Meg Miller talks about why the church take a kind of divided view of male and female healing from sexual and other sins.
Meg Miller Won’t Be Coddled
Who nailed it for this week? Since we tackled the uber-sensitive topic of racial reconciliation last week I’ve decided to press my luck and share with you a surprising and insightful column about how differently the Church treats women and men. And it’s from a woman’s perspective, no less. I’m betting that what she says will surprise you just like it did me.
I’m Joel Fieri, Executive Producer of Christian Podcast Central. And this is “The Best Thing You’ll Hear This Week”
I’ve mentioned David Murrow and his ministry Church For Men before on this podcast, and I told you we’d be hearing more from him. Well, last week he threw a curve at us in a very interesting blog post. Dave turned over his blog to a female guest who, like me, is a regular commenter on his various social media offerings. Her name is Meg Miller, and she has a bit of an unusual story about her husband’s porn addiction and the resulting help that both of them received from their church community.
You can read about it here; Meg’s story caught my attention right from the title; “Five Reasons Churches Correct Men and Coddle Women”. If that doesn’t get you reading further then nothing will. The gist of her story is that after her husband’s porn addiction was revealed and they both sought counseling and support, Meg noticed a big difference in the way they were each responding to their counseling sessions and to the people that were trying to help them. On the one hand her husband emerged from his sessions “excited, refreshed, focused, challenged, equipped, and connected to me”, while she “…walked out of my support group angry – more and more offended by his sin”.
Her profound analysis is this; “The difference? His group offered forgiveness. Mine offered coddling. The men in my husband’s group were brutally honest about their failings. But they ended each meeting with assurance of pardon: you are forgiven. The women in my group indulged, affirmed, and sympathized with one another. I was taught how to cope with my husband’s failures, while being shielded from the reality of my own. My support group was full of wonderful, well-intentioned women, inviting me to live an unexamined life.”
As the title suggests, Meg goes on to give five reasons why churches take this kind of divided view of male and female healing from sexual and other sins;
Because women usually have a good case. Let’s admit it: men’s sins are often more visible than women’s.
Because confronting a woman suggests a man is off the hook. We do live in a judgmental era, especially towards men.
Because women often hear correction as blame. In short, the person offering correction risks being misheard.
Because suffering is seen as unhealthy. Modern society teaches us to avoid suffering. And when a woman is suffering, we only offer encouragement and pain management. But as Meg puts it, “sin doesn’t require medication – it requires amputation. (Mark 9:43-48)”
Because we are afraid women will get angry and withdraw. Any time we confront a believer with his or her sin, we run the risk of offending them to the point they leave us. And women are the backbone of American churches.
There is so much more in this post and it’s all good. Please give it a read and share it with others.
From my perspective it is rather unusual to hear this kind of analysis from a woman, although it really shouldn’t be. We’re all fallen, sinful beings. We’re called to hold each other accountable, both men and women. I believe this speaks to a larger issue at the root of so many of the tensions currently affecting society and the church; victimization. Not that this woman wasn’t a victim. She was. Her husband’s sin hurt her deeply. But she decided not to accept the coddling of others and prayed that she would see her own sin and asked God to change her. She even took ownership for her part in her husband’s failure. She had a “sin amputation”. That takes spiritual maturity!
This doesn’t apply to just women. It applies to all who seek victim status and the special treatment (call it coddling if you want) that comes with it, for all offenses, real or imagined. And worst of all, this victim status provides justification for not only blaming others for our pain and failure, but also, as Meg brilliantly states, it invites us to live “an unexamined life”.
Meg Miller saw through all this, and I think it was a true gift from the Holy Spirit that she did. Kudos to Dave Murrow for allowing her to share her story. But most of all praise God for the healing she’s had in her marriage, and for the insight it offers us all, men and women. It is the Best Thing You’ll Hear This Week!