Please take some time to consider your own story and the ways gender has influenced your own understanding of men and women in relationship to one another and to God.
In my own story I grew up with the strong message that I was supposed to have been a boy from my foster parents. It stirred a lot of conflict within me from an early age. I wanted the approval of my family, but I was not a boy and they made it clear on a regular basis that they were disappointed in that fact.
In-turn I did everything I could to be as much of a boy as possible. I wore boy’s clothes, played exclusively with boys. In my heart I strove to be faster, smarter, and better than the boys in my neighborhood and school. I was driven with a strong need to gain my foster parents acceptance and approval. As my body changed from a girl to young woman I hated it. I wrapped ace bandages around my chest to be as flat as possible. I wore baggy clothes to conceal things. I kept my hair short, like buzz cut short. I wanted girls to like me like they did boys.
In my pre-teen years my foster father significantly rejected me and turned from sexually abusing me to physical abuse. I began to exchange blows with him, often it wasn’t punishment it was shouting matches and physical altercations. My foster mother amped up her sexual abuse and considered me her boy toy. Yes things were a little crazy and messed up in my house!
How do your life experiences influence your view of the roles of men, women, and God?
Well, I saw men as abusive and only wanting one thing. They used their physical power to get it. Women also wanted to use me but they were easier to control because I was on equal footing with them. I honestly didn’t see men and women in any another relational context outside of sexually abusive. I hated that and wanted no part of it so I made a vow to never be in an intimate relationship with men but felt I could at least control women.
I had a limited understanding of God, what I did know is people addressed Him as a male. I think on a subliminal level I wanted nothing to do with a male God who was associated with love. In my mind sex equaled love and if God was love then I wanted nothing to do with Him.
So, when my journey to reconcile my faith and sexuality brought me to the Genesis account and God’s design of gender, it wasn’t surprising that my core-level rejection of His intention for gender came into play. Instead of hearing that yes, God has designed man and woman differently, in a way that is meant to reflect His very image in unique ways (Genesis 1:27), my response was something like this, “men and women are not equal.” “I hate my body and do not see value in my womanhood.”
Genesis 1:26-27 NLT
26 Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.”
27 So God created human beings in His own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
It is my understanding , when God created humanity He did not create a sexless being and then as an afterthought slap on a gender. To be human is to be gendered. With our gender comes gifts and responsibilities we each must shoulder if we are to truly reflect the image of God to one another. These gifts and responsibilities are known as gender roles.
Genesis 2:7 NLT
Then the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person.
Genesis 2:18-22 NLT
18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.”
19 So the Lord God formed from the ground all the wild animals and all the birds of the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would call them, and the man chose a name for each one. 20 He gave names to all the livestock, all the birds of the sky, and all the wild animals. But still there was no helper just right for him.
21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep. While the man slept, the Lord God took out one of the man’s ribs and closed up the opening. 22 then the Lord God made a woman from the rib, and he brought her to the man.
23 “At last!” the man exclaimed. “This one is bone from my bone, and flesh from my flesh! She will be called ‘woman,’ because she was taken from ‘man.’ ”
In the sight of God both man and woman are equal not in form or function, but in essence. Neither one has more or less value in standing before their maker. Even in assigning Eve as Adam’s helper, God emphasized her equality by designating her as a perfectly suited helper for Adam. In verse 23, Adam in turn affirms God’s perfect design of his complementary helper.
Psalm 139:13-16 NLT
13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
16 You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.
God carefully and thoughtfully gave us the gift of our gender as we were formed in our mother’s womb. From a Biblical perspective God designed gender to be a core component of our identity. It is important to remember, that we are created in the image of God. We are designed with intention, purpose, excellence and inherent dignity. When we reject or change God’s gift of gender; it is a form of arrogance and disrespect for our creator. Friends, may we strive to recover our God given gift of gender and aspire to reflect his image to others through our gender roles.
Who determines our gender God or culture? Why?
What is the role of gender in our lives?
Since there have been abuses of gender roles, does that mean there are no uses for God ordained gender roles?
Thanks for following my Journey