If you are a woman, consider this: Suppose you are in a college class taking your favorite subject. All throughout the semester, you go the extra mile. You take copious notes, always contribute in the class discussions, always start on your research papers early in order to have the best sources and best synthesis of material, and always study at least two evenings before an exam. However, there are other women in the class that are not so industrious as you are. You notice that they always chatter to each other, always look disinterested, and always giggle when someone is trying to say something important. You personally know some of these women and their study habits, and you are certain that they are not going to do half as well as you.
So the end of the semester comes. The professor announces that some people have done a lousy job in the class. But, he reminds everyone, "I am a Christian man and Christ commands me to love all people, so I am going to give everyone A's in spite of their effort, or lack thereof." Your jaw hits the floor. What? "This is not agape," you think to yourself, "this is caving in to total lazy-minded stupidity!"
Later you go to the professor's office and cry aloud, "Sir, I don't think it's fair that the other ladies in the class are getting the same grade as I am!"
But he counters, "Calm down. What do you want me to do? I count myself a gentleman who treats all women with honor."
"You are not treating me with honor," you snap as you storm out of his office.
You know what? You would be right. The professor was out of line. He was confusing charity with merit. Yes, we are to love our neighbors as ourselves and help those who are genuinely in need (Luke 10:25-37), but the same Bible that commands charity is the same one that demands that laziness not be rewarded (2 Thess. 3:10). The Bible also says, "Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!" (Isa. 5:20).
I do not give the same respect to sinners as I do to faithful Christians. I do not give the same respect to hussies and scolds as I do to godly women. So, it it is with some concern that I read statements like this:
I think that the point here is not women's suffrage or whether or not the men had a right to seats in the lifeboats (of course they did). The point is that those men who gave their lives were gentlemen in the truest sense of the word. And a gentleman will always be a gentleman whether the women around him chose to be ladies or not. [emphasis mine]I believe other writers have said something similiar. What is meant by the statement that a "gentleman will always be a gentleman"? Granted, a man should stick to his principles and treat all people fairly and compassionately, but I do not believe that he owes any preferential treatment to women who clamor for equality. The preferential treatment that men bestowed on women in the past was rightfully predicated on women taking a submissive and subordinate position to men. If women refuse to be subordinate to men, then they forfeit all claims to any special treatment that traditionally comes with such subordination.
If Christian men chose not to be gentlemen, it says more about them as individuals than it does the women around them. That would be the equivalent of me choosing not to behave like a lady because the men I'm surrounded by don't treat me as one.
Let me reiterate something I have said in the past:
Men have not been in a habit of asking themselves what they want from a relationship. They have not always been encouraged to articulate their feelings about this matter; instead, they have been mostly trained to put the needs of others before themselves. Whether out of some notion of "chivalry" or a need to address the "past wrongs" of a "patriarchal culture," men have found themselves deferring to women in defining what a male-female relationship should look like. But the noble inclinations of men to be selfless and respectful of women are not always appropriate. Justice, decency, and propriety demand a limit to what women can rightfully ask of men. In fact, Christian men do a disservice to godly women when they declare all women to be worthy of the same treatment. The honor we give to good women has no meaning unless we can boldly expose the deeds of those women who are dishonorable. We need more men like Elijah to stand up against the Jezebels of our day and against the spineless Ahabs that do their bidding (even those in our churches).What's the bottom line? The woman that clamors for indiscriminate chivalry asks for something unfair to other women. Indeed, she calls into question her own character by making such a demand. Social pressure must be brought to bear on amoral and hypocritical women to reform themselves if there ever going to be any hope of repairing relations between the genders. Yes, let a man show consideration and courtesy to all people. Yes, let's be concerned for all women. But let's stop rewarding bad behavior.