Saturday, February 27, 2016

Gender Brokenness

“So, God created people in his own image; God patterned them after himself; male and female he created them. God blessed them…” Genesis 1: 27-28a

Fatima showed me the sole photo she has of her late husband, Mohammed. His mother was in the photo standing next to him along with his little girl, Sahar, who was dressed like a boy and sporting a boy’s style of haircut. Fatima was missing in the photo. She was an invisible woman. She found a photo of herself and pasted it on to the sole family photo. My heart ached for Fatima and for Sahar, now 13 years old. She laughed and said, “My dad wanted a boy, not a girl, so he dressed me like a boy. Then when I was three years old my brother was born so I could start dressing like a girl.”

A few weeks later Fatima began reading from The Young Reader’s Bible story book with me. We began with the creation account. I explained how God considered male and female good and they were made in His image. “Not only the creation of man was considered good but the creation of female, too. That is how God thinks of you, Fatima. Creation of woman is beautiful and good and God blesses you.” From the look on her face I could tell that new information did not fully register. Life’s experiences so far had not proven that she was blessed as a woman. When we got to the consequences Adam and Eve encountered as a result of disobeying God’s command the conversation got lively. We talked about the origin of gender brokenness. It was not part of God’s original design. The relationship between man and woman had once been perfect but the consequences of sin brought brokenness and seemingly incurable wounds.  Fatima started crying. She just assumed that God made men and women to be in a power struggle with one another.  It is a subject which interests Muslim women deeply. When you read Genesis 3:16 “….And though your desire will be for your husband, he will be your master,” it will surely produce a conversation.

It is not always easy being a woman in this world. We probably each have a story to share about some gender brokenness and wounds. Gender brokenness has affected every woman to some degree whether Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, or atheist. Certain things affected me growing up as a female in Somalia and living in Pakistan. I have been broken and wounded in some church circles because of my gender.  But, praise God, I can also say that God has done a wonderful work healing and freeing me. It will not take long to discover that many Muslim women are suffering from gender brokenness and painful wounds. What will we say to them? Only offer sympathy or words of hope and healing, too?  It is disastrous to go into Muslim ministry if the Christian woman has not been healed and set free from her own gender wounds. We will not be able to help wounded Muslim women or believers from Muslim background who are in an unhealed state but will reinforce hatred or negativity towards males. I love to speak of Jesus Christ, the Perfect Gentleman.

Dear heavenly Father, many of my Muslim friends need help in their gender woundedness. Please help me to know how to speak hope into their issues. In Jesus’ name, Amen.