Saturday, April 21, 2012

Devil Woman!

A while back, I saw multiple conversations on a friend's Facebook page in which one male made the following comments:
  • Devil woman who should be keeping the home
  • if you are saved, you should be a keeper at home, that is scriptural.
  • you are a devil woman, go back to the dishes
  • fool devil woman, get your husband to speak to me, you are out of your place 
  • I am done devil woman, you waste my time and you are too wicked and stupid to see your error, do not be deceived, you are LOST with your hatred of the Word of God, which is supposed to correct you, as per 2 Tim 3:16, you have been warned wicked rebel, repent or face hell one day. I am done!
I honestly can't even remember what the actual conversations were about and which of these were directed to my friend and which were directed to other women who dared speak their minds; I just defended my firend a couple of times and copied and pasted these comments at the time assuming I would write about them much sooner. Lesson learned: write about it as it happens or copy and paste the whole thing.

No matter, though, because the issue now is the attitude this man has towards women. It is depressing to see how little value he places on women. Women (especially saved women) should only be homemakers and he didn't even want to talk to them on Facebook; he thought he should have a conversation with the woman's husband. And if a woman disagreed with him, she was wicked, stupid, and deceived.

In addition, by referring to women who have opinions, who speak for themselves, who disagree with his train of thought, as "Devil Woman", he is saying that they are demonic? That these women are opposed to God just because they are opposed to him and his ideas? Really?

The visceral anger and misogyny emanating from this man is appalling. How on earth does someone who professes to follow Jesus think that this is an acceptable way to treat someone? As I think about this, I think about the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4. The way that Jesus treats her, she becomes an evangelist who proclaims the good news of the Messiah, and who knows how many people in her town believed because of her. What if Jesus had treated her the way that this man treated the women on my friend's Facebook wall? What if Jesus had treated her the way that people probably expected him to treat her? Would she have brought the news of the arrival of the Messiah to her town? Doubtful.

How do we, through our actions and words, help or hinder the spread of the good news? Sure, we all have our "off" days, our "bad" days, but somehow, with this particular person, I don't think it was an "off" day; I think it was probably an everyday attitude. Are there attitudes that we have towards people--whether specific people or a certain type of theology--with whom we disagree and to whom we act in a disdainful or condescending manner (even if it is only in our thoughts)? Most likely. I probably am acting that way towards this man through my thoughts and my writing. And yet...I have to remember...God loves him every bit as much as he loves me.

And so, I think all of us are probably in some sense "devil women" or "devil men". Not because we disagree with this particular person, but because we can let ourselves get in the way of God's work. It can happen to the most ardent of Christians: look at how Jesus called Simon Peter "Satan" when Simon Peter disagreed with Jesus about undergoing suffering and death.
And, so, I've softened a tiny bit towards that initial person. I still think he was completely rude, out-of-line, and needs to learn a lot about women, but despite all of that, there is some universal grain of truth to what he said, although not for the reasons that he espoused.

21 From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.  22 And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, "God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you."  23 But he turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things."  24 Then Jesus told his disciples, "If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.  25 For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.  26 For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life?  
--Matthew 16:21-28

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