Over these years at home I have spent a lot of time thinking about why I had so much difficulty feeling "okay" about being at home. There was always unsettledness to the role for me. Although I knew to appreciate the big picture of what I was helping to do with our children and for our home, I always felt somehow unsatisfied seeing myself solely as the at-home parent.
Many at-home caregivers don't feel this way. For many (I am sure both men and women) they've always wanted to be at home and feel totally at peace. I have spent time discussing this situation with several men and women over the years by asking this question: "Why do you think men feel compelled to work outside the home?"
Interestingly, I have heard the Bible used to provide support to their reasoning. There are only a few scriptures that can be referenced. However, I think in every case, the references are misinterpreted and misapplied. This is an important issue because some men serving as the at-home caregivers are Christian men and these men, directly because of their faith heritage, may be feeling an unnecessary pressure to not be serving in this role. I believe this is an unnecessary pressure to feel and I believe these men need to be released from any sense that being at home is falling short of their God given role for the home. I will deal with each one separately. This week -- Genesis 3.
Genesis chapter 3 is usually referred to as simply 'The Fall' because it describes the fall of man from God's original design where human beings are in complete relationship with Him. Adam and Eve are enticed into thinking that God is holding out on them. They literally bite on the bait given to them and set into motion a chain of unfortunate events for all involved. God shows up and is not too pleased with their actions and they receive separate and distinctly different punishments. Adam's is recorded in Genesis 3:17-19:
17 To Adam he said..."Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. 18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you... 19 by the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground..."
This story is sometimes used to explain that Adam was cursed and why Adam, and by extension men in general, are supposed to work -- it was God-ordained from the beginning. However, what must be noted here is that it is the ground which is cursed, not Adam. Adam did something to cause the curse, and he is certainly and forever affected by it, but it isn't Adam who is the object of the curse. To say Adam is the one cursed is a misinterpretation of the text.
The result is that the ground will not produce anything without hard labor on somebody's part. These are general observable truths. But, it is a misapplication of the text to make specific principles when a general one is given. For example, are we to conclude then that we should all be farmers? No. Is working the ground the only God-ordained work? No. Such specific conclusions are silly and dangerous.
The Bible does, however, have several important things to say about work. These will be shared as we move through this issue over the coming weeks.comments powered by Disqus