Good morning sisters!
An issue was brought to my attention (from a man, no less!) that we as women can be very nasty to each other and do not come together in love and unity in the way that God desires.
After thinking about this issue in more detail, I came to the realization that some of our socialized behaviors as women can and does undermine the unity that God desires for us to achieve. These behaviors also make it difficult for us to come together and unify on issues that affect us all.
Most of us know, have seen, or have demonstrated these behaviors to varying degrees throughout our lives. For example, what happens when a beautiful woman enters a room full of women? Many of the women in the room size her up, look at her up and down, roll their eyes or otherwise act unpleasant or unwelcoming. In other words, WE START HATING! Now, other women in the room may look at this woman to admire her appearance, but we have also seen the whispers that buzz about the room when an attractive or self-confident woman is present.
The media is also somewhat complicit in perpetuating a sense of unhealthy competition among women. Tabloids and magazine covers that portray pregnant women as whales or promote an unhealthy or inaccurate image of the average woman cause many women to compare themselves to these images, leaving them to feel inadequate, unattractive, and undesirable.
Male attitudes toward women and women’s response to those mindsets also affect women’s interactions with each other. All too often, we are willing to sacrifice our relationships with our sisters in an attempt to gain a man’s love, acceptance, or approval. Friendships that we have cultivated for years are suddenly thrown by the wayside when a new boyfriend is in the picture. Worse yet, we injure our sisters by engaging in immoral or unethical behavior with each other’s significant others and spouses. The list of behaviors could go on and on.
So where do these behaviors originate from? Well, we could point to many sources, including male treatment of women, low self-esteem, lack of self-worth, competition among women for scarce resources, etc. Regardless of what the root causes are for our lack of respect for ourselves or one another, all of the aforementioned behaviors are unpleasing to God.
Psalm 133:1 (NIV) says “How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity! It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down upon the collar of his robes. It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there The Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.”
Oil in this passage represents the anointing of God and Aaron represents the priesthood that, in Old Testament days, was charged with entering the temple and offering sacrifices of atonement to God for the people’s sins.
This passage, in essence, tells us that when we dwell together with our sisters in a spirit of unity, we move forward in the power of God’s anointing and position ourselves in to receive God’s blessing, which includes eternal life.
It is easier to think and operate as if we are on a deserted island, because then it is easy not to consider the feelings and emotions of others. However, the challenge with operating alone or in a vacuum is that you forfeit the unique and exciting blessing of God that comes from unity with your fellow sisters.
The first step in remedying some of the challenges that we have with each other is acknowledging that they do exist. Whether you are the “eyebrow raiser” type, the “huddle and gossip type” or even the “indifferent” type, there is a part of all of us as people and as women that at some point has or will exhibit less than kind behavior toward others. Recognizing that fact is a powerful step in taking action to uproot it.
The second step to confront this issue is to examine ourselves and allow God to search our hearts concerning the root causes of those behaviors and how and when they are triggered. For many of us, these behaviors were ingrained in us from a very young age, and we have merely been perpetuating that behavior throughout our lives. For others, life events and relationship woes have caused us to hurt one of our sisters and created an environment of distrust, misuse, and pain. Furthermore, many women lack the self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-worth necessary to establish healthy relationships with other women. Instead, we mask those feelings in a bravado that gossips and derides other women.
The good news is that God is able to heal us from those wounds and allow our heart to open and expand to celebrate and engage with our sisters in a positive way. If we allow Him to come into our hearts, He can eliminate those feelings, emotions and perceptions that have taken root in our lives and replace them with a sense of self-confidence and love that uplifts ourselves and the women around us.
If you struggle with this issue, I invite you to repeat this prayer with me:
Lord Jesus, I thank you for the sisters that you have placed and will place in my path. I desire to have healthy relationships with my sisters and to behave in a way that is pleasing to you and uplifting to those around me. Examine my heart and root out any attitudes, mindsets, or perceptions that cause me to act contrary to your Word, and if there is anything that I have said, done, or thought toward my sisters that is unpleasing to you or hurtful to them, forgive me. Replace my destructive thoughts and actions with a spirit of love, unity, and fellowship in the Holy Spirit. In Jesus’s name, Amen.
This year, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated celebrates its 100th year. As a member of this organization, some of my sisters and I plan to attend the National Convention taking place in July this year. Accompanying us will be thousands of sorors from around the world–what a sight to behold!
As we plan to depart, there is a growing excitement about our trip and a desire to fellowship with one another in a spirit of love, unity and celebration. Yesterday, as I thought about my sisters and how special they are to me, I thought about God and His perception of our relationships with each other. Eventually, I came to the conclusion that although our relationships with each other and with others has not always been perfect, we continue to strive to be sisterly, loving, and kind to one another. And in striving maintain that unity and fellowship in Him, God is pleased.
Sisters, we will not solve our problems overnight nor will we forever rid of the jealous backbiting that too often occurs in our workplaces, at the grocery store, or even in our own families. However, let us begin the path of healing and reconciliation to receive the blessing of God that come from a unified body.
“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.” Romans 15: 5-7 (NIV).
In the spirit of unity and love!