Yeah, this one is directed mainly at the guys. We have a serious problem with laying our issues off on others in regard to the carnal nature. Are we so weak that we are blaming women for being attractive and stimulating our hormones? Have we given up on the concept of self-control?
I’ve heard this issue come up in the church on several occasions. As I recall, it arose in my church’s congregation a few years back. A person or group of people told someone in private after the service that they thought someone on stage was wearing inappropriate attire. Not ratty clothes, not irreverent t-shirts, but some female singer had on a dress that was a little “too short.” Some men commented that it was distracting for them. “We’re still men, after all,” they said.
Hold up, guys. Are we maybe projecting our short-comings as men onto people who aren’t at fault? Are we seriously going to blame an attractive woman for how we respond to seeing a little bit of leg? Is it truly inappropriate attire, or is it our inappropriate response? Should we start requiring them to wear hijabs and covering everything like Muslim women because we can’t control our own flesh?
Recognizing a Problem
Now, I don’t want to seem completely unsympathetic to a very real issue among many men today. There is indeed a problem in modern society with men being addicted to pornography. No one wants to talk about it, let alone acknowledge that it exists. It’s an embarrassing topic that most people avoid. There’s an inherent shame that’s involved among guys who struggle with it. It’s the dark secret they hide from their wives and families.
This plague of porn is more prevalent today because of modern technology. A man doesn’t have to go looking for it any longer. It’s constantly fed into our computers and smart phones and tablets. The advent of click-bait and the like is such that one inadvertent tap on a touch screen can instantly open up a sexually explicit site. The enemy has gotten really sneaky about thrusting garbage in our faces, and lots of men have fallen prey to it.
As leaders in the church, we do need to be wise about the issue. Anyone who holds a position of leadership – whether it’s a teacher or a worship leader or whatever – must guard against saying or doing things that might (even accidentally) lead someone astray. Modest attire on stage is definitely a wise choice, and there’s no argument about that. But as men of God, WE also must own up to our own faults.
What’s Really to Blame?
The young woman in the photo is wearing a dress that hits just below the thigh and right above the knee. Ask yourself why this is so distracting to you. I understand the struggles we have with our carnal nature. I’m well aware of the problem many men have with pornography. But calling this particular dress inappropriate just because of how we respond to the visual stimulus is a bit of a weak argument.
If we are content to blame a woman for being attractive rather than holding ourselves accountable for our own fleshly response to her, then we are being unfair and morally lazy. Worse yet, this allows an oppressive spirit to gain a foothold in our church. And that’s a door we don’t need to open.
While acknowledging church leadership’s responsibility to help guard against these problems by implementing certain standards for those in leadership roles, we must also acknowledge that this is a sinful nature issue. It’s not a crutch we men should allow ourselves to keep. What if you’re not in church? What if you see an attractive woman in revealing clothes at the grocery store? Are you guilty of indulging your carnal imagination in public, only seeing it as a problem when you’re in God’s house? At some point, guys, we gotta man up.
Being Men of God
There is something deeper going on, dudes. If you are easily distracted by an attractive woman to the point that it causes you to have these kinds of fleshly feelings, the problem is in YOU. Own it, and pray about it. As men of God, we have to assume responsibility for our own sinful tendencies. And projecting our skewed sense of “appropriateness” on others is condescending and completely un-Christian. Further, it plays right into the hands of the enemy. Don’t fall for this trick, guys, which satan will use to divide and destroy the church.
Should we have standards? Yes, of course. And we certainly do. But what we must guard against is allowing our personal issues to dictate terms for other people. This is exactly why the world doesn’t want to hear our witness. They see us as coming from a position of being self-righteous and trying to force them to fall in line with our sense of morality.
What Should Be Our Attitude?
14 For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died;
15 and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.
16 Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer.
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.2 Corinthians 5 [NKJV]
Men – We are no longer to regard people according to the flesh. We are supposed to be a new creation in Christ. If we’re still succumbing to the flesh, WE are the ones who need to seek God’s help in this. Yes, that means we have to stop using the excuse that “we’re still men” like a crutch. Yes, we’re human. Yes, we have flaws. We aren’t perfect yet. But we are allowing God to perfect us, aren’t we? Self-control is still within the realm of possibility, right? If we are letting Christ guide us, anything is possible!
This is about our own spiritual maturity, not so-and-so’s dress. It’s about us still drinking milk when we should already be eating solid food. We gotta stop blaming others for OUR faults, gentlemen. It’s time to grow up, man up, and kick this bad habit to the curb. No more excuses!
One Final Thought
Did this rebuke seem a bit harsh to you? If so, just imagine how harsh it might seem to the young woman on stage who’s only intent was to sacrifice her time and talent to give praise to God. Suppose she’s rebuked for her attire. How well do you really think that will go? The Bible tells us that we need to be wise as serpents but gentle as doves. (Matthew 10:16) Recognize this situation as a trap of the enemy, and treat it accordingly.