Pastor Skip:All right.
Pastor Skip:Now sweetheart, this is the male brain.
Lenya:Is it now?
Pastor Skip:With a hat on it.
Lenya:Is it made of Styrofoam?
Pastor Skip:It, well now, be careful. I want to tell you about, I want to tell you about how men think—the male brain, okay? Men's brains, you see they're filled with files.
Pastor Skip:Does that make sense, files?
Lenya:As in a file cabinet?
Pastor Skip:Yeah. We have a file for, well for everything. We have one file for the car, one file for the kids, one file for you, one file for somewhere in the basement at your parents. We have a file for sports, for everything.
Pastor Skip:Now, the most important rule of the male brain is that we open one file at a time.
Lenya:Yeah I can't have
Pastor Skip:No, no, no, one file at a time.
Pastor Skip:Once we're done with one file, we put the file back to its proper place and we're careful not to touch any other file. One file cannot touch another file.
Lenya:Kind of like food on a plate.
Pastor Skip:Second most important rule, no multiple files.
Lenya:No multiple files.
Pastor Skip:Right, that causes confusion.
Lenya:I bet it does.
Pastor Skip:It's like, I don't know what to do. They're all open. More than one is open. What do we do?
Lenya:Like on the telephone and asking a question?
Pastor Skip:And here's the secret, and women don't know this secret.
Pastor Skip:There's a file in the male brain that women really don't know anything about.
Lenya:Women, don't you want to know?
Pastor Skip:Hey. It's marked, ready?: nothing. It's a nothing file.
Lenya:You have a nothing file.
Pastor Skip:We have a nothing file. It's our favorite file.
Pastor Skip:It's our favorite file. Of all the files in our lives, nothing file's the favorite file.
Pastor Skip:There's nothing in it. Now, we can go to that file and keep going back to that file endlessly. That explains why we can channel surf. Go from one channel to the next, to the next, to the next.
Lenya:And I say to you honey, "What are you watching?"
Pastor Skip:And I say, "Nothing," or I'm just sort of sitting around and you say.
Lenya:Honey, what are you thinking?
Pastor Skip:And I say, "Nothing."
Lenya:Which seems humanly impossible.
Pastor Skip:But it's actually true and the other thing is that women are envious of this file because they don't have a nothing category.
Pastor Skip:They never think about just nothing.
Pastor Skip:Always something.
Lenya:This is the female brain.
Pastor Skip:With red hair.
Lenya:It doesn't matter what color of hair. The brain functions the same and ours are filled with fibers like fiber optic wires that are in a menagerie of colors, complicated patterns and they're intricately connected.
Pastor Skip:Sort of like the red hair on this thing.
Lenya:You cannot touch one fiber optic wire without engaging them all. You talk about money, we go to mommy and to manners and the menu, and before you know it, it's like the Fourth of July. Woo Hoo Hoo, It's all lit up.
Pastor Skip:So, you can't deal with just one file.
Lenya:No, no, no, no. They engage. And do you know what energizes? You know who gets these files—the juice flowing?
Pastor Skip:I want to know.
Lenya:Emotions. The more emotions, the more of those files. And you know what emotions do to these fibers?
Pastor Skip:Uh, fry them?
Lenya:Once there's an—well, a little bit like that. Once an emotion engages a certain fiber, it is locked into our memory bank and can never be deleted, never.
Pastor Skip:Oh, my. Well, how do we fix that?
Lenya:You cannot fix it. That's the problem, because men keep trying to fix our wires and we don't want you to fix our wires. We want you to listen to us. So, like you go to cut the blue wire and you know what happens if you try and fix us? System failure. And the only thing you can do, reboot and hear the whole thing all over again. So anyway, do not try and repair. And not only that, do we want you to hear us and know our emotions. We have a compelling need to say, "Let's talk. I want to talk. Can we please talk?" And what file are you in?
Lenya:So, our worst fear is that our emotions might get put into your nothing file.
Pastor Skip:Not gonna happen.
Would you turn into your Bibles this morning to the book of Genesis, chapter 3, Genesis chapter 3. Let's pray. Father, we give You our bodies as Paul wrote, as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable which is the smartest thing we could do.
It's the most reasonable way to serve You. And we pray that as we give You our bodies and engage with our mind that, Lord our spirit would grow, that we would understand Your plan and understand behind it all Your great love for each and every one of us. In Jesus' name, amen.
Well, men and women are different from one another. I wonder if you agree with that statement. We're different from one another. Okay. It doesn't take a lot of brainpower to figure that out. There's a book out called Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. That's how it's described. The differences between male and female. Or as one person put it, "Men are like dogs, women are like cats."
Or as another person put it in terms of the high-fi system, "Men are the woofers—the big bass speakers. And women are those higher pitched tweeters, sounds are nice and clear and distinct. Another person said, "Well, men in terms of clothing, are flannel, while women are floral." When you get differences that are that apparent and you put those differences together, it makes for an interesting marriage relationship, because no one, no one, no one is perfect. As we mentioned last week, a happy marriage is the union of two forgivers, forgivers. No one's perfect.
But I have a riddle I'd like you to figure out. There was a perfect man who met a perfect woman and after a perfect courtship they had a perfect wedding. Their life together was of course perfect. Somebody said, "Boring." One snowy, stormy Christmas eve, this perfect couple was driving along a winding road and noticed someone at the roadside in distress. Being the perfect couple, which I don't think is the couple that mentioned boring, they stopped to help. There stood Santa Claus with a huge bundle of toys, not wanting to disappoint any children on the eve of Christmas, the perfect couple loaded Santa and his toys into the vehicle.
Soon, they were driving along delivering the toys. Unfortunately, the driving conditions deteriorated and the perfect couple and Santa Claus had an accident. One of them survived the accident. Who was the survivor? The answer, the perfect woman. She was the only one that really existed in the first place. You notice I'm biting my lip. Everyone knows there's no Santa Claus and there's no such thing as a perfect man. Now, the male response to that. So, if there's no perfect man and there's no Santa Claus, then the perfect woman must have been driving. This explains why there was a car accident.
Hey, would you agree that there's both an attraction between men and women, as well as a tension between men and women, because of the differences that we have? I've listened to, for years, the male species and the female species sort of point at each other and go, "I don't get you. I don't understand you. You are so weird." Trying to figure each other out, trying to understanding and getting in each other's brains, hearts, spirits.
You may have heard the story about the man to whom God appeared, spoke and granted him one wish and the man said, "Lord, what I really would like is a bridge from the mainland all the way to Hawaii, so I could drive there whenever I felt like it." And God responded and He said, "Well, that's a very selfish and materialistic request. Do you realize the amount of concrete and metal it would take to provide a structure for that kind of superhighway from the mainland to Hawaii? Do you have another request?"
So the man said, "Well, yes Lord, I do. I really want to understand women. I want to know how she feels. I want to know what she thinks when she gives me the silent treatment. I want to know why she cries and says, "Nothing's wrong." I really want to know how to make a woman happy." After a long pause, the Lord spoke and said, "Now, back to that bridge. Would you like two lanes or four lanes?"
You know, all joking aside, even the Bible talks about the intricacies of relational differences. The writer of Proverbs, Solomon, said of the three things he didn't understand, yea four, he wanted an answer for he writes this: "How an eagle glides through the sky, how a snake slithers on the rock, how a ship navigates the ocean, and how a man loves a woman." Now science can provide answers to the first three, but many men are still trying to figure out number four.
And get this, Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived. The Bible says, "God gave him great wisdom above all those who lived on the earth," and he is over there going, "I can't figure this out. This is so difficult." And if Solomon couldn't figure it out, well, where does that leave us? Oh, by the way, Solomon was the guy who had 700 wives and 300 girlfriends. I don't know how wise he really was.
Can you imagine trying to keep track of a thousand birthdays? That will be like totally impossible. But here's the truth, men are not from Mars. Women are not from Venus. Both men and women are from God. And, really what happened is sin, as we discovered last week, entered into the human experience and contaminated and complicated every relationship since. And since then, we have gender wars and that is the topic of today, gender wars. That's why I've had you turn to the book of Genesis in chapter 3.
Now, we're gonna work our way to chapter 3. We're gonna begin with some verses we have talked about or even read in Genesis 1 and 2. And then we're gonna find ourselves in chapter 3. We want to know what happened. We want to not only know what happened, we want to know, "What now?" What do we do about it? What does it mean to us? So, as we look at these three chapters, verses out of each one, and we think about gender wars, I want you and I to examine it from the standpoint of a design.
You have an architect or a designer who had an intention in his mind when he designed men, women—marriage. It was a great design, but God's design was marred. Something happened to the design. So, I want to talk about with you the magnificent design in chapter 1—that God designed a man and a woman to rule together—the matched design in Genesis chapter 2 that God designed a man and a woman to have separate roles to complement each other.
But then third, the marred designed, how what happened and continues to happen is men and women want to rule over each other. Back to Genesis, the first chapter in verse 26, we discover his intention from the beginning—God's magnificent design. Verse 26, Genesis 1, "Then God said, 'Let us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.'"
So, God gave them authority over every creep and every creature. So, God created man in his own image. Now, notice in the image of God He created him male and female—He created them. And God blessed them and God said to them, "Be fruitful. Multiply. Fill the earth. Subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves on the earth." Please notice, first of all, in God's original magnificent design, that He designed men and women in His image.
Not just the male. "Well, I am made in God's image. I am the man." No. The male and the female, both of them were created in God's image. What does that mean, image—the image of God? Well, theologians will answer that by saying, "To be in the image of God means that we are capable of expressing God's communicable attributes, attributes like intellect, emotion, will, choice. All of those are part of His communicable attributes. We share something with the Creator that other creatures do not share."
To press it perhaps a little bit further, like the Godhead, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we are tripartite being. We have a body, a soul, and a spirit created in God's image. Okay. Now, being equal, our equality in the image of God does not mean interchangeability. It's like an engine. In an engine, men, you might have the cylinder head and the crankcase made out of exactly the same material, same weight, same cost per inch, etc., but those parts are very different.
You cannot interchange one with the other. They are similar, but they are very different. So, equality in the image of God doesn't mean interchangeability. You have a man. You have a woman. Both of them, though unique, are in the image of God. That's first. Second, you will notice that God designed the man and the woman to rule His creation together. Did you notice the wording? He said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over it."
Notice the word, dominion. That expresses our relationship to the rest of creation. We are to represent God being over all of the rest of creation. We are not the same as a horse, or a cow, or a dog. We are a superior kind, in the image of God, designed to rule over His creation. But here's the point I want to make. The male and the female were to rule together. That's the magnificent design. We were to be co-reagents, co-ambassadors, co-rulers, representatives of God together ruling over creation.
If I were to distill these thoughts into two principles, I would say then that marriage should, number one, mirror God's image and marriage should, number two, manage God's realm. That was His intention. That's the magnificent design, ruling together. If we turn to chapter 2, we understand that this couple was a perfect match. You might say a match made in heaven. God brought the woman to the man. It's a matched design with unique roles that are blended together.
Chapter 2 verse 7, "the Lord God formed the man out of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils." Neshamah haim is the Hebrew word or words. The breath of life. "And the man became a living being." If you scoot down to verse 18, the Lord God said, "It is not good that man should be alone." We already covered that. "I will make him a helper comparable to him," so God did that, and "God brought her to him."
And down to verse 23 of chapter 2, we read, "Adam said, 'This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; She shall be called woman, Because she was taken out of man.'" So, follow the chronology. God creates a man, a male, places him in the garden. He has the job of being the chief gardener, the animal namer, to tend to God's creation. But one day and God looks down and goes, "Not good. Not good is that man alone. I'm gonna make him a helper, somebody who will help him, complete him."
In God's words, A helper that is comparable to him, or a better term: suitable for him. Somebody that suites him perfectly. Somebody that is comparable just for him. Now, the word comparable or suitable is literally, as we told you a couple of weeks ago, somebody who is like opposite him, like opposite. It sounds like an oxymoron, I know. Someone who is like opposite. And the word as we mentioned suggests something that completes a polarity. Just like if you have a North Pole, you need a South Pole.
Just like our planet has a North Pole and a South Pole and both of them, though different, complement each other and are therefore the rotation and existence of our planet. That's the idea. That's the role. Two poles, they may be opposite, but they complement one another. Now, let's get back to this whole difference thing for just a moment. Men and women are similar, but different on a number of levels.
We're of the same species so we're similar. We're on different wavelengths. We are polar opposites in many respects. Somebody once said, "The average man has four items in his bathroom: toothbrush, bar of soap, razor, and a towel from Motel Six." A woman has an average of 328 items in her bathroom and the average man is unable to identify most of them, big differences. Lenya and I are opposite in so many regards. I like things cool. I am warm, so I want the windows open.
She wants a blanket over herself. She's cold. Our thermostats are different. I get in a car. I want the air-conditioning turned up. She wants it turned down. I want the radio turned up. She wants it turned off or really low, so we can talk. You know, we were kind of bantering back and forth at the beginning about the difference between the male brain and the female brain. There's a book out on brain physiology. Provocatively titled, Brain Sex: the difference, The Real Difference Between Men and Women written by a man and woman, Anne Moir and David Jessel.
The book gives empirical evidence, scientific evidence for the difference between the sexes, male and female. In the introduction of the book, it reads, "Men are different from women. They are equal only in their common membership in the same species, humankind. But to maintain that they are the same in aptitude, skill, or behavior is to build a society on a biological and a scientific lie." And the book gives chapter after chapter of scientific empirical evidence to that regard. The book goes on to say that men and women are different, because their brains are different.
Now, I said different. I didn't say better, or superior, or inferior, but we're different. And it will help us and it will help us get along with each other if we understand that. We're different. We are different physically, physiologically.
Dr. Paul Popenoe, founder of the American Institute for Family Relations in Los Angeles said, "Men and women differ in every single cell of their bodies." He lists a few physical differences: "Number one, we differ in basal metabolism. A woman's metabolism is slower. A man's is faster, more active. This is the reason he wants the windows the open in a snow storm and she wants a wool blanket when it's 95 degrees. Metabolism is different.
"We differ in skeletal structures," says Popenoe. "Women have a shorter head, broader face. The chin is less protruding, a longer trunk—shorter legs. With the woman, the first finger of a woman's hand is usually longer than the third finger. Men have the reverse set up, the third finger longer than the first." I'm watching you all look at your hands right now. And then looking over, "What? It's true."
A woman's major organs are larger. They have a larger stomach, kidneys, liver, appendix, but smaller lungs. Now, I know some that would dispute that, but I will not. There are glandular differences between a man and woman. In the woman, the thyroid is larger and more active so that during pregnancy and menstruation, it provides resistance to cold. And this glandular difference is associated with smooth skin and a relatively hairless body, which I find nice features actually.
A woman's blood contains more water than a man's. But 20 percent fewer red blood cells. The red blood cells are what supply oxygen to the body. This explains why a woman tires more easily and is more prone to faint than the male. There's a difference in the heart rate. A woman's heart beats more rapidly. Eighty beats per minute is the average. A man has 72 beats. That's physiologically. That's physically.
There are differences in the way men and women communicate. Our social interaction is different. It's estimated that a woman, on average, maintains direct eye contact while speaking with someone for 12 seconds. A man maintains it for three seconds. Women tend to find their identity in close relationships with other people. Men tend to find their identity in what they do, their occupation, their status, their job.
A woman worries about the future until she gets a husband. A man never worries about the future until he gets a wife. And we're different in the way we communicate, I mean radically different. Harvard University studied hundreds of preschoolers and their interactivity and communication with each other. And what Harvard decided to do is put microphones on a children's playground and listen to the playground conversation, recorded and analyzed it and they did.
And they discovered that the sounds that come from little girls' mouths were recognizable words. Whereas, only 60% of the sounds that came from little boys' mouths were recognizable period. Forty percent of the sounds that came from little boys' mouths were sound effects or yelling, things like, "vroom vroom" or "toot toot" or "rah!" Isn't that fascinating? And you know what? Can I just be honest with you? Things don't change a whole lot when you grow up.
I've been analyzing my communication lately and I do make lots of sounds still. And as we grow, men, even though they're adults, tend to speak in shorter phrases, not a lot of details, not a lot of details men. Because you want the bottom what? Line. That's what you love to use. Your wives are telling you about things and going on and on and you're nodding your head and then you interrupt and go, "Tell me the bottom line." Am I right, women? They want the bottom line.
Women are opposite. They want to know details, details, details and more details. And to men details are aggravating and frustrating and confusing, because we want the bottom line. Now, with all of these differences in physiology, and in communication, and in sociology, I believe that we see them in the Scripture with the fall of Adam and Eve, with what we have already read in previous weeks in Genesis chapter 3.
There is a difference between Eve and Adam—man and woman—in falling into sin when tempted by the devil. You see, Eve, the Bible tells us, was deceived. Whereas Adam was just plain disobedient. Big difference. I Timothy chapter 2 verses 13 and 14, Adam was formed first and then Eve. Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived fell into transgression. And let me just explain what that is. It makes Adam's sin worse.
He knew what he was doing. He disobeyed. She was deceived—doesn't make Eve guiltless; Doesn't make Eve less wise—it just seems to make her more trusting. If you recall back in Genesis chapter 3, the fall of man in verses 1 through 7, we have Eve and the serpent—the devil—having a conversation. And we have Eve listening, and responding, and engaging in the conversation, and reasoning, right? The devil comes along and says, "Has God said that you shall not eat of any tree?"
And she goes, "Well, no. Actually, that God didn't say that. What God said was that we can eat of the fruit of any of the trees in the garden, but there's just one little tree right in," and she goes on and has this conversation and reasons with him. That's the difference. When we get to the next verse, you know what it says about Adam? He ate. That's it. He ate. She's talking, and reasoning, and thinking, and he's like he grabbed it. Arrr, crunch. That's it.
Now, communication experts will tell us that the average woman uses 25,500 words a day. That's what the communication experts say. That's the average, 25,500 words per day. Whereas, they will tell you that the average man uses 12,500 words per day. Huge difference, right? Huge capacity difference, right? 25,500, 12,500. Okay. So, what does that mean maritally? Well, it means that if he's at work all day, by the time he gets home he may have used, I don't know 12,495 words. He's got five left.
He's kind of comin' in the door panting. How's he going to use these five words? What's for dinner? That's three. And good night, he's done. Five, he's done. She's just gettin started. She wants to know about his day and his feelings and the other guy's work and what happened. What'd you eat for lunch? How'd your day go? And she's lucky if he can just get out, "Fine." So, the result of all of that is if you were to talk to the gal and you talk to the guy and you say, "How's your home life? How's your marriage?"
If you talk to the guy, you know what his answers are gonna be? One word, "Great." "Good." Ask the woman that same question, "How's your marriage? How are you doing?" "Well, I don't know what he's thinking. We don't communicate. He doesn't tell me anything," is often the result. So, we are different by design and as different as we are by design, here's the point. When these two individuals get together in the covenant of marriage as outlined and blueprinted by God, the marriage is designed to minimize the differences that are between them and to maximize each other's lives.
I'm gonna make him a helper comparable to him, someone who will fill out what is lacking in his life, someone who will be the South Pole to his North Pole, the opposite of him, like opposite him. And God said, "The two shall become one flesh." So, that woman, husbands, that man, wives, is God's gift to you to complete you. Don't resist the completion process that God has taken you through. I believe that failure to accept your mate as a gift from God to complete and complement you expresses your rejection of God's provision and is an act of unbelief.
Paul writes, excuse me, Peter writes in I Peter chapter 3 to wives and then to husbands, and I'm just going to go right to the husband's part because I am one and I need to hear this. "In the same way, you husbands give honor to your wives. Treat her with" here it is, "understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she's your equal partner in God's gift of new life. If you don't treat her as you should, your prayers will not be heard."
Well, that's a powerful statement. Sort it seems to say that the secret to an effective spiritual life is an effective marital life. So that I as a husband am to dwell with my wife in an understanding way. Understanding, there are differences between us. Understanding that there are weaknesses on her part, weaknesses on my part, strengths on her part, strengths on my part, and a failure to understand those differences can be catastrophic at a number of levels.
So then, to distill back to those takeaway points, a marriage is designed to mirror God's image, manage God's realm, and now mutually complete one another, because we're here to complement each other. So, that's God's magnificent design. That's God's matched design, that you guys rule together and that you have roles that complement one another.
But then we get to Genesis chapter 3 and it all goes downhill.
It all goes South. And we go from the magnificent design, and the matched design, to the marred design, no longer ruling with each other, rolling with each other, but now ruling over and against each other. I take you to Genesis chapter 3 verse 16, "to the woman He said," after the fall. "To the woman He said: 'I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you.'
"Then, he said to Adam, 'Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree which I commanded you, saying, "You shall not eat of it": Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return.'"
Now, the design is marred; marred by two things, first of all pain. Don't you find it interesting that God predicts that the pain they're going to experience is pain in the very areas where the man and woman would find their identity? For a woman, her identity is found in close relationships. The most satisfying typically to a woman is found the home, in the bearing of children. There's going to pain associated with that. And to the man who finds his identity in his job and his work, there's going to pain, the sweat of your brow, anguish, aggravation as you eke out a living to provide for your family. It'll be marred by pain.
Even Job said, "As surely as the sparks fly upward, sorrow is part of our experience. Pain is part of our travail." The second thing is that it's marred by conflict. I want you to look specifically at the sixteenth verse of chapter 3, and look at the last phrase. God says to the woman, "Your desire shall be for your husband and he shall rule over you." I see that as a prediction by God to the men and the women, a prediction of marital strife, conflict in a relationship as a consequence of the fall.
Now again, go back in your mind to what we read at the beginning in Genesis chapter 1. God's original magnificent design is that they rule together, right? Be fruitful. Multiply. Subdue the earth. Both of you have dominion over the earth, both of you. That was before the fall. Then, we have in verses 1 through 7 of Genesis 3, that is the fall. And by the way, in the fall, Satan attacks God's design and leadership. Don't you find it interesting that Satan doesn't go to the man—he goes to Adam—bypasses Adam, he goes around and goes right to Eve, designed to be a follower in the relationship.
Now, Eve sinned and Adam sinned. How did Eve sin? By disobeying an explicit command of God not to touch, not to eat. But more than that, also, she acted independently of her husband. And Adam sinned. How did Adam sin? By number one, disobeying an explicit command of God, but more than that, he yielded to Eve's usurping the leadership role. So, you have a woman who takes charge in the temptation and a man, who advocates, passively advocates his leadership role in the relationship.
Look at verse 16 again. Notice the word, "And he shall rule over you." Mashal is the Hebrew. It means to reign, exercise dominion or to dominate. That's part of the curse. Once Adam and Eve, designed to be co-regents—co-ambassadors—co-leaders, now is dominated. Look back also in verse 16 at the first word in the phrase, or the second in the word in the phrase, "Your desire shall be for your husband."
Okay, stop there. I have read about every commentary probably written on the book of Genesis, a list that I've been able to find over the years. And they all say a common thing about this. They say, "Well first of all, we find this a very difficult verse to translate. And we find this phrase an extremely difficult, complicated phrase to translate, because of the word 'desire'. What does desire mean, the Hebrew word teshuqah, which is a word that can mean to compel, to urge, or to seek control over, or to desire." Now, in trying to figure out, well, what's the best way that we should translate it? I'll tell you what I think. There's only one other time that it's used quite like this and it's found in the very next chapter.
And I believe if you compare the usage in the next chapter to this chapter, you're going to have your answer. Go with me to chapter 4 and you'll notice it's about Cain and Abel and they both bring sacrifices to the God and one is accepted and one is not. So, verse 7, Genesis 4, God is speaking to Cain who's had his sacrifice rejected and the Lord speaks to Cain and He says, "Look, if you do well, will you not be accepted?" Dude, if you lived right, if your life was right, you'd be accepted. "And if you do not well," now watch this, "sin lies at the door and its desire is for you, but you should rule over it." Did you notice that, almost the same construction as the verse in chapter 3 verse 16? "Its desire is for you, but you shall rule over it." In other words: "Cain, look, sin wants to rule over you. Sin wants to dominate you. You must rule over it. You must control it. You must master sin."
And then we go back to chapter 3 verse 16, "Your desire shall be for your husband and he shall rule over you," would probably best be translated, "You will want to control your husband and he'll want to subdue you." Now, I want you stop right there and let that sink in, because the verse that you and I just read is where the battle of the sexes began. "Now, you have the rest of the story," as Paul Harvey would say. Here's the rest of the story. This is where it all began.
This is where the gender war started way back then as a consequence of the fall. And there's been two strains, two emphases throughout history in gender wars that are very marked. One is male chauvinism, which has dominated the historical landscape more than any other -ism. In time immemorial, even there's cultures today, where women are oppressed, and suppressed, and seen as something that is owned like slaves. And, certainly, that was a case in ancient cultures even in Rome.
Male chauvinism, oppression, domination, subduing. But our society is different. That is no longer the case. What is the case however is the other strain, the opposite strain of that called feminism where men are pushed aside and during the '70s it was big to say, "Men and women are identical on every single level." And the best science says, "That's just not true." There are marked differences and there are differences in roles to complement one another. But the landscape shows feminism and unfortunately it's very strong even within the church.
So, there's this tension and the tension comes as a consequence of the fall. There was a fourth grade class and the teacher asked the class a simple question, "What does God say about marriage?" And one little fourth grader shouted out, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do." Obviously, there was some tension in his house between his mom and dad. He had noticed this tension. Things weren't perfect. Things aren't perfect. There's no such thing as the perfect man who marries the perfect woman, has the perfect wedding, and the perfect marriage. It doesn't happen.
But, there's a redeemed man and a redeemed woman, two sinners forgiven, redeemed, restored back to their Creator and in the relationship restored to each other, so that though we have fallen, though the image of God is marred in all of us, still, our home can become even—even if it's just a slight reflection, a reflection of the Garden of the Eden before the fall in our homes where we are fruitful together, where we multiply together, where we dominion together and there's a beautiful blend of unity.
'Cause if you try to do it and expect to be happy and satisfied, a part from redemption of God, the interaction of God in your lives, the help of Scripture and the help of Godly accountability, you might as well try to build a bridge to Hawaii. It's impossible. Perfect? No. Redeemed? Yes. Back in the 1800s, a man by the name of Robert Schumann wrote, "When I was a young man I vowed never to marry until I found the ideal woman. Well, I found her, but alas she was waiting for the ideal man. "
Ideal? Perhaps not. Perfect? Certainly not. Redeemed? Certainly. Father, we leave it there because there's hope in those last statements. Our lives, our relationships in your hands brings great hope. You've given us a blueprint. You've told us in Scripture the rest of the story, the whole story, how it really happened, what went down. And it helps us. It helps us to understand what happened. It helps us to understand what now, what it means. It helps us men as we look at women to say, "Okay. I have a little more understanding now. We're different by design." And there's roles that we play. And they're wired differently than I'm filed. And it helps women to understand men's capabilities, capacities and strengths and weaknesses.
And we pray that You would help us Lord to minimize the downside and to maximize the strengths in this wonderful institution, this covenant, this covenant that You call marriage. I pray for marriages Lord, of people who are here right now at this service, right here in this room. Father I pray that You would heal, that You would pour Your balm of love and mercy and cause there to be a humility and a graciousness and if need be a patching together of that which is torn, a gluing together of that which is broken. Take the pieces of our lives, some of us feel shattered and mend them. In Jesus' name, amen.