When we form relationships with other people, many of us form them according to the standards we learned from the world. The problem with using these standards is that they are unequal and restrictive. We’ve become accustomed to forcing ourselves into traditional gender roles that stifle and suffocate the real person inside of us, but God’s original plan made man and woman equal.
When God formed the world, He created both male and female in His image. “Then God said, ‘Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.’ So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:26, 27, NLT). He gave them dominion and authority over everything on the earth, but not over each other. They had the perfect relationship with each other and with God.
When Adam and Eve sinned, their relationship changed for the worse. God still loved them just as much as before, but they were subject to the consequences of their actions. Their sin disrupted the equilibrium of their relationship and put woman in subjection to man. “Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee” (Genesis 3:16). This inequality continued for successive generations until Jesus came to set things right again, although we still see it manifested around us today in many different situations.
Though sin ruined God’s original plan for us, Jesus restored it through His death on the cross and His resurrection. Christ destroyed the barriers that separated people by gender, race, age, or economic status, so that people could be reconciled to each other and to God. “For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace” (Ephesians 2:14, 15, NIV). The world still lives according to the way life was before the cross, but when we accept what Jesus did to restore equality, we receive the freedom to be exactly who God created us to be.
When we feel the tug on our hearts to do something others tell us is wrong because of our gender, we can move in that direction because Jesus has set us free to do so. We don’t have to let the world squash the call of God on our lives. Christ has removed all inequalities. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).
This radically changes our marriages, friendships, and every other relationship, because all limitations and restrictions have been removed. God doesn’t set double standards for men and women. “Then Peter began to speak: ‘I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism’” (Acts 10:34, NIV); “
For there is no partiality with God” (Romans 2:11, NKJV). Relationships based on His standards free us to fulfill our God-given roles.