It’s a tale as old as time it seems…(No, I am not talking about Beauty and the Beast here, at least not now)
The tension of relationships.
Two women find themselves attached to the same man. They do all they can to one-up each other simply to gain his love and devotion, to be the first in his life rather than play second fiddle. I am pretty sure multiple comedies and romances have been based off of this brief synopsis. I know I have been a part of that story in my own life and seen it rip apart friendships over the years.
As I sat reading about this, I could not help but think on the female relationships in the church. You see I was reading straight from Genesis…About real women, in the lineage of Christ, sisters themselves who were thrust into a situation where they desired nothing more than the attention and love of a man. A man who was forthcoming about his preference of one of the sisters over the other. And the resulting dysfunction of tension within the family which laid the foundation for continued disregard of family and sinful actions to perpetuate down their lines.
I wanted to shake Rachel and Leah. I wanted to comfort them both and yet I wanted to brush past their drama as well. But I just couldn’t.
Because it’s too prevalent even now in our midst as women. As the church.
We women are far too good at making it a competition rather than a cheering section when it comes to relationships, leadership and the church. When it comes to the area of singles, we do it simply because of numbers-there just aren’t as many single men in the church as there are women-so we start vying for attentions of the opposite sex to the detriment of our fellow women. I wish I could claim ignorance on this but unfortunately I have been on both the giving and receiving end of this tension over the years, where we find ways to “one-up” the other lady.
I have even seen this among the marrieds and families, with the wonder moms crowd vying for VBS status and church leadership praise. In our pursuit for goodness, we have found instead pride and ego-centered living. We have given up community for temporary attention. We have chosen ourselves over others.
As much as we like to point to the Israelites with their complaining in the desert, here we sit in the same petty arguments that plagued some of the very first families. The desires for our own good apart from God and His purpose, His call to community and love, to engaging the other ahead of ourselves, to servant filled lives instead of self-filled motives.
Maybe it starts with us ladies. Maybe, just maybe, we stop being the Rachels and Leahs in the walls of the church (or the home, or the workplace, or around the coffeshops) and instead we embrace the life of community, comradery and support. We share with one another instead of cutting one another down. We build up rather than seek to one up. Rather than see another woman as our competition we see her as our sister, our journey-woman, our friend.