How a country treats its women and its children shows a lot about the character and quality of the country. In the USA we strive to honor and protect each and every person, but that isn’t always the case in India. They have laws similar to ours, but the practical reality is often quite different.
We encourage wives to come to our conferences with their husbands, and more and more are doing so. That adds a very positive dynamic to the meetings. We emphasize the importance of husbands treating their wives as Christ treats them. That is unheard of among Moslems or Hindus. Women and children have better status among Christians, but clearly not nearly the equality they should have. The rest of Indian culture is very hard on women and children. 1.2 million children are sold into slavery and prostitution every year. 50 million are child laborers.
Every 6 hours a married woman is killed by her husband. Very very few ever are arrested and sentenced. The law and society looks the other way, considering it a family matter.
The number of births in India every year is more than the total population of Australia, and many other nations. Still, India has one of the world’s highest rates of abortion. Time magazine reports that in 2012, the number of abortions in India could be as high as 7 million, with 2/3 of abortions taking place in unauthorized health facilities. Due to unsanitary conditions, a woman in India dies every two hours. Additionally, there are more men than women in India due to the high rate of abortions performed on female fetuses, a practice known as “gendercide.”
In ancient and medieval India, suttees, in which a recently widowed woman would voluntarily let herself be burnt to death on her husband’s funeral pyre, were common.
A widow is considered bad luck—otherwise, her husband wouldn’t have died. Elderly women in the village might call a widow “the one who ate her husband.” In some orthodox families, widows are not allowed near newlyweds or welcomed at social gatherings.
Many Indian wives will never say their husband’s name aloud, as it is a sign of disrespect. When addressing him, the wife will use several indirect references, such as “ji” or “look here” or “hello,” or even refer to him as the father of her child.
It is rare for a woman to stand up for her rights, but it is becoming more and more common. In 2004, 200 women took law in their own hands and came to the court armed with vegetable knives and chilli powder and murdered on the court floor a serial rapist – Akku Yadav. Then every woman claimed responsibility for the murder.
As Christians we know God values women and children the same as men. In fact, they are special to Him because they are often vulnerable or helpless. Treating them in a godly way is part of being Christ like.
Psalm 127:3-5 Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court.
Matthew 18:10 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.
James 1:27 “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”
1 Timothy 5:2 Treat older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity.
I know we all say we treat women and children as equals, but do we? Men, do you make jokes about women or look down on them as inferior in any way?
Men and women, do you show respect to children and their feelings, treating them the same as you would an important adult?
Ask God to show you any lack in your attitude to women or children. Confess it as sin and plan how to do better.
by Rev. Dr. Jerry Schmoyer, Christian Training Organization