True Gentlemen

By Chris Dupre

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Let's look at what the Bible has to say about these roles. Scripture is clear that men are to assume a leadership role within a church body, and within his own family (1 Corinthians 11:3, 1 Timothy 2:11-15, Ephesians 5:22-24). It is important to note that these different roles do not indicate that men are more important than women. The Bible is clear that men and women are created equally and in God's image (Genesis 1:27), however it is very apparent that God has ordained men and women to assume different roles in society (Genesis 2:18). These roles have been followed broadly in some sense in virtually every culture throughout history. According to the Bible, women were created to be helpers to men, but still are equal to men in their status before God. This fact is echoed in 1 Peter 3:7:
Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.
These verses are often highly controversial and offensive among many unbelievers and to those who do not hold to the reliability and authority of Scripture. The Bible draws clear lines to delineate the roles between men and women within the church and at home. Many Christian men understandably apply these functions into other areas of life, even where people may not adhere to, or even be hostile to, Christian ethics and norms.

The problem is that these roles are understandably vilified in light of abuses that have taken place throughout history — abuses that in no way reflect the intent of God's original design and purpose for men and women. Still, a gentleman will consider the needs and feelings or women and be a proper example of God's love toward them. He will do this without expecting anything in return.

Looking at the reality of the situation, we know that woman's status as a "weaker vessel" is a (accurate) generalization, as the vast majority of men should know at least a handful of women who are stronger, both physically and mentally, than they are. However, in general, a man will be able to build up his strength through exercise or manual labor more quickly and to a greater degree than a woman. It also should be no secret that a woman is more inclined toward her emotions than a man, but again, there are obvious exceptions to this as well.

Regardless of these differences, since the gentleman is one to act appropriately in any given situation, he will understand that it may be wise to modify how he treats women who do not follow the standard God has laid out for men and women in the Bible. A man may want to weigh how he treats a Christian woman against how he treats an unbeliever. A godly woman will welcome a man who abides by the standards laid out above. If she comes across a true gentleman, she will see him treat men and women with the same degree of love and deference. An unbeliever with a western mindset may automatically object strongly to any overtures he may make in showing respect to her. Of course, showing love to that person, he would consider taking that inclination into account and may modify his behavior. Such actions as opening doors, offering his seat, or lifting heavy items may not be welcome by some women. That doesn't mean we should never do them, but if a man interacts with a woman he knows to be against such gestures, then he would find himself solidly within the confines of being a gentleman to not force those situations upon her.

One personal example of this scenario can be found within the military. I have made it a habit to stand when a woman enters a room in most situations. Many military members often frown upon this show of respect, as the equality of men and women is constantly being stressed, and altering behavior based on one's sex is often looked upon as condescension. Of course, the behavior modification is practiced in almost every circumstance, anyway. Some personal conversations between men in the military would very likely lead to an Equal Employment Opportunity complaint if the same was said to a woman.

Just consider your surroundings and the people around you. Keep others in mind in everything you do. The key is to love God, love your neighbor, and do to others as you would have them do to you. Then you will be a true gentleman in every situation!

Image Credit: Unsplash; untitled; Creative Commons

TagsBiblical-Truth  | Christian-Life  | Controversial-Issues  | Personal-Relationships

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Published on 5-16-16