Equality has been a social buzz word for most of my life. People want equality for various, usually righteous reasons. Through God’s eyes, equality is less complicated than we’ve made it. For instance, Martin Luther King had a vision for equality that I believe was God-inspired. Sadly, politicians and others took his dream and used the word equality more often to divide rather than unite.
In like manner, it took women nearly 100 years to win the equal right to vote. It wasn’t expedient for the political power structure of the day, apparently. Today, however, at the stroke of a pen, a president or governor can allow convicted felons and non-citizens to vote in America. I’m not advocating for or against these actions. We are looking at equality, particularly for women.
In the Church, one of the biggest points of contention between (and within) Protestant denominations is how women are treated.
If you read any of the numerous articles concerning Beth Moore recently, you know that she finally grew weary of the Southern Baptist Convention’s sniping and criticisms of her. Early this month Moore publicly declared her departure from the SBC. One of the largest kerfuffles surrounding Moore involved the fact that she spoke, by invitation, at a few churches on a Sunday morning….
A Biblically-sound, Christian woman, speaking to a church on Sunday morning.
It’s difficult for me to fathom the abuse Beth Moore has suffered at the hands of fellow Christians.
Equality in Man’s Eyes
Individuals want equality in areas that are important to their health and welfare – housing, employment, accessibility to education, etc.
Different races or genders call for equality if they are being minimized or sidelined in daily living and are suffering as a result. For example, over half a century after pay discrimination became illegal, there remains a significant pay gap between women and men in the workplace. This inequity has a negative impact on working women throughout their lives, i.e. pensions, social security.
Many politicians campaign on equality in order to garner more power, i.e. more votes.
However, often the true sufferers of inequity are co-opted by those who are using them to gain power or for financial gain for themselves. Why do people take advantage of those in true need of assistance?
Jeremiah 17:9 gives us the answer.
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?
Equality Through His Eyes
I could regale you with many stories of Jesus treating women with grace and honor, and this in an era when females were considered mere property. The Samaritans were a despised, half-breed people, so the woman at the well would have reason to be doubly dishonored. She not only had those strikes against her, but this woman had been married 5 times and was living with a sixth man. For this reason alone, the Samaritan woman was held in the lowest esteem.
Yet, Jesus approached her and asked her for a drink of water, an unheard of gesture in his day. His gentle acceptance led to her salvation, (see John 4:1-42.)
What Else Did Jesus Do?
Then we have the “woman of the city who was a sinner,” (how would you like to have that title?) She came to Simon’s house and washed the feet of Jesus with perfume and tears, (Lk. 7:36-50.) This woman was lifted out of her misery by the Lord of Life. Jesus praised her above the wealthy host at whose house He was dining. Why? Because she humbled herself before Him and expressed a desire to repent.
Simon, the host, simply wanted bragging rights for having the popular, new prophet at his table.
There is the widow whose son Jesus raised from the dead because she would have been destitute without a husband or a son. And the desperate woman who attempted to secretly touch Jesus in a crowd in order to be healed, but Jesus knew that power had gone out from Him. He stopped everything so that He could give her the personal touch she needed.
Oh! There are more examples, but you can see that man has failed miserably in following Jesus’ example in raising up our sisters to a place of equality both in and outside of the Church! Indeed, we have all failed at embracing our brothers and sisters with equal love and kindness. Let me be the first to confess to it!
Paul a Bigot? Hmmm
I’m aware that there are Christians who view the apostle Paul as a bigot. However, I have great difficulty reconciling the man who wrote Galatians and Colossians with what I consider a bigot. Of course, I am open to your input.
Paul wrote in Ephesians 3:25-28, ESV:
But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave[a nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Again, in Colossians 3:11, ESV:
Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self[a] with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.
Equality: Overarching Theme of NT
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,
John 1:12, ESV
The Ephesians and Colossians passages don’t leave anyone out. Paul lists every division he can think of in that day because he desperately wants them to know what John said in chapter 1. ALL who receive the Lord – that means anyone, everyone, regardless of race or gender, slave or free – are given the right to become God’s children. Moreover, when we become His children, those manmade divisions don’t apply to our relationship with Christ…and shouldn’t apply to our relationships with other believers.
We are all one in Him.
That’s why Christ could speak to harlots, multi-racial women, or women at all! That’s why he could eat with sinners – Jesus loves. When we believe on His name and receive Him, the barriers between us and Him are removed. Sadly, manmade divisions will remain, but they don’t have to be the focus of our lives.
Because Christ is the main thing. He is all and in all.