Men, I have to ask you some questions. These are difficult questions for many of us to answer, but they are important:
How are you treating the women in your life?
How do you treat your wife?
How do you treat your daughters?
How do you treat your mother and your mother-in-law?
The reason I ask these questions is because, as I counsel couples in struggling marriages, I keep encountering women who are deeply wounded. This wound comes from the culture around us.
For thousands of years, women have been seen as second-class citizens, suffering from neglect, abuse, and disrespect at the hands of men throughout history.
During the time of Christ, they were treated like cattle and traded like any other property. In many societies, that’s still the case today.
Even here in the United States, women have had to fight for their right to be heard. As amazing as it sometimes sounds, women were not allowed to vote in the U.S. until 1920. Today they still have to fight for equal pay in the workplace.
In many careers, they struggle to be taken seriously. Women in politics are viciously attacked far more than their male counterparts. Women are almost always depicted as being intellectually inferior.
Disdain. Condescension. Ridicule. In far too many ways and for far too many years, these have been the things women have come to expect.
Compare this reality with the life of Jesus, who continually fought for the rights of women. During his ministry, Jesus engaged women in intellectual conversation, praised them for wanting to learn, invited them to follow Him and become disciples.Throughout the Gospels, we see Jesus challenging His culture’s deep-seated, patriarchal assumptions about women. He had a special place in His heart for the overlooked, the marginalized, and the powerless.
Invisible and dominated, women clearly fit into those categories. That’s why the way Jesus treated women was such a scandal in first-century Palestine.
One of the great scandals of our time is that Christian men—many of whom otherwise are striving to follow Jesus—still tend to discount women. They do it in the workplace, in the government, in churches, and even in the home.
Too often, men have not cherished their wives enough to fight for them. Too often, I see husbands focused on themselves but unwilling to help their wives come to their full potential.
A man who loves Jesus is a man who treats women with respect. He loves his wife with sacrificial love. He loves his daughters, holds them in high esteem, and respects them just like Jesus showed respect to women in His day. He even honors his mother and respects his mother-in-law.
A man after God’s own heart is a man who shows respect to women—not just those in his own life, but women everywhere.