In light of the recent Women’s Empowerment week, I’d like to offer my ideas on the subject of empowerment. I, as a woman, have already been empowered, and so have you. This empowerment comes without a fight and without any fear of loss.
To begin with, I was created in the image of God. So were you. So was everyone. If that doesn’t blow your mind, I don’t know what will. The Creator of the Universe made humankind in His image? Amazing! That means by the sheer fact of our existence and our status as part of the human race, we share in the dignity of God. This we share equally, all people—male or female, young or old, disabled or able-bodied, born or not-yet-born, black, white, brown or what have you—we are all endowed with this immense and unchangeable dignity. Furthermore, it’s a dignity that we cannot lose and we don’t ever have to fight to know that we have.
During his time on Earth, Jesus was the perfect example of respecting this universal dignity. Coincidentally, he also made a habit of empowering women in a time and place where that was not at all common and highly countercultural. Countless times in the Bible, Jesus defied cultural norms and held out his hand to women who were in quite dire situations. These women wouldn’t have otherwise received help, except that he actually put into functional, visible practice the idea that all people are alike in human worth and dignity. He saved a woman from being stoned, which would have been an acceptable legal punishment at the time. He healed another from a disease she had been suffering from for twelve years, which made her an untouchable in the eyes of the community. Yet another he made a missionary to her whole region. Everyone was equal in his eyes and he had compassion for them, loved them, forgave them and respected them.
However, the most significant way that Jesus empowers women and everyone else is that he came to earth for us, died for us and rose again for us. In doing this, he empowers us in the most important way possible—by making us who were enemies of God into children of God.
Going from hopeless to eternally hopeful, from a small, finite life to eternal life, from wicked and depraved to forgiven. That is empowerment and the only kind that will last forever. The empowerment given to us by Jesus isn’t dependent on socio-economic status, on a career, on one of the many and subjective standards of beauty, on age, on perceived “important contributions” to the world. It’s a gift based not on what I can do for the world or its perception of me. I can’t do anything to deserve it, but I have it anyway. I don’t have to fight any battles to keep my empowerment. All the battles have already been won! No campaigning, no arguing, no blogging, no buttons. None of it! It’s mine because it was given to me.
We are being empowered in every moment by the sheer fact that we are created in the image of God, and that fact makes us as worthy as anyone else of respect and dignity. This is a fact that is heartbreakingly forgotten by the world and the powers that be, and even more heartbreakingly forgotten by us. This empowerment is internal and eternal, meaning it can never be taken away and it will last forever! It is in this steadfast place that our hope lies, and it is from here that we can go out and remind ourselves, the world and the powers that be just how much respect we deserve as the image bearers of God.