The past few months has seen a lot of men and women have been publicly outed about ways that they have harassed others sexually or verbally. Lives have been turned upside down from these allegations, some of which have happened decades ago.
Let me make this very clear, if someone has verbally or sexually (or any other way) harassed another human being, then that person has committed a sin. I do not condone that behavior. It is clearly not a behavior that would be condoned by the church or Christians.
But I want to tell you something. When it comes to sinful behavior, I am guilty.
The Bible clearly tells us:
Matthew 5:28 – But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
Adultery, fornication, and pornography are rampant throughout the church.
Humbly I tell you that it has been a few years since having an issue with anything, but that isn’t to say that I have conquered anything. It is only through the grace of God that I’ve overcome.
I’ve spent far too much time talking to men, both in the church and outside of it, who continue to struggle with the issue.
So, I say all that because I know, firsthand, the struggle men have with this.
Again, let me make this very clear, I will NEVER condone men’s actions in this. It is sinful. It separates the men from God’s intended testimony for their lives.
My friends who are more progressive would tell me it is up to the men to control their behaviors, and they wouldn’t be wrong.
But they also wouldn’t be right.
The men need to be held accountable for their actions. If they do something wrong, then they need to repent.
But women also have a responsibility to not intentionally cause men to stumble. (I realize this statement will not go over well, especially with my progressive friends).
You see, it works like this: God called us into relationship with Himself and each other. This happened in the Genesis story. When the Fall happened, the relationship was broken. Jesus came to reconcile that relationship. We are called again into relationship with God and each other.
With regard to “each other,” this means we need to support each other. Men should not be mentally, or physically, harassing anyone. Each woman is made in God’s image and deserves to be treated as such. And women should not be intentionally enticing men. The men are made in God’s image and deserve to be treated as such.
When the relationships continue to be broken, it is because the Gospel message is being ignored.
And it was never so clear as it is in the sexual realm.
Today over 27 million people around the world live in slavery. We tend to give it a cleaner name, “sex trafficking.”
Psalm 24:1 – The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein
While I am not an expert on the topic of ending slavery, the gospel is pretty clear about this. The world is the Lord’s, and everything in it. Many cultures do not believe that God created all people with dignity. Many other cultures, including Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist, do not hold women with value. Women are devalued.
Sex trafficking is also devaluing women. Once a woman is seen as less dignified or less worthy than a man, it is very easy to see the woman as an object and not a human being.
Unfortunately, many women take the wrong approach with creating value. They believe that that no matter how they dress or act, they are building value for themselves. But they aren’t. They are helping men to see them as objects to be used (even if just mentally) and then discarded.
If men and women do not take each other into account when interacting with each other, then objectifying becomes easy.
If women want to stop being objectified, then stop dressing like you want to be. Does that open women up for the possibility of being hurt by men’s actions? Of course, but so does being an object in men’s fantasies.
I have heard countless men tell me that pornography is a victimless crime. If the word “crime” is in phrase, then it is important to rethink your actions.
First, pornography adds to the objectifying of women. IT is very easy to turn on a website and look at a woman without her even knowing you are watching her. When she takes her clothing off and the guy gets his fantasies fulfilled, he has turned that woman into something less than human. He turned her into an object.
Next, imagine what it does to the relationships that man has. The women on the screen has several camera angles and can do multiple takes to get the scene perfect. Having sex with your wife is not perfect. Things don’t always go as planned. You don’t have several takes to get it right. The only angle you have to view her from is where your eyes are.
Now let’s take this a step further.
Over a third of the women who are trafficked are used in pornography. In another study of 900 prostitutes, it found that over half have been trafficked. Men and women who indulge in pornography are creating the demand for more prostitutes and, in turn, more sex trafficking.
Philippians 2:7-8- but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
When one goes to a college campus, the activist groups that have the largest attendance are those that fight slavery. But on those same college campuses over 90% of men and 30% of women are viewing porn. On Christian campuses and seminaries 80% have viewed it with over 60% viewing it weekly!!! It doesn’t matter how many red “X” we put on our hands if those same hands are getting off to pornography!
Fighting slavery begins with believing and applying the gospel. We are made in God’s image and to be esteemed and never enslaved. In the gospel , God takes slavery, a clear product of sin in the world, and turns it around to show a powerful image of His salvation for the world. The root word here, doulos, is a word used to talk about slaves that had masters. Quite literally those passages mean that Jesus became a slave of humanity to save humanity. When you read these words, it makes more sense to read in John 13 when Jesus tied a towel around his waist, knelt, and washed the disciples feet.
Mark 10:45 – For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
The Christian gospel does not depict God as Master doling out a list of demands for men and women to do as slaves in order to appease him. Rather the gospel depicts God as a Master who says, “I will meet you where you are, in the depth of your sin and suffering, and I will save you. I will restore you. I will redeem you – I will purchase you by the sacrifice of my life – so that one day you will be free from all this pain, sin, and suffering.”
For Christians, it is the portrait of Christ in the gospel that compels us to fight for the detonation and destruction of slavery in the world. He is the pursuing Savior and, as men and women who identify with Him, we must pursue the enslaved. We cannot be silent and we must not be still. We don’t have that choice. We are compelled to pray, to give, and to work to see all slaves freed. To fight in all these ways with the truth of the gospel on our minds, the power of the gospel in our hearts, and the love of the gospel in our hands.