THE TAKE AWAY
Human Trafficking 4
By Kersley Fitzgerald
Human Trafficking: The Series
Statistics and Definitions
Freedom for the Captives
The Church's Response
Note: This series is on human trafficking, including sex trafficking. Terms are plain, although situations are not explicit. Still, reader discretion is advised.
We get a lot of questions asking why God is so sexist. Why so many rules beating down women? I think it must break His heart to hear such accusations. And it must hurt even more to know how sin has taken His greatest creation and trampled it into the ground.
God created woman last. He started with something simple — the heavens and the earth. Pretty easy to differentiate — the heavens are the light, airy stuff, the world is the water-covered rock in the middle. Then there was light and dark. Sure, we still don't understand photons, but the whole light/dark thing is easy to wrap your head around. Then some hard stuff poked up above the water. Got it.
Things start to get interesting. Plants and trees. Life, really. That's a pretty big deal. Then stars, the moon, the sun. The seas look a little empty, so throw some fish in there. The sky is empty, so add birds. The land is empty, fill it with animals.
Then man. God's image (there are a lot of theories about what exactly that means, but the point is, God wanted something resembling Himself, so He made us). Complicated. Emotional. Endowed with a soul and logic (well, sometimes) and choice.
That's Genesis 1, the synopsis. Genesis 2 goes into further detail of that sixth day. Adam's wandering around, checking out this new place with plants and animals and seas. He knows he has it pretty good. The dogs are fun, the cats aren't obnoxious yet, and nothing has tried to eat him.
It's really interesting that God made all this — world, sky, seas, fish, bears, man — with only the angels and the Trinity to watch and applaud. But when it came time to make woman, he not only wanted Adam to watch, He wanted Adam to see the empty hole and anticipate the resolution.
My other job is for a kitchen design company. The shop has little vignettes scattered all about. When a customer comes in, they can see all these different cabinets and color choices. But the owner likes to save the best for herself. She'll talk about finishes and door styles, and subtly reach down and open a drawer. Then she'll slam the drawer shut. But it won't slam. It has a soft-close mechanism which means it never slams. The customers' eyes go wide, and she gets a cute little gleam in her eye.
That's what God was doing, here. "Yeah? You like this? The grass is soft, isn't it? That mango taste good?* Well, watch this!"
And He creates Eve. And it is very good.
And Eve is given the same job as Adam. They're joined together — a team. But more than a team. Like Dev and I say, like Legos — they latch together, each making up for the other's lack.
And in the next chapter, it all comes falling down.
Eve is tempted. She hands the fruit to Adam — who is standing right there and says nothing. Adam decides he'd rather live with Eve than stay in the garden alone. And everything is different.
I did some really brief research on women in ancient times. It seems that in general, except for northern Native Americans, the more isolated a couple was from their family, the better treated the women were. Sure, there were the Celtic women who led battles and owned fighting schools and kidnapped Roman women as slaves. But the Germanic tribes had "leave and cleave" down. Couples lived apart from their family, in separate houses, surrounded by their own kids and livestock. And the men cherished their wives. The Egyptians had some women's lib starting, but most cultures in the Mediterranean and Asia were based on the patriarchal system. In general, the more exalted the extended family, the fewer rights women had.
It makes sense. A girl gets married, and immediately moves in with her in-laws. What is her purpose? To serve the family and to provide blood-heirs for the patriarch. What does she get out of it? A place. Food, shelter. Hopefully a son who will take care of her when she's old because the man she married is ten years older than she is and will die sooner.
This is hard for us to wrap our heads around, but if a woman was not married and/or had no son, she was soon out of options. If she was lucky, a brother would take her in, and she could be the old, useless, spinster aunt. She couldn't own land. She couldn't own her own business. If she was lucky enough to live in Athens, where men were horrible to their wives, she might be a hetaera — kind of like a geisha. But her property was not her own. Even her dowry was administered by her nearest male relative for the good of her family — not for her own personal good. A woman with no resources and no power usually had only two options: become a slave, or become a prostitute.
This was the context of all those strange Old Testament laws about women. If her husband dies and she has no son, she can marry his brother. Because one of the most vulnerable people-groups is widows, and she has few other choices. If a man rapes her, or seduces her (the meaning of the text is unclear), she has the option of making him marry her. Because who is going to marry a non-virgin? Which of her relatives is going to risk bringing in a child who is not a blood-relative? Who is going to take a woman for a wife that another man has already had?
A quick word on the passages on rape. If an un-engaged girl is raped in the city, the man must pay her father and marry her. If she's raped in the country, the man will die. Why the distinction? Because if a girl is raped in the city and she doesn't cry out, the benefit of the doubt goes to the man. Cities were densely packed. A girl would have fought for her virtue. If she's in a city and she didn't cry out, it probably wasn't rape. If she's in the country, however, the benefit of the doubt goes to the girl. I don't think there is any other situation in which capital punishment is allowed on the witness of a single person — let alone a woman. All serious crimes required two witnesses. This is particularly ironic considering the US court system today where the victim must jump through several hoops before her attacker is even prosecuted. But God shows His heart when He says, "Nope, not this one. My girls deserve more protection." Seen in that light, the strange laws on rape actually show the value of women in a hostile culture.
God said, "Do you see that girl? I made her. If you touch her — if you hurt her, you die."
That is what God thinks of women.
And Jesus manifested this. He was gentle with the woman caught in adultery, even while He chastised the righteous Pharisees. He asked the Samaritan women for a favor. He stood up for Mary when she anointed Him with perfume. He cared for an unclean woman with an issue of blood. He was a rabbi-He wasn't even supposed to touch women. This is what God thinks of women — they are to be cared for, befriended, taught, delighted in. This is what Eve was created for. It was sin and fear and greed that destroyed that, not God. And it is sin and fear and greed that enslave women today.
*It's mangoes. There's no way they weren't in paradise.
Next: Father to the fatherless: How God the Father sees His daughters.
Links to check out:
Ransomed Heart Ministries
God's View of Women
The Samson Society
What to do if you suspect someone is being trafficked:
If the situation is urgent, call 911.
If there is no immediate threat, call the non-emergency number, often 311.
Call your local anti-human trafficking organization.
Call the national hotline — 1-888-3737-888.
(Hotlines will not necessarily be able to provide emergency assistance, but they will track activity to better aid the FBI and other law enforcement in determining where and how to act.)
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