Shalom: The Way Things Ought To Be (When Things Aren’t What They Ought To Be) Part 1

As I sit and read stories from brave woman that I know personally and from afar who have responded to the Harvey Weinstein scandal by saying #metoo, I can’t help but grieve over how things aren’t what they ought to be in our world.

I think about my daughter. I think about the world she’s growing up in right now. And yes, even though women have made great strides in the last century, things still aren’t how they should be for her. We still live in a world in which I have to teach her how to be safe and how to protect herself from the very people who should be making her feel safe. I have to teach her about being in the wrong places at the wrong time and about the buddy system with girlfriends. I will have to have conversations about how not all men are like her daddy and her little brother, they weren’t raised to respect women and their bodies. Through tears, I will have to explain to her that the body God gave her is beautiful and hers to guard because some men never learned how to speak graciously and reverently to women. She will live in a world where the potential for her being taken advantage of in her chosen career is still great.

Things aren’t what they ought to be in our current world. As Christians, we know that Jesus ushered in a new kingdom. His kingdom is one that shines light in the darkness. In Jesus’ time, women were not only not revered, they were pretty low on the social totem pole. But, Jesus lived his life and his ministry counter-culturally. Some of Jesus’ closest friends and co-laborers were women. And, Jesus didn’t just interact with the “respectful” women of his day which was almost unheard of among Jewish men; He also ministered to women who were ignored and marginalized. He healed an unclean, hemorrhaging woman when most Jewish men wouldn’t be caught within feet of her (Matthew 9:20-22, Mark 5:25-34, Luke 8:43-48). He protected and forgave a woman caught in adultery when the establishment was set on stoning her to death (John 8:1-11). He taught and commissioned a Samaritan adulterous woman at a well in the middle of the day (John 4:5-35). A woman washed his feet with her tears, her most precious perfume and her kisses in an act of worship, and without flinching, Jesus uses her as an example of how his followers should honor him in a room full of men judging her (Mark 7:36-50).

Jesus ushered in a kingdom where women are spiritually equal to men- “There is neither Jew or Greek, neither slave or free, nor is there male or female, for you all are one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28, ESV) He respected, loved and engaged with women in ways that should serve as an example for those who seek to follow him. But, as most Christians also know, we live in the here and the not yet. Yes, we live in the time after Jesus came and died, but we also live in the time before he will come back and renew the world to make all that is wrong, right again.

So, what does this have to do with SHALOM? Shalom signifies a sense of well-being and harmony within and without (Strong’s Concordance). In short, shalom speaks of spiritual health for our souls and spirit.

Okay, so what does that mean for us, as women, who live in a broken world with broken people? Here are some of my thoughts:

  1. I think first, we have to acknowledge that things in this world are not how they ought to be and this is not the world as God intended it at creation.
  2. After we acknowledge that, we have to see ourselves as God sees us, not as the world sees us. True shalom will not come to us until we recognize that we are beautiful, brave and worthy in God’s eyes. He created us and gave us a purpose for His glory, even when the world or our circumstances tell us otherwise.
  3. We are called to teach our daughters (and, our sons) the realities of the broken world we live in while simultaneously teaching them about the kingdom of Jesus in hopes that maybe the world they grow up in will be a little bit closer to what God intended than it is now.
  4. Remember that while the place in which we live won’t be “all better” until Jesus returns, we are called to make the place in which we live better. This is our calling as a follower of Jesus.

“They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek PEACE and pursue it.” 1 Peter 3:11 (NIV, emphasis mine)

To you, sweet friends, who have been so brave in sharing your stories of trauma, harassment and abuse, thank you. Thank you for your bravery and for your vulnerability. Thank you for doing your part to make this world a little better until it’s made “all better” through Jesus. Know that you are loved and honored and worthy. I pray that God would bring shalom to each of you as you wrestle through the brokenness.

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