By, Isam Itson III
Genesis 2:18 – Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”
When I see the word helper, I think of someone who does the things that I don’t like to do but are necessary for my life (like yard work). Sometimes I think of someone who can help me accomplish a task I can’t complete on my own, like lifting something heavy or unloading a large amount of cargo. However, the word translated as helper in Genesis chapter two usually refers to military support, without which we would be doomed. In the Bible, this word is typically used for military forces or to describe God himself. Only in this passage is it used positively to describe a lone human. It carries the weight of action that is beyond one’s own ability. This helper is a heroic savior, rescuer, or champion; this helper forms an integral part of our identity. Without them, our ability to survive or thrive is impossible. Their strength and wisdom is so much greater than ours and their love and compassion is essential to our success and well being.
In our day, this type of helper is more like having a close family member or friend who is a doctor, lawyer, wealthy business person, or well-connected government official. This is someone who can help us overcome crises that would otherwise overwhelm us. This person knows more than we do and can do more than we can. They offer us real hope and help in the face of adversity. Their promise of assistance calms our mind and relieves our fear and anxiety. This is the type of help God said the man needed in order to live successfully. This is the type of person God intended the woman to be to the man, and he meant for the man to value her as such. In doing so, the man also became the woman’s helper. Our honor and value is meant to be mutual.
And when the man saw the person that God had drawn out of his side he said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.” The man and woman were naked, but not afraid of each other or God. They lived without fear of rejection or humiliation. They knew they were loved unconditionally. So they were free to work together in perfect harmony and to enjoy their relationship with each other, as God intended.
This one relationship is the seed of all human relationships. This is who we are meant to be for one another as spouses, relatives, friends, and neighbors. We are supposed to see each other as essential to our lives. I am supposed to see you as an integral part of myself. And you are meant to see me in the same way. Most significantly, when we honor our essential unity, we don’t have to be afraid to reveal our weaknesses or limitations to one another. We will consider each other’s needs as we make our decisions. We will make ourselves available to serve and provide help for one another in the same way that God serves and provides help for us.
At our best, we are considerate, compassionate, grateful, and faithful in relationship to one another. This is the type of relationship and community we long for; this is the type of relationship and community we were made for.
1. What comes to mind when you see the word “helper”?
2. Think of someone who has helped you in a significant way. What actions can you take from that situation and apply to your relationships?
3. How much differently would you live if you loved the people in your life (spouses, friends, neighbors, relatives, etc) unconditionally and they loved you the same?