Wrestling is huge in Iowa. It is like football in Texas. Winning a state championship in wrestling is a great accomplishment. This is why it was so refreshing to read the story of a High School Sophomore yesterday.
Joel Northrup was one of the favorites to win his weight class. He was 35-4 on the season. When it came time for his first match, it was expected that he would win. Joel, though, refused to wrestle. It wasn’t because of intimidation. He wasn’t injured. Instead, Joel made a decision based on conviction.
In Iowa girls are allowed to wrestle. Since there is no girls’ league, girls wrestle against guys. Joel’s first round opponent was a girl. He refused to wrestle. His response
I have a tremendous amount of respect for Cassy and Megan and their accomplishments. However, wrestling is a combat sport and it can get violent at times. As a matter of conscience and my faith I do not believe that it is appropriate for a boy to engage a girl in this manner. It is unfortunate that I have been placed in a situation not seen in most other high school sports in Iowa.
The young man would not fight a girl. He was convicted that he could not do so.
The blurring of the gender lines and roles is a serious problem. God created male and female. He intended them for different purposes and made them accordingly. These differences are not a matter of one having greater intelligence or value. Instead, it was a part of God’s plan.
One of the fundamental differences between men and women is physical build. It is true that women are the weaker vessel (1 Peter 3:7). Peter argues that this fact means they are to be treated with a respect that appreciates this truth.
There are two important truths we should take away from this story. One is we should praise and be inspired by the young man for standing on conviction. It caused him a chance to win a state title, but his faith was more important.
Two, we need to realize and accept the differences between men and women. We should fight to make sure both sexes are treated equally, but that does not mean that we do not recognize differences. Being treated equally does not mean we all do the same activities or have the same roles. Honoring God’s image within all humanity, means honoring the fact that God has created us differently. Not everything a man does is acceptable for a woman to do. Not everything a woman does is acceptable for a man to do. Instead, we recognize God created us different, and we celebrate those differences, not attempt to remove them.