Friday, March 27, 2009

Learning to Say "No"

OK to say NO!

By Adele Hebert

Jesus used images concerning the end of time. Both men and women are in these stories; both must be ready; both treated equally. Both involve hard choices, even saying NO!

What sort of servant, then, is faithful and wise enough for the master to place him over his household to give them their food at the proper time? Happy that servant if his master arrival finds him at his employment. I tell you solemnly, he will place him over everything he owns. His master will come on a day he does not expect and at an hour he does not know. (Mt 24:45-51; Lk 12:42-46 says female servants as well.)

Immediately following is the second story, about the wise and foolish bridesmaids. Jesus took great effort to illustrate the same point, this time focusing on women. The big difference is that the women in this parable use their voice. This is a powerful lesson for women. They are not simply told what to do. In fact, they do not obey. Jesus gave women dignity, always defended them, and taught them about boundaries, not to allow abuse.

Jesus NEVER once told women that they had to submit to anyone. The word submit does not occur in the Greek; the actual word is Support. There is much confusion concerning submission. We want to do the right thing, but we don know where to draw the line. Often, we don draw any lines at all, or the lines that we do draw are way past the safety zone. We realize it when we are over our heads in trouble; then we get depressed and don know why. So where are the lines to be drawn that will keep us safe, walking in truth, and in the center of God's will? The word submit is still used to keep women in bondage. Without knowing these boundary lines, we allow others to use us. Jesus ADVISED women to use boundaries.

Ask yourself, would God want me to do this? Women, this is the boundary line! We have been taught that we are to blindly obey our spouse, but that is not from God. So we obey out of fear. We obey to keep the peace. But Abraham made Sarah lie. Ahasuerus wanted Vashti to show her beauty; she rightly refused. God gave us His Word so we will not be deceived. The Lord would not have us do anything ungodly or under coercion or manipulation. You are NEVER to submit to abuse. Here Jesus tells women they SHOULD say NO!

Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise: the foolish ones took their lamps, but no oil, whereas the wise ones took oil as well as their lamps. The bridegroom was late, and they all grew drowsy and fell asleep. But at midnight there was a cry, he bridegroom is here! Go out and meet him. At this, all those bridesmaids woke up and trimmed their lamps, and the foolish ones said to the wise ones, ive us some of our oil: our lamps are going out. But they replied, NO, there may not be enough for us and for you; go to those who sell it and buy some for yourselves. (Mt 25:1-13) At times we Need to say NO. One of the most crucial lessons for women in the whole bible is right here. Jesus gave women permission to say, NO! Check out another woman with boundaries and a voice Lk 1:60.

*NO! an extremely valuable word for women*. Jesus gave women the right to say NO to stand up for themselves, for what is right, to protect themselves. Jesus Advised, even Encouraged us to say No!

Women, get boundaries or you will get used!

Adapted by Stephen Gola and Leonard Swidler.