Volume 12, Issue 1: Femina
Loving the Sisters
Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another (Gal. 5:26).
While listening to a tape series,
I was struck by an off-hand comment made by the speaker. She said
that women are some of the worst misogynists in the world. This
is really true. The womens movement itself is fueled by
a woman-hating agenda. It certainly has not created unity among
unbelieving women, but has rather divided and alienated them.
But this woman-hating attitude can exist even among Christian
sisters, where criticism, envy, and distrust can destroy the possibility
of close fellowship. Though there may be a surface congeniality,
a deep love of the sisters is frequently nonexistent. Where there
should be kindness and love, there is instead debates, envying,
wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults
(2 Cor. 12:20). Women tend to be far more critical of the other
women than they are of men. But, by the grace of God, Christian
women have the opportunity to build a wonderful climate of love,
encouragement, and support among the sisters in the church community.
What is it that causes women to be so quick to be critical, envious,
and distrustful of one another?
I believe part of the answer has to do with a sinful sense of
competition among sisters that keeps them from fulfilling their
obligation to love one another. This competition centers, of course,
around men. The young women compete for attention from the young
men, and the older married women can carry on the competition
in other forms. When sisters are viewed as the competition, no
wonder there is a bent toward criticism and envy.
Woman was created for man, and since the fall, man has a roving
eye. The girls jostle for attention from the young men and begin
to view their sisters who get the attention as self-centered,
immodest, flirtatious, etc. The problem here is theological. If
God is truly sovereign, as we say we believe He is, then He has
ordained who will marry whom and when. In other words, the sisters
are not competition in any way whatsover. Though you can sin as
though you are competing, you really are not in a competition
for a husband.This means that the redeemed woman can overcome
the tendency toward competition by having a love for the sisters.
The flirt is someone who tries to gain the attention from young
men in whom she has no serious interest, just so she can see that
everything works. She may be able to gather a group
of young men around her with little effort; meanwhile, the other
sisters look on with positive annoyance. They may try to legitimize
their annoyance by pointing out her real or imagined sins, but
this necessarily requires attributing motives, and leads to gossip,
backbiting, envying, whisperings, or real strife. Sometimes the
woman with the group of young men around her is really not flirting;
shes just very attractive and engaging. In this case, she
may need to be more positively discouraging to the young men.
But in the meanwhile, the sisters should not get ticked off at
This competitiveness can carry over into marriage. Though the
women may not be trying to get the men's attention, they may unconsciously
be trying to get the attention and admiration of the community.
It may be wanting to be known as the best cook, or the woman with
the cleanest or biggest house and the smartest or most popular
kids. Of course, it can also be a competition to have the best
body. This can either be as if to say, If I still wanted
to compete with the twenty-year olds, I could. Or it can
motivated by a desire to be a kind of trophy for her
husband. This may explain why married women wear immodest clothing.
When I was in college, one of my friends had her mom visit during
mothers weekend. She arrived in hotpants. (For those of
you who dont remember the early seventies, hotpants were
short shorts worn with nylons and heels.) I was so glad my mom
looked like my mom, and not like she was competing with the college
girls to get heads to turn. Whatever the reason for the competition,
women dressing in short, tight, or otherwise immodest clothing
will either make the other women (not to mention the men) uncomfortable,
or they will be a source of amusement. This sense of competition
can also come out in boasting about weight, dress size, or bust
size neatly disguised as discontent.
Women can also compete in their methods. Because women tend to
be married more to methods than principles, they can get defensive
about their methods. A private-schooling mom becomes defensive
around the women who have their children in a home school. A schedule-feeding
mom is critical of those women who demand-feed their babies. Women
divide into sub-groups in the church: those who use midwives and
those who use doctors, those who homeschool and those who dont,
those who can pears and those who buy pears already in the can.
Obviously, God did not design us to be envious and distrustful
of one another. Women should reject competion. Instead of being
should love one another in Christ. Put on therefore, as
the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness,
humbleness of mind. . . . And above all these things, put on charity,
which is the bond of perfectness (Col. 3:12, 14).