They Do Exist.

From The Men: A Letter To The Rejected Woman

Editor’s Note: I’ve been reading ‘Repenting of Religion’ by Greg Boyd this week (thanks Emily for the rec!) and it’s wrecking my heart. It’s a reminder of how quickly we’ve fallen away from doing the primary thing Jesus showed us how to do: love. Jesus saw you and me as worth dying for, and we must to see others in the same way, all differences aside. Worth dying for. Worth loving. Today’s submission is by Michael Doyle, and I am so happy to be posting it. – Lauren

Dear Women,

I want you to take a good look at yourself in the mirror. What do you see? A little girl? Do you see someone weak, maybe a broken mess? Do you see someone who lacks confidence, your hurts and pains? Do you see what he did to you? Do you see only scars?

I know the world likes to see you for everything you’ve done, good or bad. I know your friends like to bring up the past and tell you that it’s okay to your face, but criticize and slander your name when you aren’t looking. I know that your church loves you when you stay pure, substance free and love God by being perfect and flawless. But this is a letter to the women who have experienced rejection from the church; as soon as you don’t show up one Sunday or let a curse word fly or make a “mistake,” you are shunned or don’t feel welcomed.

This is a letter for the sometimes lost, sometimes broken, sometimes lonely women.

You are labeled by everything you do, and the pressure that is coming at you from every angle can be unbearable. Who can you turn to when everyone has turned away? Who is there to lift you up when you can’t pick yourself up off the bathroom floor?

I will give you the answer to that question.

Jesus.

Jesus is there, every time. Through every drunken night, through every one night stand. Through every curse word, every regret that you have hidden from the world. He is there. He looks past the hurt, pain and scars. He looks for the princess that His father created. He looks for the sister that He saved from death and despair when He hung on a cross to die.

There is an amazing story of Jesus showing grace and love to a woman in the Bible. This woman had a reputation, and leaders in the town found her committing a sin. They pulled her from where she was found and drug her through the square. These men threw her in front of Jesus, ready to thrown stones at her.

Then He turn towards her accusers and asked what she had done.

They repeated her transgressions with great delight, as if exposing her made them feel better about themselves. Jesus said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Jesus bent back down and kept drawing in the sand.

One by one they threw their stones down to ground and walked away, humbled and ashamed. After the last left, Jesus looked up from his drawing, and at the woman again. It was just the woman and Jesus.

What we find strange today is that Jesus was without sin, yet he looks graciously upon us as sinners. He didn’t pick up a stone of judgment or hate or malice or disappointment and throw it at her with all of his might. Sometimes we forget that after all the stones we’ve had thrown our way, Jesus is the only one who won’t. He didn’t turn away from her and run. He didn’t tell her that she wasn’t good enough.

He loved her.

He accepted her for everything that she was. All of the baggage she brought with her. For all of her flaws, imperfections, and wonderfulness. The wonderfulness that comes with being a woman, a woman who is so dearly loved! For the beauty that was created in His likeness. Because you are beautiful, and you are so loved.

And that is what we as men should do. We should love everything about you, never casting a stone. And I’m sorry for those who have. I know there are good men out there, but I know you’ve met plenty of bad ones along the way. Forgive them and don’t cast stones back, either. Commit your life to Jesus every single day; someone who will love you unconditionally. You will find that your purpose in life is so much greater.

So, I want you to take a good look at yourself in the mirror again. What do you see? It is my hope and prayer that you see someone who is loved and accepted. You are someone who is deserving of joy and happiness, who can do anything. You are someone who has the confidence to walk with her head held high. You love your family and friends without holding back. You bare stretch marks from birthing children. You hold and nurture and have abilities to make the world come back together when it feels like the pieces have fallen apart. You are beautiful, you are good, you are a child of God. Perfection, created to love and be loved.

Thank you for being so beautiful and thank you for being you.

From,

Michael


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24 Responses

  1. Thank you! This is beautiful, and definitely something I needed to read today. Looking in the mirror and believing I am loved is hard, but you're so right- Jesus loves always and unconditionally. Bookmarking this reminder. =]

    March 28, 2012 at 9:16 am

  2. Terri

    This IS beautiful, and honest, but I feel I needed to say something here… I am NOT looking to pick an argument…. Yes, Jesus loves us unconditionally and will always forgive when we truly seek forgiveness, but if we continue to commit sins then we are not truly seeking forgiveness (going to a club and drinking, having a hangover, swearing we'll NEVER do that again… then friday comes and we hit the clubs and repeat the cycle… AGAIN). Alcoholism is a disease. People can truly repent and seek God's help, and still succumb to the bottle, but when we couple our repentance with fighting off our sins, Jesus promises to help us get past these. Confession time… I was "of the world", and thought I knew better than God when it came to "lust/love"… I had no problems believing in self-love and believed in it's "health benefits", and practiced often. When I returned to faith (Catholicism, thru supernatural experiences) I followed my faith as I learned about it… except in self-love cases. I would feel guilty (w/out anyone telling me it was "wrong") and go to confession, but continued with the practice. One day I felt the temptation coming on and started praying that God would take these feelings from me (I was getting embarrassed confessing something so personal so consistently) and even tho it took a few tries, God removed it. I no longer suffer from "have to do it"-iitis and have more control over my urges, and have not re-offended since. He WILL forgive when we truly repent, but we have to be serious about our repentance and TRY not to continue committing these offences. We are also told that even tho He forgives, we will be treated as one He doesn't know when we don't actually try to follow His words/teachings. He will then tell us "Get away from me, I know you not". His love and forgiveness is not a free pass to do as we want and still expect to obtain His promises. God bless!

    March 28, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    • Jordana

      i was just thinking along these lines…i don't want to identify with my past failures by repeating them over and over and over. oh yes, of course i am grateful for the grace and mercy i have received and receive each day! truly, i am! and yes, i stumble…but i'm also getting stronger and long for the day when these types of temptations are no more (sorry i'm being vague with "these types"— i realize i will have temptations in some form or another my whole life, but the ones i currently have shouldn't be there, in my opinion)

      but now i feel like i'm in limbo…how do i become mature, lacking in nothing? that's my question.

      March 28, 2012 at 1:43 pm

      • Terri

        Jordana – I would love to try and help, but need a little more info. I can appreciate not sharing in such a public forum (as I held off on my comment to be sure I could be open about my past)… If you have a facebook page, please find me (Terri Fortin) and send me an inbox message. I haven't been back to faith very long (3 years) but I doubt anything you say can surprise me ;) I had my own views and opinions when I was "of the world" and judge no one. It will help in discerning how to answer your question beyond -"Trust in God's mercy and begin anew. When the temptations "attack", pray…something as simple as "Jesus, please have mercy on my soul" and trust that He will lead you where He wants you. When you empty out your WHOLE self, He will fill you, etc…." I look forward to hearing from you, my friend, but understand if you don't. I will ask Him to keep you in my prayers. God bless!

        March 28, 2012 at 2:52 pm

        • Jordana

          Terri! Thanks so much, I will definitely send you a message within the next week or two. I really appreciate your willingness to talk with me :)

          March 28, 2012 at 10:36 pm

          • Nicky

            I think this is a letter to the women who are TRYING to reject sin but finding it more difficult than others. Let's not forget how good grace is, because some of us (including myself) have a daily struggle with finding acceptance in Jesus because it's REALLY HARD to reject our own sins. It's not so easy to just say "I'll get rid of my sin for Jesus" when you're surrounded by judgment, poor environment, etc. and you can't exactly make that smooth transition. I think this was a letter (and a wonderful one at that) to the women like me, who are in the process of trying to change their ways and occasionally slip up…for the good woman inside who might be surrounded by bad people…for the good woman who tries her hardest but doesn't feel adequate enough for the church or the body or anything close to Jesus. This is a letter for women who don't KNOW what it means to repent their sins but continually try anyway.

            March 29, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    • Great comment, Terri. And true, we don't change until we truly want to. But I do love that God has grace for us even in the moments where we aren't ready to turn from doing the things we don't want to do anymore.

      There's a really awesome article that touches on some of these points over at Relevant that you might like to read!
      http://www.relevantmagazine.com/god/deeper-walk/f

      March 28, 2012 at 2:31 pm

      • Jordana

        awesome article, thanks for sharing. and also, thank you for this website. its a place where i'm often challenged AND inspired. the goodwomenproject team is doing great things!

        March 28, 2012 at 10:38 pm

      • Jenny

        Lauren that is an AMAZING article from Relevant about habitual sin. Wow. Thank you so much for posting. I personally feel a huge weight lifted from reading it. I also love this blog and read everything you post. Thank you for following God's path for your life you are truly blessing all your readers.

        March 29, 2012 at 11:00 am

    • frabjousflamingo

      This is a good (and important) point to bring up, thank you for sharing it in a loving manner. The post shares a message that we all need to hear, but also remember what Jesus also always said: "Go and sin no more."

      March 28, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    • Angie

      Those were my thoughts exactly too. God is so gracious to accept us, brokenness, flaws, and all – as the article above points out – but he does reject our sin. The adulteress woman still sinned, and the price for that sin was paid when Jesus died on the cross. Sometimes I feel like we focus so much on the fact that Jesus took her, told the men not to throw a stone at her, that we forget that the reason He told them not to throw the stone was because He took on that punishment on the cross.

      There's a sort of line here … to focus on His acceptance of her and everything about her, her beauty, her character, her heart, but we also need to focus just as equally on the rejection of her sin.

      March 29, 2012 at 11:27 am

  3. Anna Kaye

    Amazingly Beautiful! I needed to hear and be reminded of this today. Thank you!

    March 28, 2012 at 12:34 pm

  4. Laura

    I needed this today. I haven't been feeling "like a real Christian" because of some struggles in my life lately and hearing this is like a breath of fresh air. Yes, I know I need to seek God more and try harder not to fall into the sin time and time again, but after failing so many times (God has not taken away my desire on any level), I feel at a loss to ever get a hold on it and "live right". Thank you for reaffirming that our mistakes do not define us, and that Jesus is always there–even in the depths of our despair.

    March 29, 2012 at 12:24 pm

  5. Abi

    Thank you for this truly beautiful letter it really made me feel wanted and loved thank you God Bless

    March 29, 2012 at 1:16 pm

  6. This is truly beautiful. :') Thank you for writing this! Blessings!

    March 29, 2012 at 10:33 pm

  7. Ruthie D.

    Beautiful! Thank you for speaking the truth to the many, many women sitting in rejection from the church. How contrary to the Gospel is feeling more rejection from the church than outsiders.

    March 30, 2012 at 9:50 am

  8. I love this. we all do sin, and as much as we may wish to be perfect none of us are. but, Christ in us is perfect and we need to learn to rely on Him and bot on our own strength.

    April 1, 2012 at 3:51 pm

  9. Pingback: - Sunday Supplications: He looks for the princess that His father created. | The Woman and the Dragon

  10. Templar

    Don't forget the "Go and sin no more" part.

    October 29, 2012 at 7:12 pm

  11. Elle

    This encourages my heart. It does my whole being good to hear men being kind, gracious, and loving – with a compassionate heart like Jesus – toward women. Thanks for the reminder to forgive the "bad ones along the way" and not throw stones back at them. The Lord bless you, Michael, in your marriage to such a wonderful woman and in your ministry of loving and living the heart of Jesus.

    December 1, 2012 at 10:51 am

  12. riderslife

    Thank you. So Much.

    January 16, 2013 at 11:19 pm

  13. Susie Whitney

    Beautiful article Michael! We all sin in many ways, but it seems to me that Jesus was most bothered by the sin of self-righteousness. It was the pharisees & religious leaders' sins of pride, judging others & of burdening others instead of loving, caring & helping them that upset Him the most. Satan is the accuser & it is too easy to agree with him in thoughts, words & actions. Every truly born again person feels horrible when they continue to fall into the same sins, but though "man looks at the outside, God looks at the heart". God "looks at the motives of the heart", & He knows when people do outwardly good things for selfish carnal reasons, & when people do bad things because they are so broken that they have not yet truly understood how safe & loved they are & so they run to whatever numbs the agony in their hearts for a time. Everyone needs to feel safe & its up to us to love others with kindness, prayer & God's unconditional love, & to keep believing & praying that one day they will finally believe that they are worth being loved by people & by God & so they will no longer fall into the temptations of satan that he sets up to destroy them with. If some christian's sins are very destructive to us then sometimes we have to step back & love them & pray for them from a distance after we have explained lovingly why we have to do this, but those who are pharisaical need to acknowledge this sin also & ask the Lord to help them lay down their pride & ask Him to heal any fear they may have that might have contributed toward them becoming cold-hearted, & of becoming more concerned with keeping the letter of the law than with the hearts of the precious people that Jesus died for. We are called to judge rightly by acknowledging what sin is, but we are not called to judge wrongly by judging the person themselves & where their heart is at. If your sins are unrighteous judgement. legalism, cold-heartedness, self-righteousness etc, then Jesus has just as much love & mercy for you, & will happily heal your heart too as you continue to offer it to Him daily, but old thought patterns about ourselves & others have usually taken a lifetime to acquire & so may take some time to change. Many sins are acted out from having not forgiven ourselves or from not having forgiven others. Do not accuse or condemn yourself or others in the process of being freed from that which has held you in bondage to a certain sin, & do not listen to other's accusations & condemnation about you, but try to only listen to & read the words that come from God's loving heart to help strengthen & encourage (give courage to you) you along the way. Jesus is always loving, kind, gentle, good, faithful, patient, long-suffering etc toward those who love Him & who hate sin & want to do what is right.

    April 6, 2013 at 11:21 am

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