Hubby’s Lil Helper???

I recently read and reviewed Courtney Joseph’s book, Women Living Well.  As I said in my review, much of what she shares in the book is great advice.  However, a large chunk of it is based upon a misunderstanding of who God created women to be.  Many modern Christian women, like Joseph, have the understanding that women were created to be their husband’s helper–and for them, that means that they are to serve their husbands hand and foot, obey them, and have sex with them as often as possible.  I’ve spent a lot of time (over a decade and a half!) studying these issues from a biblical perspective, and I would like to offer a few quick thoughts on the topic.  (I’ve tried to complement what I’ve learned with some quick web links with additional info when I can so as not to give you too much reading to do, but to give you a start to research if you’d like.  These are not academic sites, but do have the information I wanted to share with you in a format that is easily accessible on the page I have linked.  Please use due diligence if you decide to view more pages on that site.)

First, I want to address the “helper.”  Unfortunately, most Christians today can’t read Hebrew or Greek.  In fact, most of us wouldn’t know where to find a good Bible that shows the original translation along with the English (or even know that such a thing exists!).  If you do have one of these Bibles, you can look up the word for “helper” in that one verse in Genesis.  It’s “ezer kenegdo.” This doesn’t mean ‘helper’ in the sense that it is often interpreted today.  In fact, in the Bible, this word ‘ezer’ is only ever used to refer to God or a nation of great strength coming to the aid of Israel.  The actual interpretation is something more along the lines of ‘Life-saver.’  ‘Ezer’ alone denotes strength and power. ‘Kenegdo’ refers to a perfect, mutual partnership.  A perfect match.  Here are some really interesting pages that highlight these points:

http://www.godswordtowomen.org/ezerkenegdo.htm

http://rachelheldevans.com/blog/mutuality-adam-eve

Also, read Captivating, by John & Stasi Eldredge. (read & loved!)

Second, I’d like to address the “husband is the head of the wife” fallacy.  Yes.  There is a verse in the Bible that says exactly this.  However, that verse is widely taken out of context and misunderstood.  (I have some great recommendations for reading on this topic if you’d like!) We cannot make a decision about what God created women to be from ONE VERSE!  We have to look at the entire biblical record.  So, I want to give you just a few examples.

1.  Sapphira.  Ever heard of this gal?  She would be the star of the ‘help-meet’ crowd because she followed her husband’s lead, even when he wasn’t there.  She didn’t put him down in front of others.  She didn’t question his authority or his decisions.  And, guess what?  She ended up dead, right along with him.  Her hubby, Ananias, decided to sell some land and donate money to the church.  However, even though he had every right to only give some of the proceeds, he lied about it and said that he gave all the money to the church.  God killed him on the spot.  Just a little while later, Sapphira comes into the room.  Peter asks her if they had indeed sold the land for the price quoted by her husband.  Obedient wife that she is, she says yes.  And she also drops dead on the spot.  Because she didn’t stand up to her husband and do what was right, Sapphira ended up destroying her life.  We don’t know all the details, but, perhaps if she had taken a stand to her husband, they both might have avoided this destruction. Acts 5

I’ve heard too many women saying that they know their husband’s decisions are wrong, but they’re the husband.  They’re the ones who will have to stand before God.  As if, somehow, women are not held accountable for our own actions.  We have the responsibility to help our husbands avoid destruction through sin–not only of themselves, but of our entire families.  Whether it’s bad financial decisions (buying a vehicle you can’t afford) or spiritual failings (watching movies that you shouldn’t), your voice could be the one that saves your family from destruction.

2.  Abigail.  I love the story of Abigail.  King David and his men are on the run from Saul.  They’ve been hiding out in the mountains, helping to guard the flocks of some local folks from marauders and predators.  So, David decides to go to one of these folks, a man named Nabal, and ask for some food.  The man says NO WAY.  Then he goes back to his party.  David’s decision is to go in and destroy Nabal and his family.  Fortunately, Nabal’s wife, Abigail, hears about it.  She doesn’t cower in the corner, saying that someday her husband will be held accountable.  NO!  She springs into action!  She orders the best meal prepared for David and his men and immediately sends a messenger to David telling him that she is glad to serve him and his men.  Though God does punish her husband by killing him, Abigail and the rest of her family are safe.  And, guess what, she gets to marry David!  1 Samuel 25

Ladies…God did not create you to sit on your laurels and watch while your husbands make bad decisions.  He also didn’t create you to nag them!  But if you see something happening that isn’t right, stand up for the truth.  Pray about it, ask God to show you the best way to respond, but DO SOMETHING!  God will reward your obedience to him.

These aren’t the only two stories I’d like to share, but they are two of my favorites because they certainly illustrate what God thinks of the idea that women are supposed to be nothing more than ‘hubby’s lil helper.’  For some other great stories–check out Esther, Ruth, and Tamar.  Not only were these gals rewarded for following GOD, not just being obedient little wives–but they were honored by Him by being included in the genealogy of our Savior.

Finally, I want to address the whole sex thing.  The church fathers would have been appalled at the idea that women should be trying to give their men more intimacy.  They believed that sex in itself was evil and should only be tolerated for the purposes of reproduction.  In fact, Martin Luther thought God would have done better to keep making people out of clay!  (Check out some of the interesting quotes compiled on this site:  http://whychurchfatherswerenegativeaboutsex.blogspot.com/)  So, where does this idea that men are all about sex come from?  A ‘psychologist’ named Alfred Kinsey, who surveyed prostitutes & prison inmates and paid child molesters to report back to him.  This is where our modern day understanding of sexual desire comes from.  (Suggested Reading:  Kinsey:  Crimes & Consequences–it’s highly disturbing, but will give you candid facts about the ‘research’ Kinsey conducted and how that has guided modern society’s views of sexuality.)  Obviously, BOTH of these sources were incorrect in their views of sexuality–and I think we all need to go back to the Bible to see what God says about that, too!

Isn’t it ironic that we have modern women combining the misguided notions about women from over 1,000 years ago with the misguided research of a man who paid people to molest children and saying that this is the will of God for women.  We need to go back to the Bible, folks.  And not just to one verse or two…but to the entire record of God’s work with humanity.  We need to look for the stories that show us how He actually perceived women.  And we will find that His view of who we are is much different than the one so often preached to us.

Just one final thought…I don’t know about you gals, but my husband doesn’t want some docile wife who doesn’t have an opinion or dreams or a purpose of her own.  He wants ME–me with all my flaws, my dreams, and my passions.  He loves me for who I am, not for what I can do for him.  And that’s what I want for my daughter–a vital relationship where she and her husband journey out in life together with a mutual purpose.  I don’t want her to have to stop being who she is the moment she gets married.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this!

Karen

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