How Does God View Women?

How Does God View Women?

By: Susan Deborah Schiller

I graduated from a Christian college in Springfield, Missouri – a Bible Belt town and home to several Christian schools. In those days you could tell which students attended which college by their hairstyles and wardrobe. In comparison to our Baptist brothers and sisters, we Evangelicals had it easy. Our guys could wear their hair below their ears and even below their shirt collar in the back. Girls could wear makeup and tasteful jeans were allowed. But the Baptists down the road had to have short hair and long dresses. 

Some denominations demand women never cut their hair. Others demand a hair covering. Some religions go as far as demanding a woman be covered from head to toe, with only a peep hole for her eyes. So many different rules – do any of them work? Who's right? How do you know?

Is it our bodies that are at fault? Can a woman's body cause a man to sin?

God created sex to be pleasurable, and yet some religions demand that women be sexually mutilated under the guise of "protection" from sin. That may be extreme, but what about the simple damage the "purity culture" has created in advocating abstinence without balancing it with teaching about good sex? Women emerging from the purity culture are sexually shut down and yearning to "turn on" but cannot, even within the sanctity of their marriages.

I just don't get it. I've never seen rules like any of these prevent the source of sin – that is, our lusts. I haven't witnessed any of these rules help us to experience freedom in our sexuality.

God personally designed women to be beautiful! We are masterpieces! Why do we put so much pressure on women to cover up?

Our churches and schools groom us for shame-based living. Back in college, our dorm rooms were frequently checked by monitors wielding flashlights to make sure each of us were sleeping alone in our beds. If a roomie was missing, there was a necessary interrogation, even at 3 am.

The rules, regulations, and security checks that were meant to keep us safe only caused us to become better at sneaking around and covering up. It didn't stop once we matured and entered full-time ministries.

So we created places for church members to become "real". We offered private one-on-one sessions where we could all confess our sins and pray for each other. It's called by many names. It helps. A little.

Some created small groups with accountability partners. It helps. A little.

But the shame and guilt just keep piling up. Because we keep our private lives quite separate from our public ministry lives. We become double-minded. Sometimes even Jeckyl/Hyde types.

Almost half of our Christian leaders admit to struggling with pornography.

Based on my experience of many years in listening to confessions, the number of our leaders using pornography is much higher. When we focus on trying not to sin, we actually empower the sin! Stumbling turns into tumbling down a slippery slope to relationship failure, as pornography destroys trust.

How does God see our sexuality? How does He deal with our brokenness? What in the heck to angels do when one of their charges needs to pull off articles of clothing to use the bathroom. Do they avert their eyes?

If we are created in the image of God, and if Christ indeed makes His home in our hearts, then why do we still struggle with lust? Isn't there a better way?

I'd like to propose what I do see working: What if we simply choose to see each other through God's eyes?

What if we dare to become naked and unashamed, as in the Garden of Eden?

In other words, what if we live our lives out loud? No longer separating our public and private lives and creating split personalities?

What if we each get in the habit of searching for the glory of God in the image of each other?

We are image-bearers! We are ONE in Christ. That means how I treat you, EVEN IN MY THOUGHTS, directly affects me.

I don't believe God or the angels are upset with our nakedness half as much as our lustful thoughts. Lust is a cheap imitation of what Christ offers us, which is INTIMACY with Him and each other!!!

How God must yearn for us to be intimate with Him and with each other.

Getting naked is a necessity. Naked and unashamed. In simple terms: it's being real. No cover ups. No shaming. No blaming. No self-righteousness. No judgments. No egotistical pride. No shortcuts to humility.

Instead of grooming ourselves in the image of whatever our particular religion dictates, what if we clothe ourselves with Christ?

Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence. – Colossians 2:23

Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. – Colossians 3:12

Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don't let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires. – Romans 13:14

If I let my mind dwell on Christ, and if I look for Christ in the face of everyone around me, then it doesn't matter what they are wearing or how long their hair is. I'm going to be too moved with compassion, even if it's a lustful pose by a model in a magazine.

I once interviewed a missionary who had been in the jungles of Asia where the women all had bare breasts. I pointedly asked him, "Do they have many social problems as a result of constant nudity, like lust, adultery, etc?? He replied, "No, not at all. In fact, their marriages and families are quite a bit healthier than in the developed world."

What is the difference between a man in the jungle and a man on the streets of any American city?

As for me, I don't think it's the woman's body that is to blame for lust. I believe it's the modern man's unmet need for intimacy that can only be truly and deeply satisfied in God and in meaningful relationships where we can be real with each other.

How about if we eliminate the "sacred versus secular" mentality? Let's make all of life sacred.

How about if we return to the simplicity of seeing Christ in each other, whether man or woman.

And if you want to go so far as visualizing God as a woman, there are biblical references to the Feminine side of God:

El Shaddai – means the "many breasted one"

In Isaiah 49 God compares him/herself to a nursing mother,

"Can a woman forget her baby who nurses at her breast?
Can she withhold compassion from the child she has borne?
Even if mothers were to forget,
I could never forget you!
Look, I have inscribed your name on my palms;
your walls are constantly before me."

I believe women today are rising to the forefront, as the Bride of Christ, ruling in the midst of her enemies, helping to bring justice and righteousness to the world. In these women, we are beginning to see more of the Femine nature of God.

Religion is so often patriarchal and the masculine side of God has out-weighed the feminine side of God. We desperately need both!

We really in truly need to see women not as objects to satisfy man's lusts, but as the masterpieces who God designed to show forth the femine side of God Almighty. Yes, we are image-bearers! Women equally bear the image of God!

Instead of hiding our sexuality, causing us to feel even more shame and guilt, how about if we celebrate these masterpieces of perfection, these bodies of ours?

How about being okay with women nursing their babies in public without throwing a blanket on the baby's head so he can't see his mama's face?

Nakedness is not sin. Lust is sin. And lust can be nuked away by the blazing BEAUTY of God we can choose to see in each other. Covering up women is not a solution to lust!

Let's grow up and see the glory of God in ourselves and in each other. Let's live in intimacy with Christ and each other and relish the freedom to be naked and unashamed.

Let's choose freedom by viewing all women with the respect God's royal princesses deserve. Let's put the responsibility, each of us, on ourselves. If a woman undresses, under-dresses, or over-dresses, what is that to us? Our only commission is to love her unconditionally and to accept her where she is at.

Love wins. Bless her. Send her loving thoughts. Forgive her. But don't judge her. Don't abuse her with your own lust. Look for the face of Christ in her.

Raise the bar in your own sphere of influence by refusing to engage in lustful activities going on around you. Set the pace for change by regulating your own thoughts. Become a champion of the unloved, beginning in your private life.

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With all my love,

Sue

Susan Schiller knows how it feels to lose everything: marriage and family, church and reputation, finances and businesses, and more. Susan's upcoming, interactive memoir, "On the Way Home," tells the story of how she came to be known as "the most abused woman" her counselors had yet met and how she learned to navigate to freedom and fullness.  
 
Today Susan helps people write their life stories, unearthing the treasures of their past and sowing them into their future, creating new family legacies.
 

Copyright © 2015 Team Family Online, All rights reserved.   For reprint permission or for any private or commercial use, in any form of media, please contact Susan Schiller

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Maddie James July 16, 2015 at 9:20 pm

Oh Susan, I was overjoyed to find you! This post says exactly what God has revealed to me through my own abuse and pain. It was as if I had written it, although I would not tell it nearly as well as you do. The truth of this resonates deep within my heart, and I wish every single woman could know this.

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Susan Schiller July 17, 2015 at 9:45 am

Dear Maddie, your tender heart blesses to tears… thank you for sharing!

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