February 3, 2017

From today, the theme shifts to God’s Provision. The Scripture passages have been chosen on the basis of their use of provi*, abundan*,much, give*, or gave, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I will write on that part of the passage. I look forward to all that God is going to speak to us on this theme over the next several months.

Genesis 1:27 So God created man
in his own image,
in the image of God
he created him;
male and female
he created them.

It is very significant that in this first narration of the creation story it is clear that male and female are on equal footing. We get hung up on gender pronouns sometimes. Current political correctness takes that to the height of absurdity. Male and female are certainly different, in more ways than most of us realize, but they are equal. A lot of the root of “gender dysphoria” comes from people feeling their biological gender is in some way inferior. We have such difficulty dealing with the idea that “different” doesn’t necessarily mean “better” or “worse.” That’s not at all to say that there are no values; it is always better to express the character of God, that is, the fruit of the Holy Spirit, (Galatians 5:22-23) than not. However, such factors as skin color, eye color, hair, and any of a number of other things, have no bearing whatsoever on “good” or “bad.” It is sad indeed to hear feminists embracing “nasty” in self-description. They have no grasp of the intrinsic value of men or women. The last verse of this first chapter in the Bible says, “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” (Genesis 1:31) I don’t care for the deliberately poor grammar, but I love the sentiment on a shirt I saw years ago: “I know I’m something, ’cause God don’t make no junk.” God made us all different but equal, and that’s very good.

I am deeply grateful to have grown up in the home that I did. My parents deeply respected each other, and they respected us children as individuals. Discipline was certainly present, but also a great deal of liberty. Since we were Americans in Japan, there was a great deal of awareness of differences among people and cultures, but particularly on my father’s part I don’t recall any cultural imperialism. That might sound strange to some people who identify religion with culture, since we were here to tell people about Christ, but that shows a fundamental misunderstanding on their part. As I have been telling people for the past 35 years, I’m not here to teach them a religion, I’m here to introduce them to a Savior. All of that said, gender equality was very much an issue in society as a whole. My mother really struggled with her role at times, because she had arrived in Japan as an appointed missionary before my father, (they married in Japan) but the mission board automatically placed her in a “subservient” (as she saw it at the time) role, focused on the family rather than on school teaching, evangelism and the like. I think she failed to grasp just how huge a testimony a Christian home is in a non-Christian society. Right now I think Cathy’s and my relationship is one of the most powerful influences we have on society around us. I need to treat each person as both individual and equal in value, however much their abilities or other characteristics might vary. Compared to God, none of us have any ability anyway! I need to help people recognize, apply, and rejoice in what God has placed in them, so that they may fulfill all of His purposes in creating them as they are, for His glory.

Father, this is something I deal with constantly. Help us all see You, and consequently see ourselves and each other, accurately, so that Your love and grace may flow freely, for the salvation of many and for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!


About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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