I have the incredible privilege to be part of a family in which virtually all are believers. We have different flavors and personalities and expressions, but our hearts all can agree on behalf of the pursuit of Christ and that is a beautiful thing. During no other time have I been more aware of the immense gift than during our first few hours of our recent family reunion. When made aware that a family member had been diagnosed with a serious disease we rallied together to pray for the healing right there in the restaurant. Some spoke in tongues, some didn’t, some prayed out loud and some didn’t, but no matter the outward expression she was loved through this act of faith.
Shortly afterwards however, my heart sank as a few of the guys, married and unmarried, were making jokes about going to Hooters, making comments about women’s body parts and the like. I was honestly taken aback at the ease of which the holy moment degraded into something utterly unworthy of the godly, radiant men I had partnered with a moment ago.
I left that dinner with an unsettled feeling in the pit of my stomach. It wouldn’t be until later that evening that I had time and seclusion enough to give language to my thoughts.
Why was it upsetting for me to overhear this? I wrestled with this a bit to really know, “Why? Why does this bother me and what is this I’m feeling?” After asking the Lord I realized that I felt incredibly saddened FOR them. Saddened that these men I love are trading their nobility and strength for a semblance of manhood.
When fully alive and redeemed real masculinity risks, wins the heart of a woman, protects, and then lays down his life to maintain that win. The beauty at Hooters deserves to be won. She deserves to be pursued with integrity and to be protected.. No matter the position she has put herself in or how she values herself the role of righteous men is to cover her. Over and over again in the scriptures the Lord asks Israel to protect the orphan and widow, to cover the exploited, to provide shelter to those in need.
The woman who offers her body in an unhealthy way is especially in need of covering, sheltering, and defense. She is acting as an orphan, unaware that she has intrinsic value and beauty.
The masculine heart was created to be noble, dangerous, and valiant. The Lord fashioned men to protect, to provide, and to offer their strength to women, not to use or exploit them for personal gain. As John Eldredge says in Wild at Heart, “he created Adam for adventure, battle, and beauty; He created us for a unique place in his story and he is committed to bringing us back to the original design.”
The moment a man reduces a woman’s body to something that solely is viewed to give him pleasure that is the moment he has relinquished his nobility and become unsafe. He has turned from the protector to the exploiter. This act of selfishness is utterly beneath him. Utterly beneath the character and divine nature that the Lord is determined to create within him.
Eldredge says it this way, “Most men want the maiden without any cost to themselves. They want all the joys of the beauty without any of the woes of the battle. This is the sinister nature of pornography-enjoying the woman at her expense. Pornography is what happens when a man insists of being energized by a woman; he uses her to get a feeling that he is a man. It is a false strength, as I’ve said, because it depends on an outside source rather than emanating from deep within his center. And it is the paragon of selfishness. he offers nothing and takes everything.”
“But you’re not addressing pornography!” you may say, “You’re talking about a joke or two! A mere shred of a comment which was meant to be lighthearted and fun. What’s you’re problem? Lighten up!” You may be writing me off at this point, saying to yourself that I’m just being sensational, dramatic, hyper vigilant and legalistic.
Maybe, but something has gone seriously awry in our society. Women are warned to protect themselves from those who should be their protectors. Listen, the “evil” men, the rapists and the stalkers and the otherwise honorable men who make sneaky comments objectifying women’s bodies are operating out of the same paradigm. A misogynistic paradigm.
“Agreement at any level is agreement at every level.” – Benjamin Nolot