“I have made a covenant with my eyes; Why then should I look upon a young woman?"
When I was a sophomore in college I hung out one night with some Campus Crusade guys at the unofficial Crusade house. That is to say, where four or five "leadership" guys lived a few blocks north of campus. We watched a game, and when it was over, as we talked, the TV stayed on and went into news. At one point, while we were all only vaguely looking at the TV, the camera flashed to a reporter speaking to a generously endowed woman in a bikini top. We were in mixed company. All the males in the room (except me, because I hadn't gotten the C.C. memo), acting in culturally inculcated concert, yelled "Oh!" very loudly, like the kind of "Oh!" you yell when someone gets dunked on, but with a despairing tinge. Maybe the "Oh!" when you see someone on TV get hit by a car. They all simultaneously turned their heads to the side and ostentatiously covered their eyes. I can't remember if any of them said "Is it over yet?", but I imagine someone must have. And lo, I thought to myself, What a bunch of douchebags. I didn't hang out with them again.
There had been immodesty there that night. Sure, there was immodesty on the TV, but even before I'd had a chance to register it, the room had exploded in a spasm of immodesty. I was a nineteen-year-old male. I had plenty of sexual struggles, as many who knew me then would be able to attest, if you were immodest enough to ask. But I don't think I would have had any trouble with a chick in a bikini on TV. And I don't mean that I
For the record, I've never lusted after that particular pair, but that's got to be the only set of bikini breasts I can still vividly remember from that time. And I lived in Florida, so that's saying something. Thanks, C.C. guys.
Reactions like that make it clear. We blame women for our struggles with sexual sin. Drawing attention like that sent the message: "Look what she's doing to me! I am pure, but she tries to make me unclean!"
It's time for Christian men to stop having immodest reactions to immodesty. Yes, female immodesty is a real thing, the Bible makes that clear. And women have responsibilities when it comes to modesty. But I believe it does you no good to think overmuch on that. After all...
1. Your purity is your responsibility.
Does that mean you can do it on your own? No, but by the grace of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit. Nevertheless, we are talking about your house, your responsibility. Why am I emphasizing this? Because too many men blame women for their struggles with lust, even to the point of anger.
Many men who blame others for their lust have an unreasonable idea of what modesty is, because their lust is overmastering them. The smallest details can set them off. Make no mistake, sexual lust is entwined with anger and violence. If you are struggling, you are not going to be reasonable about women and their carriage.
|"If you are struggling, you are not going to be reasonable"|
A note passed from one student to another at Mormon BYU.
If you'd like to see what she was wearing, click here.
Now, your Lord has already condescended to live in your house. But you know you should present your very best work, as a child might to his father. So you work hard and plan out all the details. And then on your big work day all those women God put around you don't show up to help you build the house. And they said they would! They're supposed to be modest and they're not so now I can't build my house!
That's silly. It's your house; it's your body that's a temple. You build, by God's help. Leave it at that.
In Matthew 18, Jesus curses those by whom temptation comes. And immediately afterwards tells us that if our own eye cause us to sin, we should tear it out. Your purity is your responsibility, just as your eye is your own. Let the other woes work themselves out. "Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble.1"
2. You should be married already/you should be working on your marriage.
Yes, I understand that this part of the post will not be relevant to all the seventeen-year-olds who read my blog. Sorry about that.
For everyone else, you have better things to do than think about how other women are dressing. You should be married already. Or you should be working on your marriage. There is more than enough there to occupy your full attention.
I have heard Christian men talking about the immodestly of women on dating websites. You know: come-hither looks, posteriors and pouted lips, etc. Maybe even crosses displayed 'twixt their breasts! But how do men find themselves on dating websites? By missing opportunities in their youth.
Most men should not get very far into adulthood before marrying. And that's not just in avoidance of sin. Wives makes us better. We don't delay in starting our careers (usually). We shouldn't delay in finding a helpmeet suitable to us. If you are a Christian old enough to classify as "bachelor" and not just "single", and you want to be married, you are the problem. You are the reason you're not married. I say this knowing godly men who married late. If it wasn't a problem of sin, it was an error of judgment. I said it once before, but it bears repeating: if it wasn't a problem of sin, it was an error of judgment. Women want to marry. I have great sympathy for spinsters; they keep running into bachelors, and bachelors don't have their acts together.
All of this to say, marriage and wives are a great help to men in every arena, and especially sexually. In fact, they are our sexual fulfillment. Dilly-dallying is unacceptable, especially if you're complaining about how all the immodesty around you is bringing you down. Stand up, man, and gird your loins with armor of wife!
Once you're married, of course, you find that your wife can't magically keep you pure, although the atmosphere is certainly more conducive. I'll keep this bit short, since I went long on my anti-bachelor bit. Quick check: you got angry at your wife today; did you look at porn yesterday?
There are serious problems with lust that can require direct address and massive interventions; that is clearly understood. Putting those aside, and moving into the realm of daily struggles, married men ought to concern themselves less with the negative efforts of combating lust, and more to the positive work of tending to one's wife. Yes, there are sexual struggles in marriage, but whenever lust rears its head, husbands ought to think "tend to thy wife!"
And a quick return to responsibility: it is neither the dating profile's, nor the check-out girl's, nor your girlfriend's, nor your wife's fault you are struggling with lust. It is yours.
3. Your anger is unbecoming, you slut.
Look, dude. You're a man-whore. “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away.2"
She can't see your raging sexual sin, but you can see hers. Perhaps you're both virgins, but you both struggle with sexual sin. So she dresses immodestly while you fap in your basement. You are an adulterer, sir. Your anger is unbecoming. Those of us who know you well think it's ridiculous.
You blame her for your lust. People blame when they're angry. Think I'm getting all new age on you? If you look up the origin of "blaspheme" in the dictionary, it will say "Middle English blasfemen, from Late Latin blasphemare — more at blame." Blame comes from blaspheme, and the roots of the word blaspheme mean "injuring talk". We blame when we're angry. It would be embarrassing if we had to refer to the work of that devil Freud and talk about anger transference, wouldn't it? Do we think immodest women embarrass Christ and his Church? How well we play into anti-Christian narratives when we blame women for our own sin. Therefore be angry and do not sin, do not let the sun go down on your anger, give no opportunity to the devil.
When it comes to your lust you are the one to blame. Proverbs alone gave you all you needed to avoid the pitfalls. But you failed, of course. So don't turn on your sister. Turn to Jesus.