Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series of articles from Robert Ricciardelli about Women’s Liberation in Christ. Click here for Part 1.
Twisted Scriptures, Twisted Doctrine
When we look for sound doctrine, we must look to the full counsel of God, the full Word of God interpreted through Scriptures that transcend circumstance, culture, and generations. Here are just a few examples of what many have been taught, as well as what the Lord actually says about His daughters.
“And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord.”
We have all heard the scripture in Ephesians 5:22 about wives submitting to their husbands, but we forget the scripture just before it in verse 21 that we are to submit one to another. The rest of the context gives examples of loving and serving one another. That is God’s way.
1 Peter 3:7
”In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered.”
But Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant,
You want to lead your family, become a servant to your spouse and come under the mission the Lord has for them. Submission cannot be extracted, required or manipulated from another. Submission comes from within the heart of those willing to give of their lives to another. This is the Lord’s way and we must be obedient to His word if we are to engage in loving, honoring, and empowering relationships.
Many of us men have learned much from women in our lives. Throughout the Word of God women have been used to bring “Good News” to men. Women were empowered at Pentecost along with men so that they could go forth and disciple all nations, both men and women alike. It is evident that Timothy was greatly influenced and taught by his mother and grandmother the ways of the Lord.
2 Timothy 1:5
“I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.”
This is one of many scriptures that disprove the doctrine that women must not teach or have influence over a man. Women have taught and influenced men throughout history and throughout the word of God. We must therefore look at 1Timothy 2:12 that instructs women to not teach men in light of the full Word of God. We must see it with a pair of eyes that look at when, what, and why, Paul asked this of Timothy while he was in Ephesus. Remember that this is one letter to one city and we must know what was going on during that time as this one scripture does not make a doctrine in light of the full counsel of God.
Revelation, Blessing and Release
As The Lord began to reveal His value to each of these women in South Africa, we began to see hope rise up in them. The next step towards freedom was for each of the women to forgive every man in their life that had wounded them.
Many of these women had been beaten, abused, and cursed from fathers, husbands, boyfriends, family members, as well as leaders in society including those in ministry. They were to release these men, the wounds from men to the Lord. This was a powerful first step towards freedom that had most every woman in attendance participated as the Holy Spirit moved upon them.
The next day in worship we saw heads lifted up and a greater freedom as many were healed through their forgiveness of those who had wounded them. The Lord began to show me that many of these women had not embraced a man in many years and some had never been embraced by a man outside of a sexual context.
The Lord showed me that as men had been a source of bondage for most of these women, I was to be a conduit for them to be blessed and released into their destinies. I was to embrace and bless every woman in attendance and the Lord was going to further remove bondages and set them free in Him.
The Father’s Healing Embrace
Eddie and Fourie of the worship team helped me with the embrace, blessing and release of these women. I also thought it was prophetically significant that we were white males and 90 percent of the women were black women. I told the women that, for some of them, this was going to be one of the most courageous things they had ever been asked to do, but if they came forward, the Lord would give them a freedom they had never known.
One by one the women came forward. Most of them trembling and as they embraced us, we gave them the Father’s blessing and spoke life into their hearts and minds. For some it was a father’s hug they never received, for others it was an embrace that in many ways brought healing to all of the ways different men had inflicted pain upon their lives.
Many of the women had just enough strength to reach me and then collapse into my arms. As I held them up and blessed them, I could sense the Father’s love extracting years of pain. Some of the women did not let go of the embrace, so I remained with them until they released the embrace, or until they could no longer stand, and I could no longer hold them up.
We received many testimonies of what the Lord did in these few days, but this testimony below is one that seems to speak for many of the women.
Dear Robert and Joyce:
Joyce, thank you for allowing Robert to come and speak “thus saith the Lord” into our lives. I have been in a place where I was waiting to being “launched” as a servant under a spiritual covering in my own church. I have been waiting thinking that I needed to be launched at church. When Robert spoke I knew He was the one the Lord had sent. A few things became clear to me: (1) God used Robert to heal me from fear of men, and anger towards men. The Lord healed me from “no father syndrome”, and always looking for the invisible shadow. I had always looked for affirmation from an earthly father because I always yearned to hear a father say – I love you. (2) God used Robert to speak into my heart and launch me out – his first message – broke something in my heart and there is a renewed confidence. (3) I have always yearned to hear Jesus’ voice saying to me I love you – this is still the results of the absent father in my life. When Robert hugged me—I felt as if it was the Father’s arms and really felt special and loved by God.
The final session with the women was an incredible celebration. The women danced, jumped, skipped, ran and played like little children before their Father. It was quite a sight to see. Some of these women in their seventies acting like little children was so much fun to see. It was an experience in freedom that I will never forget.
I also issued a word of caution to the women in their newfound freedom and that was to operate in the fruits of the Spirit. They are to be cloaked in the spirit of love, humility, and unity, in regards to their marriages and churches. They were to remain in obedience to where the Lord had called them in their church organizations and to pray for their pastors. If the church would not recognize them as ministers on a Sunday, then praise God that is only one or two hours a week where they will not be able to minister.
For The Men
I want to encourage all of the men out there to come against culture, chauvinistic mindsets and anything that would bring limitations and bondage to the women we have the ability to influence. Men, you have an incredible power to release the women in your life. Repent for any ways that you have limited them and held them back.
The Lord will not answer your prayers according to 1 Peter 3:7 if you continue to put His daughters into bondage, especially your wives. The Lord has a special call for women and it is to be beside men and not behind them.
We must realize that the Lord has ordained and will continue to ordain women as senior leadership of businesses, churches, and nations. Deborah in the book of Judges is a great example of leading a nation and it’s military leaders for over 40 years in obedience to the Lord’s call upon her life.
To the measure of freedom we give the women in our lives, it is the same measure we will begin to see families, communities, and nations transformed. For the most part we have been operating in ministry with half of the Lord’s army tied up and kept silent. The Lord says, “It is enough; let my daughters go in Jesus name!”
Robert Ricciardelli is a writer, speaker, talk show host, and a transformational life and business coach. You can find out more at http://www.convergingzone.com/.