With all the recent chatter across the social media regarding the role of women and the topic of women as pastors, we’ll help the discussion with these great articles by Ms. Sandra Ostapowich. Here we learn the God-Given differences between men and women and why they’re important and how they relate to the Gospel! This article orginally appeared in the Summer 2009 issue of Higher Things Magazine.
by Sandra Ostapowich
“It’s a girl!”
That was possibly the first stitch God made when He began to knit you together in your mother’s womb. (Check out Psalm 139.) By making you you, God placed you into a lifetime of circumstances and opportunities different from those He designed for those XY types.
God intended humanity to be in relationships with Himself and with other people. After all, man by himself wasn’t good, so the Lord created a woman. He could have whipped up another batch of His Adam recipe, but that just would have made more of what wasn’t good already. Instead, God specifically created woman to be in relationship with man to solve the problem of being alone. Neither man nor woman is created to be independent of the other.
They both had roles to fill as man and woman, loving and serving each other. Woman was created for a specific purpose—to love and trust the man the Lord gave her. Man was given the opportunity to love and authority to care for the beautiful, perfect creature God made just for him.
And then… you know the story: serpent, forbidden fruit, nakedness, fig leaves, sin. Sin messes up everything.
Every individual is corrupted by sin. All relationships are now corrupted too. We do whatever is necessary to protect ourselves. We pick at flaws and do and say hurtful things to others. What the Lord created to be a relationship of serving the other has deteriorated into selfishness.
The inherent desire of women to be in a relationship with a man now has been corrupted by sin so much that we make unwise decisions. Among other things, we’re tempted to compromise our values in dangerous ways to get or keep a man— eating disorders, giving in to go all the way (or most of the way), putting up with mistreatment. As if that wasn’t enough, we’re also tempted to manipulate, compete, and generally do whatever we can to prove that we’re better than men, don’t need men, or don’t want men.
Men are sinners too. Serving and providing for the women God gave them was supposed to be a joyous privilege. Now, with sin, they’re tempted to use women for their own wishes, take advantage of them, and prey on their sin-corrupted desires. Relationships can be dangerous. Caution is a necessity.
But Scripture tells us that this arrangement of woman trusting man and man loving woman still holds. (Of course, this takes place within vocation; in other words, daughters submit to fathers and wives to husbands, not to the stranger at the bus stop or the loudmouth in the school hallway.) It is still His perfect design for us today because we have another example of it after the Fall: Christ and His Bride, the Church.
“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, His body, and is Himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands” (Ephesians 5:21–23).
Did that make you bristle a bit? “No way! Does that mean she’s just a slave to him, to do whatever he wants whenever he wants? That’s not fair. And worse, that just sets her up to be mistreated! God couldn’t have meant that.”
That’s all sin-talk. Repent. Along with that, maybe we should find out what submission is.
God the Son became man, taking on all our sins and dying for us. Through Baptism, we are holy and sinless in His eyes. Jesus considered us more important than Himself and gave everything He had to serve us and look out for our good. God calls us, as women, to submit to certain men. We don’t have a problem submitting to the Lord, so why would we doubt that our earthly husbands would do anything less for us? That doesn’t mean we’re commanded to slavishly cater to their every whim while they order us around and threaten punishment for disobedience.That’s not how Christ husbands His Bride. Remember, it says to “submit to your husbands as to the Lord.” The Lord looks out for us. We trust Him to do just that as husbands do for their wives. Submission is really just serving someone as you trust them to do their vocation for you.
But you don’t have a husband to whom you are to submit. Now what? The Lord has still provided men in your life to care for you and look after your best interests— especially at church. Your father, pastor, and elders have been given authority from God, not to wield it like a weapon but to serve you. Trust them to do that as you trust the Lord to care for you.
God says in Scripture that being a woman is important and wonderful. The universe was not perfectly perfect until God made woman. God knit you together to be a woman, and so you are. He made you His own child in Christ through Baptism, and so you are. You are who you are because He did what He has done for you.
It’s an amazing thing to be specially created just to be loved and cherished, not just by God but by the men to whom we submit because they are gifts from God to us as well. We are truly blessed!