Sunday, October 2, 2011

Set Free

Coming back to my story...after I could not convince anyone in my church that hell was not eternal, I really did not know what to do.  My husband and I had been attending our church for over 20 years...and not only that, he works there!  I couldn't just stop going, but nothing in me wanted to continue.  My heart was broken.  I kept telling myself I should be fine with others having a different opinion than me, and that it shouldn't affect my 'fellowship'...but I couldn't help it effecting everything.  Because this wasn't just a different opinion--for me it was a complete paradigm shift. 

I prayed and prayed about what to do.  One of my biggest concerns was my husband.  I wanted to be a good wife--a supportive wife--a godly wife.  Good Christian women do not just stop going to church...especially one that their husband works at.  Good Christian women support their men by putting his needs before their own, by making sure the husband knows he's the boss of the family...all of that.  When I shared how unhappy I was at church, my husband never said I had to keep going, but I knew that he would be extremely displeased if I quit.  I had so many conflicting emotions.  It was at this time I came across another life changing book.  First a journal entry from several years prior:

S)  A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.(1 Timothy 2:11-15) 
O) This is one of those passages of scripture I don't think I'll ever get.  It sounds awful!  I once asked a youth leader about it, and he said "Well, Paul didn't like women".  I think Paul was a great respecter of women, and had many very close women friends who were leaders in the ministry.  So obviously it must just be translated badly or we just can't understand the situation he was trying to address.
A)  I certainly cannot get out of this that God made women lesser than men, or that He loves them more.  I do know God honors humility--I can always apply that.
P)  After 2,000 years of nobody quite getting this scripture, it seems arrogant of me to ask you to reveal it to me. But I do ask you to reveal to your followers the true meaning of this scripture.

The book I stumbled across was "The Christian Woman Set Free".   Once again, I felt God smiling as He answered my questions when I really didn't think there was an answer.  The author (who holds a bachelor's degree in history and a master's in theology) explains not only these troubling verses, but he also tackles 1 Corinthians chapter 11 and Ephesians 5.  (where women are 'commanded' to cover their heads in church and submit to their husbands)  He explains the historical situation these letters were addressing and the history of how it was translated, (badly is an understatement) and he does all of that in a way that is very easy to read and understand.  I was set free!  Not to disrespect and belittle my husband, but to respect myself and trust I could follow the Holy Spirit even if my husband did not understand or agree. I really felt God was leading me to stop attending church...but I was still very afraid and uncertain.  Another scripture I came across at this time gave me courage.  This is a WEIRD one, I have to warn you.

At a lodging place on the way, the LORD met Moses and was about to kill him. But Zipporah took a flint knife, cut off her son’s foreskin and touched Moses’ feet with it. “Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me,” she said. So the LORD let him alone. (Exodus 4:24)

I bet you didn't even know Moses had a wife!  I didn't.  We know very few women 'heros' of the Bible besides Mary and Esther, but that's not because they are not there.  I had no idea why Zipporah did this or what it meant, but it seemed to me she did something either Moses did not understand he should do, or something he was unwilling to do.  So she did it--and I bet Moses thanked her for it. So I stopped going to church, and I can only hope one day my husband will see and understand it was a good thing, and maybe even thank me for it.