Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Now I Have Seen God

Leslie Basham: When women forgive, God is glorified. Here’s Mary Kassian.

Mary Kassian: I think of one particular woman who wrote me a letter. She had experienced an incestuous relationship with her father, had gone through many years of bitterness, and was just convicted of needing to forgive her father.

So she went through that process of forgiveness, and then she said, “I went into his home, and I bathed him and washed him and held him, and he looked me in the eyes before he died and said, ‘Now I have seen God.’”

That same thing—in her woundedness, able to reach out with forgiveness—that was what brought him to Christ.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Friday, May 30.

Women from around our country and a few from outside our borders are preparing to come to Chicago for True Woman ’08. It’s the National Women’s Conference, October 9–11. We’re joining two of the speakers for that conference, Nancy Leigh DeMoss and today’s guest.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: We’re talking this week about what I think are some very important issues of the heart. Going to the heart of what it means to be a woman, and what it means to be a woman in a world that has been incredibly influenced by feminist ideology and thinking and theory.

None of us is immune from the influence of that way of thinking, and we want to examine our lives as Christian women and say, “Are we living out a biblical ideal of what it means to be a woman, or have we given in to a secular and worldly way of thinking?”

Our guest this week is my friend Mary Kassian, who is a Canadian. She’s a wife. She’s a mom. She has a professional background. She’s a student of the Word. She’s a teacher of women. Mary, I love your heart, and I thank you so much for being our guest on Revive Our Hearts.

Mary: Thanks, Nancy.

Nancy: You’ve been a real encourager to me in this ministry. In fact it was several years ago, as I began to read one of your books called The Feminist Mistake, in which you talked about the historical development of feminism in our culture and the parallel development in churches, that God planted seeds in my heart that really became Revive Our Hearts.

I began to think, “Oh, Lord, wouldn’t it be something if in our day there would be a small handful of women that You would raise up to be counter-revolutionaries, to begin to reflect Your heart and Your way of thinking, and to represent in our world the biblical and godly way of thinking about womanhood?”

So you really have had, even long before we knew each other, a significant influence on my life and my thinking and on this ministry. I just want to thank you for that.

Mary: Thanks, Nancy.

Nancy: Now, I have heard you say, Mary, that there was a day when you would have called yourself a feminist.

Mary: Yes. There was a time I would have called myself a feminist, and that was because I am very much for women. I am for their worth and dignity and value. I like to see women honored and assume their God-given dignity, so I am very much for those things.

I believe the Bible, the Word of God, is for those things as well; but I came to see feminism as a philosophy that went far beyond the worth and dignity of women. Feminism really sought to answer the question, “How do I become whole? How do I fill that missing space? How do I find worth and value?”

Nancy: So the question itself really wasn’t a wrong question.

Mary: No. However, their answer, the answer of feminism, lies in finding truth, in determining value, within ourselves, within woman—that I can be a source of my own truth, that I can find truth within, and that I can become whole by following my inner truth.

That stands against the Word of God, because God is truth. We find truth by following Him, and that’s an external standard.

Nancy: That’s an illustration, I think, of an area where many of us as evangelical women have unwittingly fallen into a feminist way of thinking. We would say, “Oh, I don’t believe all that stuff.”

Yet how often on a daily basis do we make decisions—how we’ll react, how we’ll respond, what we will do—choices based on what we think, based on our emotions, rather than saying, “What does God’s Word have to say about what my response should be, to this husband who didn’t keep his vows or to this child who is not respecting and responding to my authority?”

Mary: That’s right; and if we get away from the Word of God as being our ultimate authority, we drift into all sorts of things. I think it creates problems in the male/female relationships. We see more problems now in the male/female relationships than back in the ’50s.

Nancy: Isn’t that interesting.

Mary: It is interesting. There’s more abuse. They set out to solve all those issues, to restore the dignity and value of women, but in doing so outside of the framework of the Word of God, it’s become worse.

Nancy: So how can a Christian woman who’s experienced abuse—a distant or absentee dad, a controlling, domineering dad, or abusive men in her life—how can women then turn around and say, “I honor men as created in the image of God,” and have a right view of men?

Mary: Well, it’s difficult for women. I’ve dealt with a lot of women who have been abused—sexually, physically, and verbally abused—and those wounds go deep. Those wounds go very deep.

I believe as women we often react emotionally to issues. We base our reaction on our emotions; so when we have been wounded, we look for ways to protect ourselves. We think that we need to stand up for ourselves and protect ourselves, and we also look for someone to blame.

Ultimately, the Word of God teaches us that we need to look at sin and the Evil One as the source of all evil; that all of us sin; and that Christ’s way is the way of forgiveness. Christ’s way of freedom and liberty is the way of forgiveness.

I really believe that for women who have been wounded, they really need to draw nearer to Christ; and the more they see Jesus, the more they see the Father heart of God, the more they experience His love, they will be healed, and they will experience His goodness through knowing the Lord and through drawing close to Him and the example of Christ.

I have my Bible open here to Philippians 2, the example of Christ, who Himself experienced rejection, pain . . .

Nancy: . . . abuse.

Mary: . . . experienced abuse . . . all sorts of terrible things, yet was able to forgive, and who had that inner quiet spirit and that attitude where He submitted Himself to the Father and said, “I don’t need to retaliate. I don’t need to make it right. My Father God is looking out for Me.”

Having that same attitude, I think, is what women need to seek. It’s a difficult thing, when a woman is being wounded so deeply, to have a right view about men when she’s being wounded at the hands of men.

Nancy: It really takes us back to 1 Peter 2, where the Scripture says when Christ suffered, He did not threaten, did not retaliate, but He entrusted Himself to the One, His heavenly Father, who judges all things righteously. And by His willingness to take those wounds, to suffer and to trust Himself to God, He became the means of our healing. He became the wounded healer.

The world says, “You’ve been wounded at the hands of men. They’ve not understood you. They’ve abused you. They’ve mistreated you. Therefore, you need to lash out, be bitter, be angry, be independent, isolate yourself, separate yourself.”

We move into whole areas of even perverse sexuality, lesbianism, etc., that have flowed out of women being angry at men. The world says that’s the way to address these issues, but if we look at the women who have adopted that way of thinking, we realize they’re more miserable than ever. They’re more frustrated than ever. They have not been healed.

Healing only occurs when we as women turn our hearts and lift up our issues and hurts and needs to the Lord and say, “You are my source of life, grace, strength, help, and healing; and I am willing, having received You into my life, to live out the implications of the gospel,” which means, “I am willing to forgive; I am willing to esteem all others as better than myself; I am willing to love and pray for and do good to my enemies and to those who have wronged me.”

Then, as women, we hold an incredible power—the power of Christ in us—to be wounded healers; to become instruments of redemption in the hearts of men, children, grandchildren, friends, mates. In the lives of others, we become real instruments of the grace of God as we’re willing to respond to those hurts God’s way.

Mary: I think of examples of the stories of women that I have heard over the years. I’ve seen women who have been injured at the hands of men and have been unable to forgive and have grown old and bitter and angry and have not been able to release it.

Then I think of women who have really struggled to walk in forgiveness and who have hung onto the promises of Scripture. I think of one particular woman who wrote me a letter. She said she had experienced an incestuous relationship with her father, had gone through many years of bitterness, and was just convicted of needing to forgive her father.

So she went through that process of forgiveness and then was able to go and reach out to her father. It ended up being the last week of her father’s life that she reconnected.

She said, “I went into his home, and I bathed him and washed him and held him, and I was able to extend love and grace to him. He looked me in the eyes before he died and said, ‘Now I have seen God.’”

That same thing—in her woundedness, able to reach out with forgiveness—that was what brought him to Christ.

Nancy: And that really is at the heart of the gospel.

Mary: It is.

Nancy: The Lord Jesus, who was wounded for us, became a wounded healer so that as we are wounded and we forgive as He has forgiven us, and as we extend mercy and grace as He has extended them to us, we can become instruments of healing and grace and mercy in the lives of others.

Leslie: That’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss. She’s been talking with Mary Kassian about the power of women who forgive. Nancy will be right back with the second half of today’s program.

I want to offer you some help if you’re thinking that all of this seems impossible, that forgiveness can’t help your situation. I hope you’ll read Nancy’s book Choosing Forgiveness. It will show you the value of forgiveness through stories of women who have found freedom. It will show you what the process of forgiveness looks like and help you walk through it.

We’ll send you Choosing Forgiveness when you make a donation to the ministry at ReviveOurHearts.com, or ask for Choosing Forgiveness when you donate by phone. Just call 800-569-5959.

Nancy and a group of friends are here to reflect on the ideas we’ve heard from Mary Kassian. We’ll hear from Kim Wagner, Holly Elliff, and Carolyn McCulley. Here’s Nancy to get us started.

Nancy: As I started this conversation with Mary today, I referenced the fact that God had used her book The Feminist Mistake in a significant way years ago in my own life to open my eyes, to spark something in my own heart that, as I said earlier, really proved to be the seeds of Revive Our Hearts.

I know, Holly, that we were friends at that time, and you read Mary’s book about the same time, and it had a similar effect in your thinking.

Holly Elliff: Nancy, I remember one night in particular when Mary was in town, and you were ill, so I had the privilege of picking her up at the airport.

We came back to your condo and just had this incredible conversation where suddenly pieces of my understanding . . . about God’s will for women, about how women got in the circumstances we were in, about God’s desires for women versus our desires and how convoluted that was in our culture . . .

All those things began to drop into place for me as we just sat and talked for hours about this whole progression of the feminist movement, how it’s impacted our culture, how now it is so pervasive we do not even realize that it is normal in our thinking.

Kim Wagner: Well, Nancy, I remember when you passed this book on to me shortly after you had read it. I also grew up in that time period. I did not claim to be a feminist, but although mentally I would say I understood the biblical call for women, I was practicing the life of a feminist without even realizing it in my relationships, not only with my husband but with men in general.

Nancy: Kim, you were an evangelical pastor’s wife. What did that look like?

Kim: Rude, obnoxious, hostile—not that I realized I was doing that, but just in my treatment of men. You know, the feminist movement was birthed from seeds of anger and hostility toward men.

Women responded to abuse or perceived hurts from men in ways that they’ve “determined no man is going to hurt me again,” so if I approach a man as a strong woman, if I come across verbally in a way that protects me, I can intimidate a man, and he will fear crossing me. Then I’ve protected myself from further harm.

Holly: That sense of self-sufficiency—I know, Carolyn, in your life as a single, you have some amazing stories about how this whole concept impacted you.

Carolyn McCulley: Well, I am probably the last of the lot here to have read Mary’s book, and when I did, I felt like I was reading a narrative of my entire life, because as she opened up the passage of time and explained what was being done purposefully by the feminist movement in each generation, there I sat.

I was born the year when Feminine Mystique by Betty Freidan was published. In grade school Title Nine came out, and I thought, “Yes, every woman should be able to compete in sports with men on the same teams, we’re just as good.” Even if you physically saw the difference, that men were stronger, it didn’t matter.

Then I got to college and was reading in her book how it was a very intentional move to take this feminist ideology to the next generation, starting women’s studies programs, and there I was. I can’t even tell you why I got involved in the women’s studies program at the University of Maryland. I just drifted into it like so many other women had, and there I was.

I was not only taking women’s studies courses and having this beat into my mind, but I was also becoming a teaching assistant, and I went on to get a certificate in it. I can’t remember that there was any particular plan to do this. I just drifted with the culture.

So I’m reading her unfolding of this movement and thinking, “I was there at every one of these points,” and never making a conscious decision, just being affected.

So there I was with this free-floating anger toward men, convinced that men were the problem; and then I become a Christian and found out that men are not the problem, sin is the problem.

Now, to tell the truth, men have sinned against women in some egregious ways, so the feminist movement did clearly see that. But their solution was to push men away, not to say, “Oh, there’s a redemptive element here in Christ.”

So I just had this free-floating anger toward men in general, and I was always going to spar with them and compete with them. Even though I have had a relatively blessed and uneventful life, I still was as angry as the next person, and I really didn’t have any cause for it. I just kind of absorbed it from the culture.

Holly: Carolyn, what you said a minute ago, that it was almost unconscious, it was just something you did without ever making a conscious choice . . .

Carolyn: Drifting with the culture.

Holly: Drifting. I think that’s what we’re seeing now many, many, many, many years later. We’re seeing the fact that, as Christian women, we are not choosing. We’re just absorbing, so all of a sudden we find ourselves with a very secular viewpoint in many areas.

I can remember when God actually dealt with us about the whole issue of birth control. Somebody said to me, “Well, so you started taking birth control when you got married. Didn’t it occur to you then that that might have been something you’d want to explore in God’s Word?”

Honestly, I said, “You know, it never occurred to me to even ask the question, ‘What does God say about it?’ It was just a part of the culture. It was the norm.” Now, as Christian women, we don’t even realize how much more that governs our thought than God’s Word.

Kim: I think one reason it’s so easy for the church to drift with that is because the philosophy of feminism, at its root, is just embracing to do whatever you want to do to get your own way. It’s a sin issue of the heart; and, sadly, within the world, within the culture, the church so many times is not willing to stand against the culture, so it’s easier to absorb that.

Holly: Once we remove the standard of God’s Word from our decision making, from our thought processes, so that we don’t even consider it any longer, even as Christians, then any information—I can find truth within myself, which was one of the tenants of feminism: I can look within myself and know what is right and true . . .

Nancy: As we see this seismic revolution that took place within our culture under feminism, what has captured my heart and imagination, which is really what Revive Our Hearts is all about, is what could happen in our day if there were some intentional women who say, “We will live out God’s way of thinking.” What kind of revolution—a counter-revolution, we called it—could God bring about within the church today? which is where we need that to start.

We don’t have to just roll over and play dead with what has happened with the culture, or just wring our hands in despair. But we truly can be a part of what God wants to do in sounding forth a different sound, calling women to live out the kingdom of Christ in our day.

Leslie: I hope you’ll consider taking significant action after hearing those words from Nancy Leigh DeMoss. She’ll be sharing this burden of a counter-cultural revolution among women at a conference in Chicago this October 9–11.

It’s called True Woman ’08. The guest we heard earlier, Mary Kassian, will be there, along with John Piper, Joni Eareckson Tada, Karen Loritts, and many other wise, godly women, sharing their insights into what it means to be a true woman. Get more information at our website.

This is a listener-supported outreach to women. Our donors make events like True Women ’08 possible. We rely on the gifts from our listeners to keep Revive Our Hearts on the air, and as we head into the summer, quite frankly, we need extra gifts to help us through what can be lean months.

Would you pray about what you can do? A gift of any size would be greatly appreciated.

Also this month, we’ve been taking some time to tell you about the Revive Our Hearts Ministry Partner team. Our Ministry Partner team is crucial in providing regular monthly support, allowing us to focus on ministry, and giving us the flexibility to expand outreaches to more women.

Here’s Nancy to tell you more about this important group of people.

Nancy: I just want to say that this ministry would not be possible without the support and encouragement of our Ministry Partner team. Ministry partners agree to pray for this ministry regularly.

They pray for me. They pray for Revive Our Hearts. They pray for revival among women in this country and around the world. I can’t tell you important those prayers are. We cannot do anything without the power of God, and we need your prayers.

In addition to supporting this ministry with their prayers, our ministry partners commit to telling others about Revive Our Hearts and the resources that are available, and they also support this ministry financially on a monthly basis.

I’m coming to you today to ask if you would be willing to join our Ministry Partner team. When you do, you’re making these three commitments:

  • To pray for this ministry
  • To share the ministry with others
  • To support the ministry financially on a monthly basis.

As a part of our Ministry Partner team, you will be helping us reach out to women who need to hear the truth of God’s Word. When you join our Ministry Partner team, we’ll say thanks by sending you one of my books, followed up by a monthly resource created just for our ministry partners.

You’ll also be able to attend one of our Revive Our Hearts conferences each year at no charge, and this year, that means you can use that benefit, that bonus, to pay the registration fee at the True Woman ’08 Conference coming up in October.

For more details about the Ministry Partner team, what it means and how you can join, go to our website, or call us at 800-569-5959.

Now, perhaps you’ve been hearing the broadcast this week about speaking respectfully to your husband, and you’ve been wondering, “Does that mean I can never bring up any problems?”

Mary Kassian will address that important question when we return on Monday for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.