Whether we like it or not, our past comes with us wherever we go. Do you remember saying you would never do or say something your parents did, only to do that same thing or repeat that exact phrase to your own kids? We get shocked and say, as a friend of mine often liked to: "Mirror, mirror, on the wall, I am my mother, after all."
We bring our past hurts, confusions, and questions to bear on everything, including how we read Scripture. For example, I know that there are women whose fathers were anything but ideal. The idea that God is our father is a difficult thing to hold on to. When I was converted at 20, I remember having a very hard time with the apostle Paul because I had most certainly considered myself a feminist, or at least leaned that way. It took me a while to appreciate him, but I do now; very much so.
In her book God's Good Design, I am about to start a chapter which discusses Genesis 3:16. Recently, at the Gospel Coalition, Smith and Wendy Alsup both presented their views on what this idea of "desiring" our husbands means. They don't agree. I won't replay their discussion here for you; it's much better if you read their own words. This exchange between them was the impetus for me wanting to read this book. Click here for Smith's contribution and click here for Alsup's article.
Smith provides a good reminder as I begin to look more closely to what she thinks about it:
As we think about gender, our battle is to resist allowing what we know from bitter human experience to drown out what we know about the holy God of love.
That's a fairly brief comment, but I think the implications are very profound. How often do we let our past influence how we analyze the present? How much do our hurts, burdens, and baggage influence how we react to God's Word? Yes, we have the Holy Spirit to guide us, but we still live inside bodies of flesh.
I think it's a question we should ask ourselves as we think about these issues.