Do you ever think about how much alike men and women really are? We hear so much about differences that we forget that we are really more alike than we are different. Let me give you some examples:
1. My genetic make-up comes half from my father and half from my mother. Likewise, there genetic make-up came half from their mothers and half from their fathers—and so on back for generations. Sounds like a pretty mixed up gene pool to me. It means I have masculine traits from my Dad as well as feminine traits from my Mom. By the way, my Mom was a tomboy, so I have some of her “masculine” traits as well.
2. The major difference comes in those little X and Y chromosomes. As a woman, I don’t have a Y chromosome.
3. But look at the variety of attributes across males and females: all women are not the same, nor are all men. For example, we all know women who are very analytical (stereotypically a masculine trait) and men who can be very passionate and emotional (stereotypically a feminine trait). I would suggest we need to abandon a lot of those gender-specific stereotypes!!
4. God says He created both male and female in His image. What an amazing idea. That implies that I reflect the image of God in my femininity as well as my personhood. I can’t grasp a full image of God without considering his image in both men and women.
So why is this important? For starters, it speaks to the core of my self-identity. If I am created in the image of God in every aspect of my being, then I have immeasurable value. This doesn’t rest on what I have done, or what the color of my skin is, or how much money I make, or where I live, or…or… As Jessie Jackson, of the civil rights days of the 60s, used to lead people in saying: “I AM SOMEBODY!” I am an IMPORTANT somebody! It is as simple as that.
Second, I am a unique reflection of who God is. I don’t have to conform to someone else’s expectation of who I am or who I should be. I have unique characteristics and abilities that define me and me alone. I need to discover, explore, and unleash them to be able to live to my fullest. This is not to negate all the pressures that come against us to conform, but is a challenge for us to grow to become all God has made me to be.
Third, we need to acknowledge that while we reflect the image of God, we are not perfect and we are not complete. The image of God in us is marred by our sin nature, and only reflects a part of who God is. We need others around us who reflect different characteristics and attributes of who God is to get a better and bigger picture of who God is.
All of these have further implications…but that is for another day.