I don’t know how many of you use twitter, but yesterday there was a hashtag trend on twitter called #ThingsOnlyChristianWomenHear. For those of you who aren’t familiar with hashtag trends, it’s basically a topic that’s getting a lot of tweets from twitter users. I saw it and clicked out of curiosity to see what people were saying. You’re welcome to view the original tweets here. Unfortunately most of the tweets with regards to the trend were ones of women recounting words they heard that belittled them or made them feel disrespected. So I decided to write an in response post appropriately titled, “In Response to #ThingsOnlyChristianWomenHear”.
We empathize with you
First thing I would say to all women who’ve ever felt belittled or disrespected by the things said or done to them within the church, on behalf of the Church, I’m sorry you’ve had these things happen, and I empathize with you in your pain. All of us who strive to live according to the commands of love of God and love of our neighbors condemn any form of belittling or disrespecting of our fellow sisters in Christ. We view each other as equal in salvation through Christ. As Galatians 3:28 states, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
You are not responsible for man’s lust
So one of the main criticisms I heard was about how women have apparently been often referred to as stumbling blocks through their lack of modest dressing “causing” men to lust. Of course that’s not true. As Jesus expressed, if a man looks at a woman with lust, he has committed adultery in his heart. The responsibility is obviously on the man that does the looking, regardless of how the woman dresses. A woman’s dressing modestly is not for the sake of men, but for the sake of honor and obedience to God. For further discussion on this issue, click here to see a post I wrote on this a while ago.
About those different roles
So interestingly a lot of the criticisms I saw in the hashtag were about how men and maybe even some women tell other women, “Women are important, but they just have different roles.” Admittedly, I’ve used that line before myself, but with no intention of offense. For example, the husband and the wife have different descriptions in scripture of how they are to fulfill their role. People can sometimes take issue with the verses expressing that men should lead women, but it gets missed that the man’s leadership is one of selflessness and honor to their wives. Ephesians 5:25 states, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,” 1 Peter 3:7 states, “You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.”
Then there’s the issue of women being preachers of churches. I don’t want to offend any women by saying this, but 1 Timothy 3:2 does state, “An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,” Note the phrase, husband of one wife. And there is a verse in 1 Corinthians 14:34 which states “The women are to keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak, but are to subject themselves, just as the Law also says.” And also 1 Timothy 2:12 states, “But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet.”
I’m not trying to argue anything, but there are verses we have to acknowledge and believe as truth just as we believe everything else wholeheartedly in scripture. Having acknowledged those verses, I will say Apostle Paul made note of women who were helpful to the cause of the Gospel. Romans 16:1 states, “I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea;” Interestingly that word for servant is diakonos, which apparently means “an attendant, i.e. (genitive case) a waiter (at table or in other menial duties); specially, a Christian teacher and pastor (technically, a deacon or deaconess):—deacon, minister, servant. “
Also of note in Acts 18:24-26 it states, “Now a Jew named Apollos, an Alexandrian by birth, an eloquent man, came to Ephesus; and he was mighty in the Scriptures. This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he was speaking and teaching accurately the things concerning Jesus, being acquainted only with the baptism of John; and he began to speak out boldly in the synagogue. But when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.” It can be hard to know what names are masculine or feminine, but Priscilla is a woman. Verse 2 tells us she’s Aquila’s wife, and here we have an example of a woman helping explain things about God more accurately to a man.
I’m not trying to play both sides of the fence here; I’m just saying we have to put all of this information together as one collective belief of what the role of the woman in the church is. I hope and pray to the women who’ve felt disrespected by the church that this post can be of some encouragement. If you know any Christian or formerly Christian women who’ve felt this way, I’d appreciate if you shared this post with them.
Peace to all those who are in Christ.