The older I get the more I realize people have not changed very much the last couple of thousand of years! We think we have made much progress in the human race but a reality check would prove otherwise. I was studying the passage in the Bible we often refer to as "The Woman at the Well" (John 4) and a stray thought hit me....what about the other women...you know the ones who came early and excluded this one. In order for this woman in our story to feel so left out, they must have been pretty mean to her because women are relational!! Think about that for just a second...and then look at today's world. Mean girls actually grow up to be mean women...exclusionary girls grow up to be exclusionary women...girls who think they are better than other girls grow up to be women who think they are better than other women.
I am in women's ministry!! ( I pleaded with God to give me a group of 5th grade boys instead but...) Women are not easy...(as Jerry Clower used to say, "If I'm lying...I'm dying!!) Just this past week some "friends" of a girl in our youth group had a party but exclued this girl! The girl was devastated. The comments I heard from the grown-ups were: " I hate junior high! Girls are so mean!! I wouldn't go back if I had to!!" Well, the reason we wouldn't go back is we don't have to...we still live that way. In our churches the junior high girls have grown up to be "junior high" women!! I hear from women all over about how they are not included. Just this weekend a woman said to me when I asked her if she was active in her women's ministry that she has been a member of her church for several years but there is a small group of women who don't want any new women to become a part....If this had been an isolated case I would have been tempted to believe she was just paranoid but it is not. I hear it all over. You see these mean girls who were in junior high then are now the mothers (AND grandmothers) of junior high girls now. This is a legacy we need to stop!!
I am really NOT trying to beat up on women. (I am one!) I am just trying to say that this is wrong in every sense of the word. We are to be drawing women into fellowship instead of excluding them. How is it we will go across the world to do "mission work" but will not invite someone who doesn't fit her particular standard to a get together. We especially exclude those who have sinned! We just have forgotten that ALLL of us are sinners...there is not one of us who hasn't.
Those other women....the ones who came to the well in the early morning...I imagine them walking and fellowshiping all the way to the well. I see the woman in our story watching from a distance...wanting and needing just one friend to include her. The happy ending of this story, however, is that the one who was exluded found Jesus!! He knew everything about her, yet did not shame her but encouraged her to live differently. The first thing she did was to go back and tell everyone about Him....I am thinking that included the other women. Wow! See when we encounter Jesus, He removes barriers in our lives. She had become complete in His love and therefore no longer needed to protect herself from the glares of others and was free to encounter them from that freedom.
My prayer for the women in our churches (for many times we are the worst!) is to look at every woman as a "Daughter of Eve" who needs friendship....who needs to feel included...but most of all who needs to know the unconditional love of Jesus. I also pray for our mean women who exclude, to meet Jesus and discover His security and love. That love brings freedom!! Freedom to open our arms wide to even include that one who lives differently.
We can be the difference in our church...in our town...and eventually in our world but we must be willing to quit excluding. We need to be teaching our daughters and granddaugthers how important it is to include even the ones that don't fit our list of requirements!! Jesus did. He did for you and He wants to for all. Let our legacy be: She loved everybody!!!
Share your thoughts on this!!!