”
It leads to mistrust. It leads to stagnant, depressed marriages and relationships. It leads to explosive arguments over the stupidest things that hide a mirage of countless of hurts, which are really a big deal. It leads to no communication, no sharing. It leads to a busy life to avoid each other, to avoid confrontation, because it is pointless…so we end up in a relationship that once held so much promise to where now we… just tolerate each other.
We use all these tricks to make the other person “fall in love” with us. Girls with all these “social rules” of when it is okay to answer a guy back over the phone, or text, wearing insane amount of make up or wearing certain clothes. Ranging to where girls act from super needy to being super independent and completely on their own, stopping for no one, especially a man. Where men sometimes are closed off, and distant, frustrated as if their wife’s needs are an inconvenience. Where guys have this web of complicated ways of playing the game, to even sleeping around with girls, so that they can have longer sex and make the girl reach her climax for a protracted amount of time? As if that is the mark of a true man.
And we sometimes enter into relationships with all these unnecessary games, and drama, of who slept with who, and Joe told Annie that he no longer wants Kate, but Jen, and Jen is Annie’s best friend, who is also friends with Kate, yet Joe is making passes on Annie, but Annie likes Rob, who is Joe’s friend….blah blah blah, do you see what I mean?
You may think I am taking this too seriously, and that I am hacking away at the nitty gritty, that I am making it into a bigger deal than what it is, that the majority of this thinking are just jokes, but I am sorry, you are wrong. Divorce rates are not saying that this is a joke. Broken families, and foster care children are not saying it is a joke. Abused men and women are not saying it is a joke.
Because at the bottom line, these scenarios holds the exact same principal of what I just finished explaining about India: a rejection of the sanctity of relationships. And unfortunately, the Christian home is nowhere near better than the statistics of the secular world.
When was the last time you have stopped and considered that relationships are something holy? Something that should be cherished, valued, fought for at all costs, held in high regard, and not something to be tossed around flippantly? Have you ever stopped to think that relationships are the only way, truly, that God does His work? What would have happened if God never made His covenant promise of a Messiah to Adam and Eve? What would have happened if God did not search Abraham to remind him of this covenant relationship? What would have happened if Christ did not come down as Man to accomplish the story of Redemption? Honestly, stop and consider it, if it were not the vehicle of relationship, what would we have left? A narcissistic, authoritarian god demanding his way or else…sounds to me like the devil.
Men were never meant to be like women. And women were never meant to be like men. So instead of trying to warp one to be like the other, how about appreciating and valuing what it is that makes us unique, different, and something to be reckoned with? A woman is not possible without a man, and a man is not possible without a woman. Creation showed that and even Paul says, “For as woman came from man, so also is man born of woman,” (1 Cor. 11:12).
Listen, if relationships were never meant to be a big deal, and were never meant to have the potential to be something beautiful and amazing, then God wouldn’t have used that avenue. Period. He does not tantalize us with things that can be if the potential was never there to begin with. If marriage, the relationship between a man and wife, were never meant to have a powerful love that surpasses all things on this planet, then He would not have used it as the first relationship on this earth. Simple as that.
Instead of grumbling how crappy things turned out, why not stop and ask, “What am I missing? What is God trying to tell me to get that I am not getting?” This requires an insane amount of humility and vulnerability. It may even lead you to apologize to things that maybe you never did to begin with…the point is to breech that gap and establish trust, and reliability. True love always leaves the potential for getting hurt. Just look at God. It is a risk you are going to have to take if you are tired of living the way you are living. No relationship has the guarantee of being hurt free. It just boils down to what it is that you are looking for. Is it going to be a selfish love, which is oxymoronic really, or is it a selfless love?
Today, parents almost have the potential to even choose the gender of their baby, but either way, once you are born, you are born, and you couldn’t control if you were boy or girl. It is not your fault if you are a boy and it is not your fault if you are a girl. So instead of hurling accusations across each other of how the man ought to be more in touch of his feminine side, and guys demanding that girls be more like guys, why don’t we just let girls be girls and guys be guys and love each other for it?
When the creation of mankind entered the picture in Genesis, verse 27 in chapter 1 starts out, “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.” Why on earth would the Bible take the time to make the distinction of both male and female when God was creating mankind in His image? Could it be that God has both male characteristics and female characteristics in His character? You read throughout the Bible God being referred to as the Lion of Judah, another time He is being referred to as a hen gathering her chicks. He chases and pursues yet He looks to be loved and accepted. He is powerful and strong, and He is gentle and comforting. He calls the shots and other times, He agrees to another idea of doing things. When a man and a woman come together in the context of marriage, it is the most powerful and it is the closest representation of who God is on earth.
A man represents something of God that only a man can truly represent, and a woman represents something of God that only a woman can truly represent, and when you get man and woman together, you are suppose to get a holistic picture of God. This is why it is important to have both parents in the home for their kids; it is the first picture of God that they see. This is also why homosexuality does not work in the context of God, it is an imbalance in the character of God, even then in homosexual couples, you have someone playing the male role and someone else is playing the female role.
And this also explains why our relationships and marriages are such in bad shape overall. If it were something that is meant to help share the most holistic picture of God, wouldn’t it make sense then that it is something that is always under attack, something that is “always” being shown that it will not work? What is meant to be one of the most beautiful things on earth to show God’s love is instead being used by the devil to give one of the most grotesque, disgusting pictures of God.
A woman was never meant to be afraid of her man, and a man was never meant to view his wife as a chore. Instead, they are meant to delight in each other and support each other. I am not saying that you never get angry, what I am saying is that because you see that it is worth it, something that is holy, you will stick to it and not run away, whether it be by neglect, or divorce, abuse, or tolerance.
Nicole Parker, the wife of one of my religion professors at Southern one day came to us pastors and talked to us about relationships. And she said this that has stuck into my mind, “If your focus of a relationship is to be happy, you will fail. If your focus of a relationship is to be holy, you will be happy.”
Relationships are holy. If you treat relationships like the majority of families from India, to the typical family of first world country, you are acting the same way, disregarding the sanctity of relationships. But if you are a true Christian, the way the Bible talks about it, your relationships will be something you hold dear, something you work at, something that you will sacrifice yourself for because He first loved you; you love because He first loved you (1 John 4:19).