What Are You Teaching Your Daughter About Equality?
“My mommy says you are fat.” Those words stung me like a bee. It wasn’t that I could deny it. I have struggled with weight all my life, but I wasn’t expecting it from an eight year old. She proceeded to tell me her mommy was going to give me all her fat clothes because her mommy didn’t need them anymore. I didn’t know whether to be grateful or respond with sarcasm. Instead, I could feel the tears welling up inside, so I excused myself and walked into the bathroom. I closed the door and wept. It wasn’t one of those quiet cries either. It was the big ugly cry that shakes you to your very core, leaving you gasping for breath with snot running out your nose.
As I sat there contemplating how I was going to handle the situation, God began speaking to my heart about something much bigger than being called “fat”. At first I wondered what else she had said about me. As I began to think about how I was going to get even, I found myself praying for the mother and her daughter instead. You see, I’m sure the mother never thought her daughter would say anything like that to me, but she did. It also made me sad to know that the mother’s relationship with her daughter, still in its formative stages, was being built on this kind of thinking.
What we share with our young daughters today has the power to influence them for the rest of their lives. Do we really want to set our daughters up for a life of envy and competition among themselves? Do we want to teach them intolerance to those who may act or speak differently than they do? Do we want our daughters to value relationships based on what people look like on the outside, rather than the content of their character? More importantly, what happens when your daughter feels like she will never live up to your expectations because she has heard you speak negatively about others with the same issue she might have? Why do we find it so necessary to draw dividing lines among ourselves?
We often talk about how women need equality, but we do not treat ourselves as equals Click To Tweet So, how are we supposed to get others to take us seriously? Are we really going to continue to pick and choose who we like based on popularity, or whose outfit looks good or doesn’t? Are we going to unfriend someone because we have a difference of opinion? Are we going to keep walking past the homeless woman with unwashed hair because we are afraid of getting our hands dirty? Are we going to continue to judge the pregnant teenager rather than asking if she needs help? What about the widowed neighbor who has no one to talk to, and every time you are both outside you cringe at the thought of spending the two minutes it takes to say “hello”?
What about at church? Do you treat some women differently than others, and why? Are you welcoming to every woman whether you know them or not? Do you gossip with your friends about other women at church?
As women we need to raise the bar for how we act and treat one another, not just inside the church but outside as well. There are women of all ages and stages of life, watching us as we model how it looks to be daughters of the King. Christ calls us to be examples.
You see, what the world calls equality for women is different than the equality Jesus says we have. Jesus loves us all uniquely, and the same. Jesus doesn’t judge us by our outward appearance, but what’s on the inside. He doesn’t care about what we wear, how much money we make or even where we live. Jesus simply loves us. There isn’t a competition with Jesus. We are all equal in His eyes. The ground is ALWAYS level at the foot of the cross. Jesus doesn’t place labels on us or stereotype us. We all belong to Him!
This is what we need to share with our daughters. Every little girl needs to know no matter what the world says about them or how they are portrayed through the broken lens of other people’s opinions, in Christ they are enough! Maybe if we understood, accepted, believed and lived as daughters of the King we wouldn’t underestimate the power of His influence when He tells us we ARE equal, instead of being so easily swayed by the world. We need to be an example for those God has entrusted us with, for their sake and for the sake of future generations. We need to start praying for each other, respecting and honoring the differences we have and break the generational cycle of discrimination that we have for each other.
James 2:1-4 (NLT)
My dear brothers and sisters, how can you claim to have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people over others? For example, suppose someone comes into your meeting dressed in fancy clothes and expensive jewelry, and another comes in who is poor and dressed in dirty clothes. If you give special attention and a good seat to the rich person, but you say to the poor one, “You can stand over there, or else sit on the floor”—well, doesn’t this discrimination show that your judgments are guided by evil motives?
Until we take a stand and demonstrate pure love and equality for each other and the young ones who are watching us, we can’t cry for equality elsewhere or expect others to listen to us. We need to practice what Jesus preached because our life depends on it.
Luke 10:25-27 (NLT)
One day an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus by asking him this question: “Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?”26 Jesus replied, “What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?” The man answered, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”