“Do unto me according to that which proceeded out of thy mouth.” (Jephthah’s Daughter)
Judges 11:36, K.J.V.
“A Daughter Remembered” Part 4
“The Man who strikes his wife or child lays violent hands upon the holiest of holy things.”
Do I let others treat me in a disrespectful manner by their words and actions?
What should be my response to someone who treats me disrespectfully?
How do I feel when others blame me for their problems?
“Despise not yourselves, ye women: the Son of God was born of a woman.”
“The woman was not taken from Adam’s head, we know,
to show she must rule him –‘Tis evidently so.
The woman was taken from under Adam’s arm,
So she must be protected
from injuries and harm.”
Adam & Eve’s Wedding Song
When I began the study of Jephthah and his daughter, I’ll be quite frank with you, my desire was to get through it as quickly as possible. But sometimes our heavenly Father has other plans, just as He did when we studied the life of Rahab the harlot for nearly three weeks. I couldn’t believe how many of you emailed me, thanking me for the lessons we learned from a heathen woman whom the people of God looked down upon and yet, God’s Son came to earth in the lineage of Rahab. What a God you and I serve who, as our Father, lets us know that no one has fallen or is too far outside God’s grace not to be included in His family – Praise His Name!
As I began to study everything I could find written on the life of Jephthah and his daughter, what I found was informational, revealing, scary and even weird. There’s a lot written about this story and I wanted to study every scholar and historian’s point-of-view and then go to the foundation of all our studies here at Transformation Garden, God’s holy Word – the Bible.
Over the last few days, we have carefully looked at lessons we can learn from the experience in this story and today we will focus on lesson 4 which is the way we women let others treat us. Our title today is “Respect Yourself!” And this title is taken from the response of Jephthah’s daughter to her father’s information that she is to be the “payment” for his absurd vow.
In order to more deeply study this story, today we’ll look at where respect begins – and it begins with the respect that is cultivated by parents for their children and then it blossoms as children grow into adulthood.
At the time that the experience of Jephthah’s daughter took place, women had fallen into such a place of lowly value they were basically treated in a monetary sense as if they were property, valued as one would their oxen or camels. What’s more, even Abraham didn’t show a Godly respect for his own wife when he chose to follow the worldly custom of taking a servant girl to father his child.
While I recognize that today, there are societies where the value of women is still compared with “animals,” this was not and is not God’s plan.
God’s intent for His daughters has never changed even though earthly standards may have. God doesn’t deal in situational or cultural ethics when it comes to how His girls, you and I, are treated!
We are precious in His sight. We are His daughters – His beautiful jewels. We are the adornments in His heart of love. And anything or anyone that strikes against a daughter of God – leaves a mark on His heart, too.
Unfortunately, all too often, we women have allowed ourselves to be verbally and physically used like doormats. Letting others wipe the dirt of their lives off on us and thus, grinding day by day, their soiled emotions onto us.
The author of Paradise Lost, John Milton, in describing God’s original plan for all His daughters penned these rapturous words:
“O fairest of creation! Last and best
Of all God’s works! Creature in whom excelled
What ever can to sight or thought be formed,
Holy, divine, good, amiable, or sweet.”
As I read these words, I asked if this was the way I looked at myself? Is this the value I put on myself? The same value my heavenly Father puts on me and on you, too.
Many years ago, when I was young, my father and I got into a huge fight. Although he passed away nearly 25 years ago, ours was such a close and loving relationship, I know he wouldn’t mind me sharing the story with you.
My dad came over to Jim’s and my apartment. Jim was gone and my dad started in one me about things he didn’t like that were really none of his business. Jim and I were a young married couple, trying to forge our own life, and my dad’s interference was not helpful. Finally, I turned to my dad, whom I deeply adored and said, “You are showing me no respect at all and if you can’t be respectful to me, then you aren’t welcome here in my home.”
These words, in retrospect, sound very harsh and cold, and that was exactly how my dad took them. He picked up his coat and walked out the door, not speaking another word. The silence between us lasted for about a week and then I received a call. It was my “Daddy-boy,” “Can I come over to talk to you?”
“Yes,” I answered.
And here’s what our conversation went like:
1. Daddy-Boy: “You were absolutely right ‘Dorothy-Girl.’ I wasn’t respecting you. I was trying to force my desires and will on you and it was wrong.”
2. Dorothy-Girl: “I apologize for being so harsh in my response but you know who taught me to stand-up and respect myself?”
3. Daddy-Boy: “Your mother and I did!”
4. Dorothy-Girl: “That’s right, and aren’t you glad you did for it has helped me face so many challenges in my life when someone tried to disrespect me physically, emotionally and spiritually.”
Daughters of God, everything that comes out of the mouths of others and lands on you isn’t from God. Jephthah’s words weren’t from God for God did not demand the human sacrifice of His girls – not ever – not never!! And as daughters of God today, we must encourage and empower each other to never let anyone abuse us, whether it is by the foul-mouthed cursing hurled so frequently at wives or the physical and sexual abuse that is used to terrorize women and “Keep them in their place.”
Remember, the place God has for His daughters is a place of respect, of value, and most of all, eternal love.
“O woman! Lovely woman!
Nature made thee to temper man:
we had been brutes without you;
angels are painted fair, to look like you:
There’s in you all that we believe of Heaven,
Amazing brightness, purity, and truth,
Eternal joy, and everlasting love.”
AFFIRMATIONS “Be Who You Are”
“Be who you are,
And may you be blessed
In all that you are.”
Adapted from a prayer by Marcia Falk
“A Prayer for Self-Worth”
“When I come to you, dear Father, You never tell me to “shut-up” or “be quiet” or “don’t bother me.” And when I risk sharing with you the most intimate sorrows and hurts of my life, my fears and woes, You never patronize me, or tell me it’s a “woman-thing.”
But dear God, I live in the real world where I have to deal with others who hurt, too. And when they bring their hurts into our relationships, help me to know how to deal with the situation.
Help me to recognize fragile egos and patched-up, broken hearts and to never forget that in the end, it is before You, not anyone else, that I stand ultimately and find my true self-worth.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
Available where books are sold and at Amazon.com and Christianbooks.com
For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.