Your words matter.
There was a viral video going around this week about a certain prominent male Christian pastor and author, speaking unkind and irreverent things about a prominent female Christian author and speaker. This man told this woman to “go home.” The woman wasn’t even in the building, her name was simply being referenced among a crowd of men at a “Truth Matters” Conference. If you know it, you know it and likely have many thoughts. If you don’t, move along. I will not link to the video or discuss it any further than has been done already.
I refuse to allow some man’s callous words to diminish what I know to be true about Christ and about the men in my own life.
Real men champion women, they do not debase, devalue, and/or diminish them.
Jesus never once wrote off a woman, telling her to “go home.” Not once.
No, in fact, He did nothing but beckon women to Himself, urging them to “go and tell” others about Him. Women were the last to leave the cross and the first to proclaim He had risen. Jesus met women in their loneliest places (Woman at the Well, John 4), in their most vulnerable places (The Sinful Woman, Luke 7:36-38). Women were the first early church advancers, funding Jesus’ message so that it spread (Luke 8: 1-3). Women and their spouses offered gentle counsel to some of the first evangelists who needed guidance and correction (Priscilla and Aquilla, Acts 18:24-28). Women were praised for teaching and raising up leaders who later became prominent early church teachers (Timothy’s grandmother and mother, 2 Timothy 1:5). Jesus LOVED women. God loves women. Women are praised and valued and instrumental and necessary to the advancement of the Kingdom.
The problem is not “women” or even “white men,” the problem is when one or the other allow their pride and ego to dictate their words and actions. Both were made in God’s image, to serve one another, UNDER Him. We are called to love one another, to build each other up, to encourage and support one another as we run the race set before us.
Not tear one another down with our words.
Jesus himself was very measured, very careful with His words. He said: “What comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person.” (Matthew 15:18). Words can damage far more than any weapon. Ephesians 4:29 says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” My very favorite, “Sin in not ended by multiplying words, the prudent hold their tongues.” (Proverbs 15:4) And one that could apply most specifically here: “Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves and their religion is worthless.” (James 1:26)
As all of this has unfolded, I have been reminded of how grateful I am for the men in my life. I have never once had a man close to me diminish my calling or purpose. I have had nothing but cheerleaders in my corner. My husband, my father, my grandfather, even my own five sons- all have done nothing but champion all that I have set my heart to do.
This weekend, I ran a marathon. Like an actual 26.2 grueling miles.
Yeah, that kind of marathon.
It was hard. HARD, hard. But I trained for it, I was faithful to arise early and put in the work. My husband didn’t tell me I was silly, or crazy, or that it wasn’t a good idea. No, he reminded me to get sleep, to hydrate, to buy necessary gear and listen to my body. He was there after every long training run, asking me how it went and listening to the struggles and successes.
My grandfather often texted or called throughout my training, asking how it was going and how I felt. My Dad flew north, three states away so that he could be in town on race day. My boys saw every run, every moment spent preparing and asked one zillion questions about every detail. All these men had nothing the encouragement and praise.
And this weekend, on the day of the race, all but my grandfather were there to cheer me on. My husband and my father moved our five sons around to EIGHT different cheering locations, handing me water and food, and yelling at the top of their lungs.
They didn’t stop me. They didn’t tell me to quit. They were there for every hill, valley, and stretch of painful flat monotonous pavement.
This is what real, Godly men do.
Without these kinds of men, women cannot be who we were made to be, nor succeed in the ways God has gifted us.
We were made for EACH OTHER.
We were created to fit perfectly together, to be one another’s support, to complement and sustain one another. No part of that reveals men (or women) casting the other out so that the other can have the upper hand, the last laugh, the final word. It doesn’t work this way.
So, as someone on Twitter recently said, “Lets tweet others as we want to be tweeted.” Make sure that your words are seasoned with salt, helpful and uplifting, kind and encouraging. As I always tell one of my sons who tends to struggle in this area: “your words matter.” Simple. They matter for good, and they can be used for evil.