We have all seen this hashtag the last couple of days or weeks. It is a movement of women exposing the fact they they have been treated as a sex object, abused and used by men just because they are women. It also symbolises an effort to put our feet down or draw a line in the sand against such treatment. I see and feel the pain that many of us have expressed and agree that is a necessary and healthy thing to do. But can a hashtag change the human heart? How do we really solve the problem of sexism?
Let me tell you my #Metoo story. Then, let me share with you how I have overcame my #Metoo experience and was able to forgive the offenders. Finally, let me describe for you the only real and lasting solution to it and lead you through a prayer affording real change of heart - because it is the heart that is at the root of the problem.
It was a beautiful day and I was taking in the sounds of the birds in a green and beautiful neighbourhood. I was woken out of my happy day dream when a teenager I'd never met blocked my way and then proceeded to rip my shirt open and said with a sleazy voice "You aren't going to go home today." It was in broad daylight in front of a house on a nice sidewalk! I was shocked!
Luckily, my dad had taught me some jujitsu tricks and I decked him quickly, making sure to leave enough bruises to render him incapacitated long enough to let me escape and walk home. As soon as I got home I dumped my story on my poor mother who was glad that nothing worse had happened,
Then the phone rang. It was my boyfriend. He listened to my assault story quietly. Then he took a deep breath and said that the reason that he called me was because didn't want to date me anymore. He'd found someone else he''d rather date. He knew I would understand. We could be friends though....
My boyfriend had the timing and graciousness of a crazed rhino in a china shop.
It was like getting hit by two bombs after another in a row. The feeling of being attacked and then dumped morphed into a feeling of first anger, then rejection. Was I too sexy to not be molested and too ugly to keep as a girlfriend? Was it my this or that that put me into a violent situation? Was I too little this or that for my boyfriend. I felt so empty.
It continued.... I should have made a police statement about the attacker. But I didn't. I figured that would be sufficient that I beat the idiot up. But, no. The next day at school the same guy reached out and pinched me in the rear end as I walked by. Angered beyond stability, I grabbed him by the shirt, lifted him up and thrust him against the nearest metal locker I could find, holding him up in midair. "Don't you ever, ever touch me again, you jerk!" I said. I never got his name. I never reported it. I was proud to have defended myself and was now full of hate. No one at school ever asked me how I felt, how they could help me or questioned what had happened. He went free. #Metoo.
Part of me now hated men in general. It took me years to forgive, really forgive.
Other unprovoked violence: This was just one example. I have been spat on in my face by a male. One guy purposely threw a basket ball at my head, damaging my neck for no apparent reason and another one shot me in the ear with a bee bee gun while I was standing on the edge of my swimming pool. Some guys who were in a speeding car slapped me on the butt as they drove by, (at the time I was pregnant and was pushing a baby carriage in front of me). On top of all this, my father was a violent man that beat us often and without reason. So I have my full of #Metoo
Verbal abuse: One guy had the audacity to ask me for a date when I was 9 months pregnant! One guy told me, "You'll never ever be pretty - only sort of cute". I have had to work harder than most men at various jobs in order to gain my bosses respect. These are just a few of what I have had to go through. #Metoo
The Pack: I remember sitting in a mini bus with two salesmen that were really great guys for the most part but they just couldn't not say certain jokes that poked fun at me simply because I was a woman stuck sitting between them and I was stupid enough to be working in a male dominated technical branch.
Or how about the owner of a small business that joked about my backside when I came on the last day of my internship with homemade cupcakes? #Metoo
Disrespect: Oh, there was that parent teacher conference where I invited the principal, a man, to sit in on it, because the father (from the Middle East) of my student didn't respect women at all and we had some serious issues to work through to help his disrespectful (to women teachers) son with his schoolwork. It goes from one generation to another, doesn't it? #Metoo
The forbidden: And, don't you ever dare, as a woman, go and try to do the work that a man does in a typical man's field (as I experienced as a painter and airbrush artist at a major car repair shop where there was outright sexist mobbing.). Some of the men there were golden friends but the rest of the pack was super mean to me simply because I asked the owner to take down the nude girly calendars that hung everywhere at the shop. Tabu! I was cruelly forced out. #Metoo
I could probably fill a book with this kind of stupidity that has lambasted me throughout my life. As soon as a woman has to decide what she is going to wear or whether she needs to put on make up or not she considers the consequences of it. As soon as she walks out the door she feels she has to address the uncomfortable truth that she is a woman. Everywhere. It's always in the air more or less.
A lifestyle: From day one we women feel the need to dress discretely and to prove our worth by doing better, faster and being nicer than men - in order to eventually be accepted by men. Often this isn't enough. We often end up being told that we weren't good enough, beautiful enough or smart enough (me - despite my 7 1/2 years at college). After a while you just go through life, doing things, expecting to be rejected, being used, casually ignored and fundamentally misunderstood. It becomes part of one's identity as a woman. Like a professional boxer, you learn to move your feet fast and duck swiftly whenever the fists of sexism start to fly.
How we try to cope: It is really not surprising at all that women today have had to cover themselves with an attitudinal tough outer shell just to make it through each business day. Its not surprizing that the fashion world pushes for androgynic presentations of the clothes they want both men and women to wear. It is their attempt to try to erase the differences between the sexes, hoping that #Metoo, in turn, will simply fade into the sunset.
Even the recent genus dogma thwarted by the world's educational systems is also an attempt to wave a wand and somehow magically remove the differences between men and women thereby snuffing out the need for men to act upon women as predatory beasts. These social engineering experiments are doomed to malfunction. They will never ever work because they ignore the fact that men and women are and always will be biologically and mentally fundamentally different. They also ignore the root of the problem which is the sinful nature. So what do we do?
What is needed is a total change of heart, not an equating of the sexes. We are fundamentally different yet equally valuable according to the Bible. It is man's sinful, selfish nature that is the root of the #Metoo problem and it will continue to wreak havoc on both men and women until it is completely buried and a new heart is birthed in its place.
All men are not pigs As I have been following the #Metoo hashtag I have seen that many are aghast at what they hear women saying about how they have been treated. Many men apparently act like pigs. But, there are a lot of men who try to treat women well. I am not addressing them in this article but kudos to them. All respect! Here we are trying to alleviate a wide reaching and ancient problem that exist between most of us in some shape or form.
I gladly admit that I know a few men who are exceptions to the problem. They are exceptions because they have humbled themselves - they are the ones with good hearts and strong (biblical) values based on mutual respect and the understanding that we are all created equally valuable. Many of the brothers I know in Christ have an amazing respect for all women around them because they fear God in a beautiful way.
In my home church it feels just like a family. We are all humbly on the same level and everyone treats each other respectfully as a loving sister, brother mother or father. It is in this healing atmosphere that hope is ignited that the two sexes can get along in mutual respect and admiration for who we are are the inside. Here we grow in security and trust in God and mankind.
My marriage is built on the same quality principle. We are equally valuable and mutually responsible for our relationship although we are fundamentally different. In my marriage there is a perfect balance of Johan laying down his life for me and me respecting him and helping him.
But it wasn't always that way. In the beginning of our marriage, we both had broken self images and wrong attitudes but through the years we worked on it by laying our lies down successively on the cross. The more we died to our "rights" and saw that we had none except for the obligation to love each other unconditionally (just as Christ loved us), the more our marriage started working.
The way to solve the #Metoo in our marriage went through the cross.
Johan has encouraged me to work full time doing the music and writing I do while he brings home the bucks we both live on. I take care of all the practical stuff here at home like shopping making food and washing the clothes. I don't feel like I am losing anything being at home and taking care of the household. It doesn't make me any less valuable than Johan. We are in agreement that if he was the one with the gift of music, I would work full time at a "real job" for him to be free to be at home. It is not about manly vs. womanly roles it is about efficiency and love.
Our roles don't define our value. Christ's death on the cross does.
The solution to the problem of sexist men and their selfish, warped view of women lies in dying to that old self at the cross
The solution to healing women's dented self worth lies there as well.
- Through the cross came to understand how my own sin was forgiven so I could forgive.
- At the cross I laid down the bitterness and pain of all the verbal, physical and mental abuse and experienced how the hurt dissipated in the light of Gods love.
- Through the cross I found that my value isn't dependent on what other people think of me or how they value or disvalue me.
- Through the cross I came to the understanding that if God himself laid down everything for me, being flogged like a criminal bandit and nailed to a tree for my sin, (though he hadn't done anything wrong), my value must be unmeasurably great.
- At the cross, I met a powerful, unconditional love and that love effectively killed the pain of man's rejection and of the abuse in one mighty swoop. And, I was able to forgive. being able to forgive and move on meant being free from their accusations.
- The cross pointed the way to the most perfect man ever - Jesus, who laid down his life for you and for me unconditionally. He did it because we can't stop the actions that cause #Metoo unless we get a new heart. And, he had the remedy.
When we confess our sins, die with him in baptism and rise again from those waters into a new life that new heart pumps its first beats. When we receive the Holy Spirit, he works on healing us and releasing us from bad habits including looking down on others and chasing our desires selfishly - the things that are at the root of sexism. It takes time to heal completely but this is the only real solution to the #Metoo problem. I have seen it work over and over again in both men and women.
Yes, I can still feel the rejection at times, - the disdain, the contempt from men who haven't gone through the cross. But now, it is like looking through a window on a rainy day. I see the rain but it doesn't soak me. I can love them despite their weakness. I can cast their words and attitudes aside at let God deal with them. The cross has meant real freedom for me.
I really hope that you got something out of this. It takes me hours to write a blogpost like this and it requires a great deal of painful open honesty. I wrote it because I don't think that complaining about sexism accomplishes much at all. What men and women really need is a new heart and a whole lot of healing. They need an alternative - a new and better way. The cross points the way.
The solution to sexism and the healing needed for the #Metoo experiences go through the cross.
I went through the cross and it took my #Metoo pain away. It healed me and I found I could forgive everyone completely for everything. I thank God for his unconditional love that has healed me and helped me go forward. He can help you too.
The following prayers are a way for you to go forward. At the cross you can dump the past and get a new start.
If you are man who feels guilty for the attitudes you have had towards women, said things them that were sexist, looked down on them, used them and or abused them, know that there is forgiveness to be found. Maybe your father taught you. Perhaps society, doesn't matter. You can come to God and lay it all down at the foot of the cross and find forgiveness and check out your new heart.
Please forgive me for saying ___________, for doing______________, for abusing_______________, for joking about________________________, for ignoring_________________ for looking at porn (i.e., if applicable) and living to gratify my own desires. Please deliver me.
I lay it all down at the cross. I admit that it was wrong and I don't want to be that way anymore. Please wash me clean in the precious blood of Jesus that was shed for me on the cross. I receive your forgiveness as a gift and that I am now forgiven. Forever.
Please cleanse my heart, make it new. Clean motives all the way through. I lay my life in your hands. Show me the depth of your your love for me so that I can love wholeheartedly, selflessly and with proper motives. Show me how I can control myself, put others first and be an example of how a man should treat a woman. Change my attitudes, make me holy and pure. Thank you for forgiving me and strengthening me.
Please strengthen my marriage and bless my wife. Help me to see her through your eyes and treat her with respect, laying down my life for her as you did for me.
Please heal all my relationships and bless them, helping me to respect and serve them as I would like to be helped in all humility.
In Jesus name.
(If you are a man who has been sexually abused you might want to pray the next prayer too.)
If you are a woman who is hurting, if you feel the #Metoo movement and you are a victim of sexism, if you have hurts that need healing and bitterness that you want to get rid of because it is weighing you down, know that there is healing to be found. Pray this prayer.
Thank you that you have shown me my infinite value by dying on the cross or me. You made the greatest sacrifice of all time just for me. It shows me that my value does not depend on what I do, how I look or anything else. You died for me before I even existed! Your love is unconditional.
Thank you that you laid down your life for me in true humility despite the fact that you had every reason to lord it over me because you are perfect and I'm not.
You chose to show compassion on me in a way that no man on earth can or wants to. You are the perfect gentleman. You see who I am but you don't despise me for my weakness like others often do. You see my potential and you propel me forward in love You are going to heal my every hurt that men have inflicted on me and you will cleanse my wounds with your loving tears.
You are not like my father. He was broken. Please forgive him.
You aren't at all like the men that have abused me. They were broken too. Please forgive them.
I forgive: ___________________ and_____________________and__________________ Please forgive them because they, themselves are broken. *
Your love and your sacrifice on the cross determines my value, not what they say, or have said, not what I wear, or what I do or do not do well.
I repent (turn away from permanently) of my part in this mess and how I too have caused others pain. I lay down my bitterness, my pride and everything else standing i the way of your love here on the cross and leave it there forever.
Thank you for forgiving me.
Heal me and give me new heart.
Deliver me from the rejection I feel and have felt.
You have promised to never leave me or forsake me.
Help me grow in my understanding of how your love is constant and rock solid even when people let me down.
Help me to be slow to anger, quick to forgive and to stand up and say no to whatever is not right.
Holy Spirit come and fill me up with your love.
I open myself up to your way forward and ask you to guide me through your Word
Please heal my relationships and bless them, helping me to respect and serve them as I would like them to help and respect me.
By Your grace...
In Jesus name.
For the director of music. A psalm of David. When the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba.
1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. 4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge. 5 Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. 6 Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place.
7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. 8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. 9 Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity.
10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11 Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
* P.s. I encourage you to listen to Misty Edwards song, All Men are Broken. D.s.