Shift Your Perspectives

Maybe we need to set aside our biases and view Scripture with a different lens in order to see all of the faithful ones of God. By Justin and Courtney Rose

One of the foundational stories of our faith is the story of Abraham and Sarah, found in the book of Genesis. It’s a story about how God leads them out of their country, away from their land and family and into the land of Canaan. God promised Abraham that he would have as many offspring as there are stars in the sky. Yet, as time goes by, Abraham and Sarah were old, and growing older, and did not have any children of their own.

It is at this point in the story that many of us start to get a negative picture of Sarah. Sometimes, she gets painted as a grumpy, old lady whose faithfulness should be called into question. Unintentionally, Sarah is sometimes portrayed in the Church as a hindrance to Abraham and his pursuit of faithfully following after God.

For example, in Genesis 16, we see that as Sarah is growing older and still does not have any children, she then decides to give her maidservant, Hagar, as a wife to Abraham. Her thought process was, “the Lord has kept me from having children … perhaps I can build a family through her” (Genesis 16:2, NIV). Later in the chapter, we see that Sarah starts to “mistreat” the pregnant Hagar because Hagar originally started to “despise” her  (verse 4). Many of us think that it was the heartless Sarah who sent Hagar away when it was actually Hagar who chose to leave. 

Sarah gets a bad rap again in Genesis 18 when the Three Visitors tell Abraham that Sarah is going to conceive a child within the year, even though she is 90 years old. We are told that Sarah laughs to herself. Sometimes, people teach that her laughter meant that Sarah was unfaithful, yet she never is actually criticized for her laughter nor is she chastised for naming her child Isaac, which means “laughter.” Curiously, though we’re often taught to view Sarah’s laughter as negative, Abraham laughs at the same thing in Genesis 17. Yet when Abraham laughs, he doesn’t receive correction nor is it considered a lack of faith.

Our collective perception of Sarah is often negative, which is strange because Hebrew 11:11 (NIV) says that she, “who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered Him faithful who had made the promise.” The Scriptures praised her as a woman of faith rather than critiqued her as a woman of doubt who took things into her own hands. She is remembered as one who held on to the promises of God and chose to follow and obey.

One of the important parts of growing up and taking ownership of faith is reading the Scripture for yourself and discovering what it actually says. Sometimes faith communities perpetuate misunderstandings or interpretations that should be rethought. Why is Abraham’s faith praised and Sarah’s faith overlooked? Why do we talk at length about the patriarchs of the faith but overlook the matriarchs of the faith? Why is Abraham’s laugh unchecked but Sarah’s laugh critiqued? Maybe we need to set aside our biases and view Scripture with a different lens in order to see all of the faithful ones of God.

  • October 1:  Genesis 11:27-32
  • October 2:  Genesis 12:1-9
  • October 3:  Genesis 12:10-20
  • October 4:  Genesis 15
  • October 5:  Genesis 16
  • October 6:  Genesis 17:15-22
  • October 7:  Genesis 18:1-15
  • October 8:  Genesis 20
  • October 9:  Genesis 21:1-7
  • October 10:  Genesis 21:8-13
  • October 11:  Genesis 23
  • October 12:  Hebrews 11:8-12
  • October 13:  Psalm 126
  • October 14:  Proverbs 31:10-31
  • October 15:  Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
  • October 16:  Isaiah 51:1-3
  • October 17:  Romans 4:16-25
  • October 18:  Romans 9:6-13
  • October 19:  John 8:1-11
  • October 20:  Matthew 9:20-22
  • October 21:  Luke 10:25-37
  • October 22:  Genesis 3
  • October 23:  Genesis 4:25-26
  • October 24:  Genesis 24:15-27
  • October 25:  Genesis 26:34-27:29
  • October 26:  Genesis 27:41-46
  • October 27:  John 4:1-26
  • October 28:  Genesis 29:15-30
  • October 29:  Genesis 38:6-36
  • October 30:  Genesis 30:1-24
  • October 31:  Luke 1:26-38

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