Over the last couple years, I’ve become quite the feminist.
I don’t hate men or burn bras, but the reality of injustice and oppression toward women is something I can no longer ignore. In America, it can be easy to ignore because we think ourselves to be so progressive and justify the sexualization and objectification of women to be freedom of expression.
In Nepal, it’s not so easy to ignore.
When girls are born, families weep. Young girls are told that they are worthless and cause a burden on the poor family. Families willingly sell their daughters to traffickers in remote villages, or even sacrifice and kill their daughters to avoid the cost of a dowry.
Men and their sex organs are worshipped. One temple glorifies statues of male genitalia as idols. Once married, a Hindu woman must worship her husband. Every night, she washes his feet and then drinks the dirty water as an act of worship. She has no rights apart from her husband.
The men begin to believe that sex makes them powerful. The women begin to believe that the have no value and exist only for the pleasure of man. Their souls waste away little by little as this lie of worthlessness and powerlessness grows stronger.
This month, I had the privilege of working with a man of God who gives me hope for the men of Nepal. He was raised Hindu and was arranged to marry a Hindu girl. After marriage, they followed their culture and she worshipped him, like a proper Hindu wife. She washed his feet, drank the water, and lived to serve him. This was all they knew and all they had seen; it was normal.
At 30 years old, this man who was now a Hindu priest heard about the gospel of Jesus. He decided that Jesus was the only true God and became a Christian. His wife did not believe so quickly.
After a year of her husband following Jesus, this man’s wife decided that she wanted to know Jesus also. And the reason was because the man she once worshipped now bent down and washed her feet. The man she lived to serve now valued her and loved her with the love of God. It wrecked her. Together they have raised sons who also love and respect women because they have seen their value as God values them.
This issue of value is not only one person, one gender, one country’s problem. It is everyone’s concern. It is about knowing the truth of our value as human beings and the respect to treat each person (no matter the color, the race, the sin, the lifestyle, the gender, the theology) as an image of their Creator.
The truth is that each and every person’s value was made known on the cross when Jesus chose to die for the unlovable, unreachable, selfish, poor, rich, rejected, stubborn and all else in between. He did not only die for those who would believe him or accept him. His sacrifice was to God so that all could be welcomed into his presence – the Father was desperate for his children.
We are worthy because he said we were worth dying for.
Men and women. Equally we need God. Equally we have been called worthy.
It’s time for us to refuse to believe the obvious and the subtle lies. It’s time to open our eyes, reject apathy/ignorance/indifference and stand up to pray and fight for justice for all women.