The poor women have nothing more precious or noble than their honor, and this the devil must by no means let them retain. He is called diabolus or diabel, that is, a slanderer or blasphemer, and that he is and remains; fortunate is he who knows or believes this. This is why I praise this proverb against this devilish business, “One should praise women, whether it be true or false; they have need of it.” And again, “Many a man speaks ill of women, who does not know what his mother did,” for among women are included all our mothers, sisters, wives, daughters, aunts, and relatives, and their honor is our honor, and their shame is our shame. Enough of this for now.
Luther, M. (1999). Luther’s works, vol. 46: The Christian in Society III. (J. J. Pelikan, H. C. Oswald, & H. T. Lehmann, Eds.) (Vol. 46, p. 302). Philadelphia: Fortress Press.
As a father of six wonderful children, four boys and two girls, I feel very blessed, but also very conscious of the world that my children are entering. The world is quite different from what I knew growing up and not all for the better. Now don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of good things that have happened and my view is not bleak, but I see the challenges that are ahead of them. For this I pray.
As we enter into the month of May we celebrate mothers and motherhood, but in many ways we can say that it is an opportunity to celebrate femininity. Women are naturally born with the propensity of bringing life into the world and most have a greater innate sense for nurture than those of us born as male. Now, of course, some women because of issues in development, illness, or sometimes even by choice do not become mothers and that does not diminish them in the gift they are or their femininity. God’s creation of woman was not meant as a lessor, but complement and an enhancement to the creative order of the world.
Now I know that our world sees this as a controversial statement. I understand that, but I will stand firm in the biblical and biological stance that there are only two genders – male and female. Each were purposely created differently and each have their own, different strengths. I could not do nor could I endure what many women endure. I am not ashamed to admit that and am often in awe of my wife and what she has faced. At the same time, there are things that I have endured and things that I find to be normal that my wife would say similar. We are truly a good pair for one another. God placed us together and has blessed us truly.
As I reflect on everything, I now think of my daughters and my sons. I am most thoughtful, however, about the world that is being set for my daughters. In the above quote, it comes from Martin Luther’s treatise On Marriage and he is speaking of a trend that he saw in his day where young ladies were having their honor attacked by the lies of young men of the day. In reading it, out of context one might think some of the things he is speaking of would be what we find being said today. With the advent of social media we have seen the bullying brought more to the forefront, but it truly is nothing new just the media for it has been further expanded. The lies can spread further and the attacks can reach in places once considered safe. Because of social media, our children are often left with no more safe places to get away from the attacks.
As parents, it is even more important that we teach our girls how to be honorable in speech and in how they treat others as well as raise our sons to be equally honorable and see the importance of protecting the honor of others, whether in our speech or in our actions. The words that come from our mouths reflect the issue in our hearts. As a father, my prayer is that my daughters never have to face the vicious attacks that can be brought by others simply meant to diminish their character. My desire is to raise them, also, that such attacks would be considered to be unbelievable and quickly seen as a smear campaign if they are attacked. I, also, seek to raise my boys to be respectful and not to speak poorly of other young ladies or others in general. Now being human, this is not a perfect process and we need to be gracious with one another. Part of this is teaching our children the Christian faith and seeking to reflect that in our living.
This is the calling, I believe, for every Christian parent. Sadly, the world often sees little difference from those that are of the Christian faith and those that are not. We have allowed the world’s ways to usurp the ways of the faith. I know it’s hard and it is easier because we don’t often want to appear weird because we are not meant to separate ourselves from the world like some sects have done. We are to be in the world, but not of it. We are to be in the world influencing others and not vice versa. Thankfully, we are not left to our own devices and our failure does not affect our salvation, though it does affect our witness.
God created us male and female in a complementary way. Not to have one dominate the other, but to partner and work with one another. The great lie that our world likes to tell is that male and female can do all things the same. The science that these same people would uphold in aspects of their lives does not support that and neither does the Bible. This is not meant to diminish one over and above the other and does not speak to intelligence or gifting because each gifting is a blessing and necessary for the world. Women are not created “only to be mothers” which some find so offensive and honestly to diminish motherhood to a lesser role I find personally offensive because I am in awe of my wife and what she does as a mother because I do not have the gifts or the skill that she has and see the gift that she is to me as her husband. Now the reverse is true for her as she has expressed the same. God has given us one another as a gift. As a father, I seek to raise my sons to see their future wives as the gifts they truly are and the same for my daughters so that they will know how to treat the other and how they should expect to be treated.