Monday, April 24, 2017

Things Only Christian Women Hear?

Last week, the hashtag #ThingsOnlyChristianWomenHear was trending on Twitter, and there were some beautiful things that were said. Such as:

There is no place a woman can find her greatest joy and worth than in her Maker, Jesus Christ, being encouraged and built up by His bride, the church. The world uses and abuses women, this crooked and twisted generation that we live in (Philippians 2:15). The church is where she can know she is cherished.

But then there were those bitter souls who hijacked the hashtag to express their grievances with Christianity -- which has never solved a single problem in the church ever...

Notice that they're complaining about something the Bible says. So their problem is not with the church -- it's with God. That's not the side of an argument you want to be on. A number of complaints had to do with attire. Apparently these ladies have quite a chip on their shoulders about being told what is proper for a woman to wear and what is not respectable. For example:

Two questions come to mind. First of all, how many of the fashion police are men and how many are women? In my experience in church (which is my whole lifetime), I've heard far more women admonish one another for their attire than I've heard men criticize revealing apparel. So don't automatically assume men are the purveyors in these instances.

Secondly, have you not read that "women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control," known by their godly behavior and not by drawing attention to their appearance? (1 Timothy 2:9-10) And that your adorning should be "the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious"? (1 Peter 3:4)

A woman who fears the Lord "dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong. Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come" (Proverbs 31:17, 25). By contrast, a woman who thinks she has to show skin, cleavage, or leg in order to have influence or gain recognition is neither strong nor dignified, and probably has no fear of God.

Consider that last comment where the woman says, "Don't wear [blank] because it could cause your brother to stumble." Now, men are responsible to take every thought captive and make it obey Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). But it's inconsiderate of any woman to dress however little she wants and not think about how it will affect her Christian brothers.

Ladies, don't you want men to be considerate regarding your mind and heart? Then you should also be considerate regarding how a man's mind works. Contrary to what the culture wants you to believe, men and women are wired differently. How a man views a woman who is dressed immodestly is different than the way a woman perceives it. And it is as selfish for a woman to expect men to think like her as it is for men to insist women get used to living in a man's world.

Remember, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." If you want more respect, then be more respectful. If you want empathy, be more empathetic. If you don't get what you want, remember that you work for the Lord and not for men (Colossians 3:23). The whole point of the golden rule is not to get what you think you deserve. It's realizing that you don't deserve the love of God, but He gave it to you anyway, so you must share that same love with others.

The ground is level at the foot of the cross, where Christ died for the sins of men and women. No one earns the favor of God because they're a man or because they're a woman. All have sinned and fallen short of His glory, and all those who are His have been forgiven their sins and given His life. Men and women are both made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), and both are fellow heirs in the kingdom of God (1 Peter 3:7).

You must love others as you are loved, even if they've done nothing to deserve it. Loving others means you deliberately consider the needs of others (Philippians 2:3-4). There are things for men to work on and for women to work on. Ladies, you must think about what you wear. The Bible commands you to. Do that with joy, knowing that you are serving the Lord Christ.

"But everyone else dresses this way!" is a common retort. "Everyone else is wearing a bikini! Everyone goes to the store in yoga pants!" You're not called to dress like everyone else. You are called to be holy in all your conduct (1 Peter 1:15). To be holy means to be set apart. You are not to conform to the pattern of this world but to obey the will of God (Romans 12:2).

God created your body, and His works are beautiful. "I am fearfully and wonderfully made," David praised. "Wonderful are your works! My soul knows it very well" (Psalm 139:14). Since God is the designer, He gets to decide how one is to treat their body. This goes for men as much as it goes for women. There are parts of you the world is not meant to see. So dress modestly.

Perhaps you need to learn to "count it all joy, my brothers [and sisters], when you meet trials of various kinds" (James 1:2). And you need to do that first before taking your grievances to Facebook or Twitter. Slandering the church is demonic. Watch out that you're not like the wicked servant who beats his fellow servants in Matthew 24:45-51. God will cut you into pieces and throw you out with the hypocrites.

The church is certainly not perfect, but unlike the world, it is being perfected by the love of Christ. Churches are full of sinners, after all. People can still get hurt and hearts can still be broken even in the church. But God's people have been given His grace, and that grace is shared with one another. Even on its worst days, the church is far more beautiful than this fallen and unforgiving world.

We must love the church as Jesus loves the church. He gave Himself up for her, and is sanctifying her by the washing of water with the word, according to Ephesians 5:26, "that He might present to church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish." He is not cleansing her with hashtag wars. And neither should you.