My heart has been heavy, and I am in utter disbelief, when considering that three Christian women I know got married this year without the blessing of their church. This wasn’t because the church discovered that their mates were sinful and forbade the women from marrying them. It was because the church wasn’t even afforded an opportunity to give wise counsel. These women courted and then took their vows without involving their church’s leaders. They didn’t receive marital counseling at their church, didn’t have the ceremony at their church and didn’t even invite the church leaders to their ceremonies. What’s wrong with this?
Well, I know each of these women could be typically classified as strong black women, believing that they are smart enough and know themselves well enough to make their own decisions, but this thinking is dangerous because it contradicts Scripture, particularly the “One Another” verses I discussed last week and those that tell us to submit to the spiritual authorities in our lives (Proverbs 11:14; 1 Peter 2:13, 18; and Hebrews 13:7, 17). And even if I didn’t know these scriptures, it’s hard for me to fathom choosing a church for my spiritual development and allowing those leaders to teach me from the pulpit, but not trusting them to help guide one of the biggest spiritual decisions of my life. But even with these women being typical strong black women and operating in a way foreign to me, I understand their move. They probably have had to make decisions on their own for so long and have encountered so many untrustworthy people, they simply did what they knew best—to be self-reliant.
They’ve encountered what the Bible calls talebearers, those who spread their business after they put their trust in these people. As a result, strife developed between them and the culprits, and the women suffered deep wounds. This has made them leery of people in general, but leaders in particular because of leaders’ job of guiding decisions and having to reveal “your business” to get you help if what you reveal will be harmful to you, minors or other vulnerable populations. And perhaps the leaders didn’t handle their business right. These women don’t want to be accountable to someone who they feel may harm them.
So often the strong black woman has made decisions without spiritual guidance because of untrustworthy leaders. This is a great dilemma but one that God has worked out for us: “It is better to trust God than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust God than to put confidence in princes” (Proverbs 118:8-9). Though He gives us people, especially leaders, to guide us, we must ultimately trust Him with the process He has given us. Though we must go to humans, as God’s representatives, we trust that God will speak to them and through them. And as the ultimate revealer of secrets, we must trust that God will reveal to us and our leaders what we need to live lives that give glory to Jesus Christ. This way of looking at trust is not easy, but it is better to trust God (His way) than to put confidence in man (our strong black selves).
Copyright 2009 by Rhonda J. Smith