Read: Genesis 2:21-25
So far this week, we’ve seen the importance and magnitude of what it means to be human. The world loves to tell us that we were made to do things, to produce things, to consume things, but Genesis 2 tells us a different story. Our ultimate calling is to be in relationship both with God and one another.
Relationships can be both profoundly beautiful and painful at the same time. We live in an era of labor exploitation, sexual exploitation, racial injustice, and gender warfare. Sometimes it’s hard to think that relationships with others are even worth the struggle it takes to be in them. Every angle of our world seems to be inundated with people struggling for power.
People have sometimes twisted Scripture to back up their sinful attitudes or acts of domination, and I have seen and heard the passage for today being used this way. The rationale usually goes something like this: Man was made first and the woman was made out of him. Because the female was made second and out of a man, that makes the male superior and the primary gender. Women are the secondary helpers.
However, a closer look at this passage seems to indicate that this is not true. While this passage surely shows that there is a diversity between the genders, and the woman is described as a helper or assistant in Genesis 2:20, no hierarchy is established here. Instead the passage clearly states that the two should become one. Though there is diversity present there is also a profoundly beautiful unity that exists.
I find that most Christians agree with these truths. Yet, I have seen within the church that sometimes our beliefs do not affect much action. I have watched many Christian men acknowledge the truth that men and women are created equally, though diversely, and still act as if they are the ones who are most important. They make decisions from a man’s perspective, and then ask for the counsel of other men about the decisions they make. Then they wonder why women feel under represented or unheard.
I think this passage also sheds light into the roles of men and women. The only instruction on how men and women should relate to each other is actually not given to women but to men. This passage sets the standard that men are to leave their mother and father and hold fast to the wife. For us this is a cultural norm, but let’s not forget the implications that it would have had to earlier cultures.
To leave one’s family is more than just a command about where the couple should locate, but also speaks to the priority of one’s life. In a culture where the individual would have found their main identity in their family’s honor, this passage shows that the responsibility of the man is to literally give up himself, all the way to the core of who he is, so that he might hold fast to his wife.
Here in the beginning of the world, God is already setting a high standard for how unity is achieved, in giving oneself up completely to serve the other. Think about the impact this mindset could have on our individual relationships, families, and churches.
In what ways have you been being selfish in your relationships, thinking only of what is best for you? Confess your selfishness to God and ask Him to give you tangible things you can do to serve those around you.