Men and Women TogetherDaily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
But among the Lord’s people, women are not independent of men, and men are not independent of women.
1 Corinthians 11:11
As I explained in yesterday's reflection, some of the Christian women in Corinth had been removing their headscarves in worship gatherings because this had been their practice in their previous pagan religious experience. Yet this behavior, which was immodest and therefore sexually provocative in their culture, was upsetting the men in the Corinthian church. Nevertheless, the women continued to leave their heads uncovered, arguing that they were free in Christ to do whatever they wished. They did not want to take into account the feelings of the men, preferring to act independently.
In response to these women, Paul explains: "But among the Lord’s people, women are not independent of men, and men are not independent of women" (11:11). Thus, the women are not to act as if they are free to be unconcerned about or disconnected from the men of the church. And the men are not to function independently of the women. Rather, both genders are to care for the other, to worship and work in mutual partnership.
Paul's counsel echoes the creation of human beings in the opening chapters of Genesis. There, we learn that God made man as male and female. Together, men and women are to fulfill God's command to be fruitful and multiply, to fill the earth and manage it well. In Genesis 2, God observes that it is not good for the man to be alone. Therefore, God creates the woman as the man's partner. Though sin distorts the relationship between man and woman, as we see in Genesis 3, God brings clarity and healing to this fundamental relationship through Christ (Gal. 3:28).
Thus, to the Corinthians, Paul explains that "among the Lord's people, women are not independent of men, and men are not independent of women"(11:11). Because of Christ's saving, restoring work, we are able to experience the mutuality and collegiality God intended for men and women. We recognize that we need each other in order to fulfill God's purpose for us and to live life to the fullest. God's vision for human life includes men and women working, living, serving, and worshiping together.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: Have you ever experienced independence between men and women that hurt the body of Christ? Positively, have you experienced the strength and health that comes when men and women enjoy mutual dependence and collegiality?
PRAYER: Gracious Lord, thank you for the way you have created us. In particular, I thank you for the way you made human beings as male and female, so that we might be partners together in the work you have given us.
As you know, Lord, the Corinthian Christians aren't the only ones to struggle with living together as men and women. We also find it difficult to live out the vision of Genesis for our relationship. So help us, we pray, to know how to live out our partnership in church and family, in the workplace and in our community. As men and women, may we model mutual care and interdependence as a demonstration of the power of the Gospel to bring wholeness and transformation. Amen.