The UK has been shocked by the recent story of a young woman who was abducted and murdered by an off-duty police officer. In the aftermath of Sarah Everard’s tragic death, women across the nation are asking men if we can do more to ensure their emotional well-being and their physical security.
Perhaps this is a good time for Christian men to be thinking about the particular contribution that we can make. All of us have made mistakes in our relationships and interactions with females. What I present here is not the sermon of a saint, but rather the confession of a sinner who has found mercy at the feet of Jesus. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, I believe that we can all do better.
Here are my thoughts:
1. Let’s be attentive to the “creepy” factor.
We all know that women have eyes in the back of their heads. We might be in our car, in the Tube, behind them on the sidewalk, or across the street - but they know when we’re looking at them. So let’s be attentive to what the Scriptures say about the way we use our eyes:
“Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure.” Prov 4:25-26
2. Never use your physical strength against a woman.
Peter calls us to treat women as “fragile vessels” (1 Peter 3:6). We know that women are not inferior to us in any way, but we often do have a physical advantage over them. We can use our physical strength to protect women, but we must never be in the place of the aggressor.
3. Don’t lust.
In some Christian circles that I’ve been part of, a burden is placed on women to dress modestly so that they don’t become “stumbling blocks” for the men. Well, if our holiness is somehow dependent on the choices made by others, then we’re in trouble gentlemen. We can’t blame women for our own lack of self-control. We don’t live in a Christian bubble, and we can’t control the way the women we encounter every day choose to dress. So deal with it!
“But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:28
4. No Place for Porn
Pornography is all around us, and for many people in our society (sometimes even Christians), using pornography has been tacitly accepted as an unsavory, but perhaps unavoidable part of our manhood. What we have to remember is that every form of pornography objectifies and degrades women. The porn industry is built upon the exploitation and abuse of women. It hurts them, and it hurts us. There should be no place for porn in our lives.
“For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God.” 1 Thess 4:3-5
Let’s open up the dialogue. I would love to hear more thoughts on this timely and important issue.