Thursday, February 25, 2010

A parable of a Woman and her Children

Now the children of a certain woman spent most of their days quarreling: fighting over toys, taking toys from one another, yelling at and insulting one another, calling each other nasty names and even hitting each other. Being tired of the chaos, the woman called her children to her and told them that since she loved them both dearly and loved them equally, she had come up with a solution to stop their fighting and bring peace and love into their home. She would assign a role to each child. The children were to follow their roles the same as they would if they were putting on a play.

Since the six year old daughter was the younger, her role would be to always have whatever she wanted. Any toy her brother had, she could take it away and play with it. When she tired of it, she could choose to give it back to her brother, put it where it belonged, leave it on the floor, or hide it so her brother could not find it. Any time she wanted him to do something, he had to do it. The woman commanded her daughter to be kind to her brother, but the primary rule was that the daughter was to have things her way.

Then the woman turned to her son and commanded him that he was to willingly offer his sister any toy she desired, he was never to take a toy from his sister, and he was to do anything she told him to do. Being 7, he was the elder, so it was his responsibility to see to it that his sister was happy. If he complained about his lot, he would be punished. If he retaliated against his sister he would be punished, too. No matter what his sister did to him, he was to endure it patiently and keep giving her his toys or anything else she wanted.

Now I ask you, would anyone in their right mind consider this woman to be a just parent? Wouldn’t we all conclude she is evil?

Yet the commandments of the woman in the parable are comparable to the commandments the complementarians claim God has made in regard to husbands and wives.

John Piper indicated a wife should endure her husband’s mistreatment for a season, until he smacked her one night. THEN she could ask for help. Bruce Ware claimed a husband only hits his wife when she doesn’t give him his way. (IE: she refuses to give him the toy he wants, so he hits her.) Ware says the hitting is not acceptable, but his blaming it on the one who supposedly wouldn’t give up her toys makes it clear he thinks otherwise.

How can we as Christians judge the mother in this parable to be evil, yet judge God, who the complementarians claim does the same thing, to be good?

Frankly, if that is really what their god is like--unjust and a liar--I want nothing to do with him.

The God I serve is a God of justice, truth, and of love for ALL His children, female and male alike. He does not lie, nor does He distort truth. He does not set one gender up to rule and debase the other, nor does he dispise and make one gender a lifetime slave to be mastered by the other. And He certainly does not set half his children up for mistreatment at the hands of the other half of his children, and claim that mistreatment is actually equality of persons but differences of roles!

The God I serve loves each of us equally and demonstrates this by clearly telling all Christians to submit to one another, including husbands and wives. Those who convince themselves otherwise have twisted the scriptures.

If the woman in the parable is evil for inflicting evil on her children, is it fair to say that Piper and Ware and others who do the same are also evil?

Or do we give them a pass because they are popular "Christian" leaders who are so "nice?"

Waneta Dawn is the author of "Behind the Hedge, A novel,"a story about a woman who grapples with her husband's demands that she submit--no matter what. Please visit


  1. I know exactly what you are talking about in parable form. In my daughter's house there is constant fussing and fighting between 4 boys who want it their way no matter whose toy it is.

    The basic lessons of life are learned by age 5. In their case, all the good training has been missing due to a father who is just as childish as they are.

    Now that he has been invited out by my daughter, things are getting better s-l-o-w-l-y! That little poem "Children Learn What They Live" so true. The wise parent protects children from a abusive father, but it has been a rough road for our daughter. A mother who abuses is just as destructive. That was his reason for insanity--mother abuse.

    See my comment in the previous Waneta post for up-to-date information.

    I have just been made aware of a case in California where the parent killed one of their children following the fundamentalist "Pearl System" in home schooling. It seems he advocates beating children with a 1/4" PVC pipe to make them submissive and perfectly behaved. Such treatment of children is just as crazy as the woman in the Parable so beautifully stated.

  2. I had a giggle tonight - its a pass because they are so 'nice'! (sticking tongue out now!)

    Its ugly when you look at it as a parable, but what they ask is pretty similar. I guess they would feel since they are NOT a child they would be benevolent in toy taking.


  3. Hannah,
    Or on the other hand, taking your toys is "best" for you. It is also "best" for them to have your toys themselves. This is their loving benevolence.