In Genesis, we see that God made women and men in his image. Made in the image of a relational God, people are inherently relational. Relationships are not incidental to work; they are essential. In Genesis 2, God says, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner.” When God calls Eve a “helper,” he is not saying she will be Adam’s inferior or that her work will be less important, less creative, less anything, than his. The word translated as “helper” here (Hebrew ezer) is a word used elsewhere in the Old Testament to refer to God himself: “God is my helper [ezer]” (Psalm 54:4); “Lord, be my helper [ezer]” (Ps. 30:10).
But then we come to Genesis 3. By choosing to disobey God, Adam and Eve break the relationships inherent in their own being. First, their relationship together—previously "bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh," (Gen. 2:23)—is driven apart, and they hide from each other under the cover of fig leaves (Gen. 3:7). Next to go is their relationship with God; they no longer talk with him in the evening breeze, but hide themselves from his presence (Gen. 3:8).
Adam's and Eve’s decisions that day had disastrous results that stretch all the way to the modern workplace. Sinful people treat others unjustly. Both men and women may suffer unjust treatment in the workplace and feel powerless to change their circumstances. Women especially may suffer because of sexual harassment, lower earnings than their male counterparts, negatively biased assessments of their leadership abilities and performance, and damaging stereotypes.
God is aware of the evil that exists in human hearts. He routinely uses human instruments to challenge evil and its perpetrators. We must remember God’s desire for a world—and a workplace—where men and women can work together in harmony, as equal partners.
Today, reflect on ways you’ve seen sin and injustice play out in your workplace. Ask God if there are ways that you can join him in standing for justice.
Lord, when I am suffering, comfort me with your loving care. When I am standing up for myself and others, give me strength to stand and the words to speak. Amen.
For further exploration, read this article about Abigail, a character in the Old Testament.