‘Family’ is an increasingly difficult word in today’s world. The word itself derives from the Latin meaning ‘servant of the household’, and perhaps the best understanding for familial relationships is that each one is to act as the servant of the other – thereby emphasising Paul’s teaching in Philippians, ‘put others’ interests over and above your own’. However, as a mediator who has been present at the breakdown of marriages, servanthood is the last thought in either party’s mind in a fractured family.
I recognise it will be a painful subject for many, without my rehearsing the long list of reasons here. Yet if this is painful for us, how much more painful is it for its originator, God? The very heart of marriage, itself the foundation for family, is established in the early chapters of Genesis. Man and woman are created as equals. The word describing Eve as a ‘helper’ actually means ‘one corresponding to’, so there is not distinction in status from the moment of creation, and all such gender wars are in fact the invention of a fractured humanity.
Scripture advises that a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and become one flesh, which means they are a unique social unit and one single being and will realise God’s plan upon the earth together. As such a unit they are required to build a common life that expresses faithfulness to each other, the willingness to listen and to forgive each other, sharing economic risk alongside each other, parenting and educating children in the ways of God.
Men and women, of equal status and shared kinship, reflect between them the fullness of God, for neither one nor the other bears the total image of God; as scripture says, ‘So God created man in His own image…male and female He created them’ (Genesis 1:27, NKJV). The reality of God requires two distinct expressions of God’s highest creativity.
(Dr Micha Jazz)
With many peaceful blessings