Recently I read an article in National Review on line entitled “Being nice to women is a sign of sexism.” “If you’re a man who smiles at women and makes an effort to be kind to them, you’re probably an ‘insidious’ and ‘treacherous’ sexist,” according to a study conducted by researchers from Northeastern University in Boston. What has been thought of as acts of chivalry are now considered signs of “benevolent sexism.” “Sexism can appear very friendly and very welcoming but it really is acting like a wolf in sheep’s clothing.” The study suggested that “sexism can consciously or unconsciously cloak itself in friendliness.” “Gestures of good faith,” professor Judith Hill believes, “may entice women to accept the status quo in society because sexism literally looks welcoming, appealing, and harmless.” Is chivalry a danger for women in our society?
As I wrote in my last blog, men are confused about how they are to behave towards women. The opinions of this study only add to the confusion. I can not imagine how confused a young men must feel in our culture when they desire to act in godly manner to the opposite sex. If we are ever to get the relationship between men and women right we have to go back to the beginning, to the Creator, who made male and female in his image. We read in Genesis 2:18, “The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.'” Adam had no “suitable companion.” “So God put him to sleep and took a rib out of him. God then used the rib that he had taken from the Man to make Woman and presented her to the Man” (Gen 2:22 – Message).
Genesis puts the “gender wars” into proper perspective. First, Man and woman were to have a complimentary relationship. Paul reminds us that, “Adam was formed first, then Eve” (I Tim 2:13). God’s intention was for Adam to see Eve as his compliment, since she came from him. She is his helper, not another man but a wo-man. She is equal but different. So lets celebrate the difference and learn to honor, respect and value woman in thought, word and deed. This begins with our wives. “Husbands’ ” Paul says, “ought to love their wives as their own bodies” (Eph. 5:28). No sexism here, simply the highest regard for the feminine. Godly men are not threatened by their compliment, but rather embrace the uniqueness of the feminine
Secondly, God intended Eve to be Adam’s soul mate. Adam in his loneliness was looking for companionship in creation. After seeing Eve, Adam’s words, “Finally! Bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh,” implied something like “wow, she looks great!” God intended that men be infatuated by the beauty of women and express it, especially to our wives. She is captive to your genuine praise. This is not sexism. It’s built right into the relationship between man and woman. Aspire to be a godly gentleman.
Thirdly, we read in Genesis 2:22 that God brought the woman to man. Adam replied by saying, “she shall be called, ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” Here we see Adam taking the initiative in the relationship. Men, don’t let the feminist agenda shame you into not taking the initiative in expressing honor and respect for the woman in your lives. It begins with your wife. My testimony through many years of marriage and relationship building, is that woman respond to healthy praise and respect. Men are meant to initiate. Women will respond in kind, if we are Christ like in our relationships.