Looking for Causes and Cures
Part Three of this series exposes the hidden beliefs empowering the spirit of misogyny and misandry.
What is at the Root of Today’s Gender Issues?
When I was a college student a certain number of science courses were mandatory in order for me to graduate even though I was a liberal arts major. So I was required to study evolution and write an essay about that supposed process in order to pass. I recall ending my essay with this comment: “It all began in a Garden.” That Garden is where we will start the third and final part of Gender Issues.
First, I want to take a quick look at a concept explored much more fully by John Sandford in his outstanding book The Renewal of the Mind. We all are aware that we inherit a natural gene set from our parents. We also inherit a spiritual gene set. This spiritual inheritance includes a fallen way of thinking that resulted when Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden. John Sandford states it this way, “Root systems inherited from Adam and Eve are common to all; no one has escaped having them.”
We can see this principle revealed in Romans 5 which explains that through Adam (one man) ALL were made sinners. Since we are all descendants of Adam and Eve, we all have inherited from our ancient parents certain automatic ways of thinking about gender. Don’t despair! There are ways to overcome these ingrained mental thought patterns because “through the obedience of the One (Jesus) the many will be made righteous.” I will discuss those tools later in the article.
Let’s visit what happened in the Garden after Adam and Eve fell for the devil’s scam. When the Lord asked Adam if he had eaten from the forbidden tree, Adam replied, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate” (Genesis 3:12). Adam blamed Eve for his very own, could-have-chosen differently, choice to eat. He blamed her AND he blamed God.
This very first blame shifting resulted in a mental groove that all of humanity runs along. We automatically shy away from taking responsibility for our own actions, instead we find someone or something to blame for our bad choices. We don’t even have to think about it! It’s automatic.
How does this affect our relationship with the opposite gender? We blame the man or we blame the woman. If he or she would just change then we would be happy and successful! Do you see how this way of thinking causes us to believe that the man or the woman possesses a dangerous power to affect our lives for good or ill?
Let’s stop and pray: Father God, Creator of Heaven and Earth, I repent for myself and for my ancestors for accepting the lie that You have given the opposite gender the power to ruin my life. My life is hidden in You. Forgive me and forgive my people for blaming You and for blaming him or her for the choices I have made. Bring this inherited mental groove of ducking responsibility and blame shifting to death within me. Build into me the mind of Christ. In His name I pray.
Control and Debt Paying
Historically, Adam’s response to believing that the woman ruined everything is to control and subjugate her. This behavior is rooted in fear of what the woman will do if she is left to her own devices. Let’s recall that Satan himself launched an intentional psychological attack against Eve. She didn’t come up with disobeying God on her own. Not only did she have help from a malevolent source, she had never encountered evil intentions before. What woman or man could have stood against the evil one under those same circumstances? I believe the world-wide subjugation of women (and women’s agreement with being subjugated) stems from our inherited ingrained belief that women are not to be trusted because they are dangerous and, thus, must be controlled. God stated it this way in Genesis 3:16: “He (the man) will rule over you.”
Women are inclined to agree that they need, or deserve, to be subjugated since they, too, have inherited the belief that they have ruined everything. Women tend toward believing within themselves that they owe men a debt that can never be paid. I was an amazing sprinter when I was a girl, so much so that a coach at my high school arranged to have me race his best runner. The entire school immediately split into two factions: the girls against the boys with me at the center! What I couldn’t tell my friends was that I was deeply conflicted about the possibility of winning the race. I automatically believed that beating the boy was wrong. I hoped that he was faster than me, but he wasn’t and, as I raced ahead realizing that I could win if I tried, I slowed down and let him win.
Let’s stop and pray: Father God, Creator of Heaven and Earth, I repent for myself and for my ancestors for accepting the lie that women must be subjugated and controlled. That it is not safe to allow them to develop and excel. Forgive us for allowing fear to rule our perceptions of women.
For women to pray: Forgive me and my people for accepting blame wrongly and trying to pay debts that Your beautiful Son paid for us on the cross. I chose to allow Jesus to pay all debts owed by me and my people. He will restore anything we have broken.
For all to pray: Bring this inherited mental groove of accepting that women have committed a sin that cannot be forgiven and owe a debt that cannot be paid to death within me. Build into me the mind of Christ. In His name I pray.
Wrong Priorities and Deafness
“Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it …’” Genesis 3:17
I realize that many people use the scripture above to justify marginalizing the input of women, but let me suggest that God was NOT talking about gender issues. He was pointing out that because Adam valued his horizontal relationship with Eve above his vertical relationship with God, lots of bad things had been loosed into the world. It was a priority issue; not a gender issue. One mental groove we have inherited from Adam’s choice is that we value our human relationships inappropriately. We continue to ignore God’s commands when it comes to our relationships, sleeping with each other before marriage and placing the other person’s happiness above pleasing the Lord.
Another expression of this twisting of perception between the genders is the deification of men by women. Women are born turned toward men, longing to be satisfied and fulfilled by men in ways only God can supply. Men, of course, fail at being God which results in generations of deeply disappointed women. God warned us when He said to Eve:
“your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” Genesis 3:16
Even though God was NOT talking about gender when He said “because you have listened to the voice of your wife,” we inherit the belief that it is not safe to listen to women. How many women can attest to the fact that men are born with an internal off switch that activates whenever their women offer advice, input or simply want to engage in meaningful conversation? Because Adam blamed Eve, he turned away from receiving advice from her even though she was designed by God to help him. There is no disgrace in being a helper. The Holy Spirit is sent to us as a helper.
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. John 14:26
But because of choices made by our ancient parents, we automatically scorn and fear the help of women and the role of helper is looked down upon with great contempt.
Let’s stop and pray: Dearest Father God, we come before the throne of grace in our time of need, admitting that we have inherited mental grooves along which our minds automatically run. Because of this, we have placed our human relationships above our relationship with You. We have ignored Your commands in order to pursue human companionship at the expense of Your design. Forgive us, Lord. Give us mercy.
To be prayed by men: Lord, we have deafened our ears to the advice and input of women who You specially designed to come alongside to help us. Being a helper does not make women less than us. It is an honorable task not an identity. Holy Spirit is not ashamed to be called our Helper. Forgive us for making women feel ashamed of that role. Forgive us, Lord. Teach us to honor the Godly role of women in our lives. Teach us to receive from them appropriately, while not setting them above You.
Forgive me and my people for deifying men in positions of authority, looking to a leader to provide and protect; to supply legitimacy and identity, instead of seeking those things from You. Forgive us for accepting the lie that we (men) must fill Your shoes, striving for that, then condemning ourselves and other men when we failed. Forgive me and my people for judging men who have failed to live up to our expectations. Teach us to understand and honor our design as men according to Your truth.
To be prayed by women: Father God, forgive us for deifying our men, demanding that they be You, always wise and strong, able to fulfill all our needs, then becoming bitterly disappointed when they have failed. Forgive us, Lord. Teach us to honor our men appropriately, not setting them in Your place.
Forgive us for being ashamed of our role as helper, believing that being called alongside to help makes women less than men. Forgive me and my people for holding ourselves in contempt or using our gender as an excuse to set ungodly limits for ourselves. Forgive us for rejecting or devaluing our insights and advice. Teach us to understand and honor our gender according to the truth embodied in Your design.
To be prayed by all: Bring these inherited mental grooves to death within us and build into us the mind of Christ. In His name we pray.
Since none of us escape inheriting these fallen ways of thinking about gender, what can we do to change the way we think? First, be aware that you are predisposed to think in wrong ways. Pray the prayers in this article, or your own version, whenever you catch yourself falling back into the habitual ways of thinking. We were created to love and appreciate each other; not fight and hate. Our warfare isn’t against the man or the woman. What John Sandford calls “flash prayers” should be prayed throughout your day, short prayers asking the Lord to bring your carnal thinking to death, asking Him to build new ways of thinking into you; to activate the mind of Christ within you.
Inner healing that addresses the deep beliefs within your heart must be addressed so that you can sustain healthy and righteous ways of thinking. If you fail to address what you REALLY believe deep down inside of you, then you will fail to sustain righteous thinking. The enemy has too many buttons to push.
Ask the Lord this: What do I really believe about men/women? Then be quiet and listen. Repent as necessary. Break vows to accept that men are bad or women are bad.
When you fail to react from the mind of Christ, simply repent and go on with building a habit of flash prayers and inner healing.
Many blessings to you, my friends. Please share this article with your friends and loved ones. I am looking forward to having our new website up within the next few months.
I’ll be teaching on the heart at First Wesleyan Church in Tuscaloosa. Classes start September 7th at 6:30 pm. Everyone is welcome!