Last week, millions of women across the country – and the world – marched for women’s rights. Maybe you were one of the women who joined in or maybe you’re still wondering what exactly happened and where you should stand on this particular topic of conversation as a Christian young woman.
The concept behind the Women’s March on Washington may have had good intentions and its fair share of controversy, but what does the Bible say about this? And how does a set apart woman react to it all?
Some of the issues addressed by this particular movement are relatively clear for believers: the taking of life – all life – is only up to God. Thou shall not kill is a basic commandment. Speaking up for Truth is good. Being politically informed is good. Men and women are equal before God – different, but of the same value before God’s eyes (1 Corinthians 11:11). Each of these issues remains controversial – even amongst Christians. If you’re interested, we can delve into studying what the Bible says on each of these issues (let us know in the comments), but for today, let’s talk big picture.
After much prayer and Bible study on how a believer is called to speak up on political and social issues, God lead me to study 1 Peter 3. The Message version summarizes it well:
Summing up: Be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble. That goes for all of you, no exceptions. No retaliation. No sharp-tongued sarcasm. Instead, bless—that’s your job, to bless. You’ll be a blessing and also get a blessing.
Whoever wants to embrace life and see the day fill up with good, here’s what you do: Say nothing evil or hurtful; Snub evil and cultivate good; run after peace for all you’re worth. God looks on all this with approval, listening and responding well to what he’s asked; But he turns his back on those who do evil things.
If with heart and soul you’re doing good, do you think you can be stopped? Even if you suffer for it, you’re still better off. Don’t give the opposition a second thought. Through thick and thin, keep your hearts at attention, in adoration before Christ, your Master. Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you’re living the way you are, and always with the utmost courtesy. Keep a clear conscience before God so that when people throw mud at you, none of it will stick. They’ll end up realizing that they’re the ones who need a bath. It’s better to suffer for doing good, if that’s what God wants, than to be punished for doing bad. That’s what Christ did definitively: suffered because of others’ sins, the Righteous One for the unrighteous ones. He went through it all—was put to death and then made alive—to bring us to God.
We are called to speak up and respond with gentleness, respect, reverence and humility (check out how different versions phrase this concept in 1 Peter 3:15). Colossians 4:6 also instructs that our speech must always be with grace, seasoned with salt.
Let no unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building up the one in need and bringing grace to those who listen. -Ephesians 4:29
Yes, we should speak up and share with anyone who asks why we live and believe the way we do. Like why all lives matters – even in the beginning stages. Because it’s not about choice, but life. Why we value women as much as men, yet still recognize men and women have different roles – especially when it comes to family and marriage. For example, how you can be submissive to your husband and still be a strong and virtuous woman.
To the world, these things don’t make sense. But to those who love and fear the Lord, it is our anthem:
each life is precious in the Lord’s eyes, so much so, that He sent His only son to die for the sins of each one of us – equally and without discrimination.
…and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all in all. -Colossians 3:10-11
Because as Apostle Peter writes in 3:18, “Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God.” Everyone is worth redeeming. Each one of us is worthy of His love. That is our message. Our lives, actions and words must support those words. Not with vulgar and hateful signs, protests and heated Facebook debates. Not in angry arguments or violence. Not in blatant displays of women’s bodies to prove that women matter.
But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will. -2 Timothy 2:22-26
The bottom line is this: let us not get so caught up in the political debates, the social movements and the issues of this world that we forget our purpose, which is to glorify the Lord and further the Kingdom of our God (Titus 3:9).
You can – and should – speak up on important issues like human rights, poverty, prejudice, and whatever other issue is near your heart. You should especially speak on behalf of those who don’t have often have a voice in our world – the impoverished, orphans, widows, the persecuted, the forgotten. But when you do, your words and delivery must be above reproach – wise, gentle, humble, respectful and filled with grace.
More than words, our actions must make all the difference – don’t just speak, act and live out the word of God boldly and courageously. Live a set apart life that leaves no doubt in people’s minds that you are daughter of the King of Kings. Because when people see the holy and set apart life you live, they will accept your words with respect and they will listen.
I get it – the temptation to “debate” is everywhere (mostly surrounding the election of President Trump). Sometimes, we may feel like it is our duty to speak up and correct someone else’s comments on Facebook or in a conversation at work. I pray you’ll use that desire to speak up wisely – to discern the correct time to speak and when to remain silent; to speak when the Lord puts His word in your heart, not when your human pride wants to prove you’re right (1 Timothy 6:4).
Remind the believers of these things, charging them before God to avoid quarreling over words; this is in no way profitable, and leads its listeners to ruin. -2 Timothy 2:14
Speaking up on various social and political issues has it’s place – sometimes it might even look like a march, but usually it’s the ordinary places like our work, college campuses and even our homes. But remember, our main purpose is to seek God first and glorify Him with our lives. That is what gives our words credibility and holds our reputations above reproach – even in the most heated and controversial discussions. Because prayer and a holy life lived out in a corrupt world are more powerful than any march or political movement.
PS. Here are two articles I really enjoyed on this topic – if you have other recommendations, please share in the comments. We’re training up a generation of set apart young women and we want to use Scripture to equip and empower you to deal with all the modern issues!
This article just briefly touches on several important issues and as always, we urge you to pray and study through these topics on your own as well. If you’re not sure how to do Bible study or need accountability to study the Bible regularly this year, there is still time to join our Bible study group in 2017!