Winning the Oldest War

csc_0040The longest-running war of all time is ironically not between countries or ethnic groups. There is one older and filled with more hatred, unresolved injustices, and animosity.

Can you guess the two formidable opponents?

As old as Adam and Eve, the battle between the sexes rages on into post-modern, post-God societies. It is clear that, although some ethnic groups are farther along in the process, not one has made significant strides in healing the deep wounds with forgiveness, equality, and kindness.

The Women’s March 2017 was a worldwide dissent and outcry after the inauguration of President Trump. It drew over 7 million participants on ground or via cyber links and was the largest protest in American history. Many still view it as a step forward for liberating women. My view is just the opposite.

I watched on television and read articles with silent shock and a sick stomach at the primal vitriol that the women spewed. The heart of their message, “women’s rights are human rights” had historic accuracy, which had the power to add momentum to their movement. Sadly, it turned base and descended into loathsome language and more division.

Actress, Ashley Judd referenced President Trump’s bragging in a 2005 recording that his celebrity status allowed him to force himself on women, even grabbing their private parts. Judd retorted, “They ain’t for grabbing…they for birthing new generations of filthy, vulgar, nasty, proud, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Sikh, you name it for a new generation of nasty women. I am not as nasty as racism, fraud, conflict of interest, homophobia, sexual assault, transphobia, white supremacy, misogyny, ignorance, white privilege! I am not as nasty as your own daughter being your favorite sex symbol. Like your wet dreams infused with your own genes but, yeah, I’m a nasty woman!”

And Madonna’s famous threat, “And to our detractors that insist that this March will never add up to anything, f— you. F— you. It is the beginning of much-needed change. Change that will require sacrifice, people. The change will require many of us to make different choices in our lives, but this is the hallmark of revolution. So my question to you today is are you ready? I said, are you ready? Say yes, we are ready. Say, yes we are ready. One more time: you’re ready…Yes, I’m angry. Yes, I am outraged. Yes, I have thought an awful lot of blowing up the White House, but I know that this won’t change anything. We cannot fall into despair. As the poet, W.H. Auden once wrote on the eve of World War II: We must love one another or die.”

And what to say about the pink pussy hats? Someone had the idea of showing solidarity and reclaiming the word pussy to mean cat and not refer to a woman’s body. The points on the hand-knitted head-coverings represented cat ears. The media had fun with calling out the pussy hats over and over.  It revolted me.

With the scandal of Harvey Weinstein and a myriad of high-powered men in high places, the curtain has been pulled back on decades of abuse in the American workplace that went way beyond equal pay for equal responsibility. The #metoo movement gave strong voice and credence to women for the first time in American history. Sadly, this movement too has spiraled into a men-bashing, men-dominating vitriolic, seething hatred.

Just to be fair, I have to ask the question, did some of these women find themselves in comprising places because of their own desire for the limelight, money, or position? Certainly not all, but someone has to point out the obvious here. What happened to good sense? What happened to saying no, or crying out to God for help in that moment? God has not left us helpless. Women, we have more power than we think and use.

And with the last huge public battle of Judge Brett Kavanaugh vs Christine Blasey Ford, we learned that, although every woman has the right to be heard, not every woman is telling the truth. So much effort and money spent on this, and what an embarrassment for the highest office under the president in the land. It was concluded that her case did not stand the test of proof or examination. Ford became a terrible poster child for their cause.

Look I’m ashamed and outraged over the things President Trump, Harvey Weinstein, and others have been accused. I am not justifying their behavior. I am looking at how to respond beyond vileness and anger.

All of this is old news, but it is still pertinent. What have we learned? Women have been abused and silenced for so long that their angry outbursts divided our cause. It even repelled some like me.

I keep asking myself how are the woman of the church to respond. Both these movements have lost ground. We just can’t fight fire with fire or vileness with vileness. There are stronger weapons available to us—weapons that bring life and not death. There remains a remnant of women, who recognize the need to know how to battle for the win.

Exploring New Weapons

In King Solomon’s book of Proverbs, we find the outline of a strong woman, worth emulating. Proverbs 31:10-25 speaks of her remarkable qualities like being a hard-working, keeper of the home, a guide to her children, business owner, servant to the poor, and making her husband gleam with pride.

I love verse 26: “She opens her mouth with wisdom and her tongue is the law of kindness.” Does this position in any way indicate subjugation or inferiority or weakness? This woman is not blind. She knows how the world works, yet she measures her response allowing wisdom and kindness to set the standard. This makes her an outstanding leader—all the more strong and desirable.

The women of the Bible were subjected to just as much injustice and harassment, sexual and non-sexual, as a woman today, maybe more because the idea of equal rights did not even exist. Jesus described the law of kindness in Matthew 7:12: “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law of the Prophets.” Everyone longs to be received in kindness from others, even if we know we don’t deserve it. We also know deep within our hearts that we should treat others kindly even if they don’t deserve it. This is the bottom-line of the Law and the Prophets according to Jesus.

Kindness is a subject mentioned throughout the Bible. Proverbs 19:22 declares, “What is desired in a man is kindness.” The true source of kindness is found in Galatians 5:22, which states it is a fruit of the Holy Spirit and a gift from God. Paul encouraged believers in Jesus to “…put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering” (Colossians 3:12-13). At salvation, the Holy Spirit begins to reside within our hearts, souls, minds, and bodies. His presence will bear the fruit of kindness in life. It is there. Ask for it. Look for it. Expect it. Develop it.

The friction between men and women, no matter the history or culture, can be comforted, even healed and eliminated by applying the “law of kindness.” At first glance, this seems too simplistic—the atrocities are too heinous, the wound too deep to be covered over with kindness. But Jesus left us two goals—“to love God and our neighbor as ourselves.” That is it. Kindness is ground zero for the action word of love. From here we launch into a new battle plan.

So this answers how should the church respond—in kindness. We react with outstretched arms, with listening hears, with patient hearts. We rise one woman at a time to heal our sisters through words and ways of kindness that leads to love and forgiveness.

Three Ways to Begin to Applying the Law of Kindness

1)    Speak kind words to God – He is worthy of all our praise and thanksgiving no matter the circumstances of your life. He has given you life and a new life through salvation. Take time to speak kind words to your Creator, Savior, and Redeemer daily. (Psalm 103)

2)    Speak kind words to men and women – this includes expressing gratefulness and words of encouragement. You can even say hard and necessary things kindly. (James 1:20, Ephesians 4:15, Proverbs 15:1, and Ephesians 4:26)

3)    Speak kind words to yourself – it is easy to fall into the habit of self-criticism and negative talk. Listen to the way you speak to yourself and change your words to kind words and living words, which will turn into kind and life-giving actions toward yourself and others. (Samuel 30:6, Deuteronomy 31:6, 2 Corinthians 4:15-18)

Conclusion

To be clear, I was not against the March for Woman. We have the right to march and express opposing views peacefully. These marches were noted for being non-violent. But they were angry and vile and descended into division. I just believe there is a better way.

I’m for starting another kind of Woman’s March—another kind of movement. It may be quiet and unseen but it has the power to change things. And that would be women not demeaning or emasculating men, not using vile language, disrespect, insults, and the acquisition of power to even the score. Let God bring justice. Only He requites vengeance. Respond in an opposite spirit with kindness when making a case for your rights. And then pray and let God work. Let Him fight for you.

Did you know that…

1. Proverbs 16:24: “Kind words are like honey sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.”

2. Proverbs 15:26: “The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the LORD: but the words of the pure are pleasant words.”

3. Proverbs 25:11: “Like golden apples set in silver is a word spoken at the right time.”

4. Proverbs 15:23: “Everyone enjoys a fitting reply; it is wonderful to say the right thing at the right time!”

5. Proverbs 13:2: “A man shall eat good by the fruit of his mouth: but the soul of the transgressors shall eat violence.”

6. Proverbs 18:20: “Wise words satisfy like a good meal; the right words bring satisfaction.”

7. Proverbs 18:4: “Wise words are like deep waters; wisdom flows from the wise like a bubbling brook.”

8. Proverbs 12:14: “From the fruit of his mouth a man is satisfied with good, and the work of a man’s hand comes back to him.”

9. Proverbs 10:21: “The words of the godly encourage many, but fools are destroyed by their lack of common sense.

10. Proverbs 10:11 The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life: but violence covers the mouth of the wicked.”

11. Proverbs 10:20: “The words of the godly are like sterling silver; the heart of a fool is worthless.”

12. Proverbs 17:22: “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.”

13. Proverbs 12:18: “Careless words stab like a sword, but the words of wise people bring healing.”

14. Proverbs 15:4: “Gentle words are a tree of life; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.”

15. Proverbs 18:21: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”

16. Matthew 12:35: “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.

17. Colossians 3:12 Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.”

Homework – Start a Kindness Journal

1)    List the kindnesses of God toward you.

2)    List the kindnesses of your parents, teachers, mentors, siblings, and friends.

3)    Ask God to show you one man that has hurt, demeaned, or harassed you. Begin to pray about this. Ask God to bring healing and resolution into your life. Sometimes you may need a friend or counselor to help you through serious past abuse. Please seek more help if you cannot delve into or resolve this situation.

 

1 Comment

  1. You have put a lot of work and wise counsel into your “Winning the Longest Battle”. I wish you could offer your article to appear on the editorial page of a reputable newspaper in the areas where these battles have taken place.

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