Last week I read two posts on the internet that are about two subjects very close to my heart...child safety (here) and modesty (here). If you want to see me worked up and passionate, get me talking about these two things.
I actually find it rather ironic that I thought the modesty post hit the nail on the head. Because I hardly ever agree with anything that particular author writes. Which might be a bad sign...
Regardless, I thought both articles were two of the best things I have read online in a while.
Here's the point that has been bugging me about both subjects for a while (and which both authors touched on)...
Stop blaming the victim and stop protecting the guilty.
I am just going to come right out and say it-in the modesty debate, women are the victims. Not men.
In child safety...children are the victims. Not ministries and reputations.
For the sake of relative brevity, I will leave the child safety topic for another day and focus on modesty.
I am tired of being told (as a Christian woman) that I need to dress modestly in order not to stumble my brothers.
I am tired of being told (as a Christian woman) that if a man (other than my husband) is lusting after me, it is because I am dressing or acting inappropriately.
I am tired of being told (as a Christian woman) that I deserve to be lusted after or raped or whatever, because of how I dress or act. And yes, I have heard/read that-multiple times. That is flat out wrong. I deserve to be treated with respect and dignity-no matter how I dress and act-for the same reason that I'm not supposed to stumble a brother. Because we are created by the Almighty God.
I am tired of hearing and reading (as a Christian woman) that if I don't fulfill my husband's every desire that I may be causing him to stray. You have got to be kidding me!
I am tired of being burdened (as a Christian woman) with the onus of protecting men. Their eyes, their thoughts, their reputations.
There is truth in each of those positions. (not to stumble a weaker brother, to dress and act modesty, to live for the glory of God, to not forsake marital duty in order to not cause undo temptation) But, the whole truth is not being presented. This view is a bit backwards. On so many levels.
I get the idea behind the stumbling phrase. I am pretty sure most people are referencing Romans 14 when they quote that. Except Romans 14 is talking about food and holidays-it really isn't talking about lust and adultery and pornography and infidelity. They also neglect the other thought in that chapter of all living/dying to the Lord. God's glory is the ultimate aim.
So, lust is sin. Sin of any kind needs owned, confessed and repented of. Not blamed on someone else.
It doesn't matter if men are more wired to visual stimulation. It doesn't matter if they are more sexually whatever than women.
(which phrase really annoys me too. Because, believe it or not, women are sexual creatures also. And we do enjoy sex.)
Seriously, following along in this line of reasoning, I could say, oh I have a problem with my temper. I'm Irish. I was born with it. So, you'd better not tick me off, because you'd be stumbling me.
I'm sorry. That wouldn't hold water with anyone.
But, for some reason that seems to be a valid excuse for men.
I'm not impressed.
It really doesn't matter how I dress or act-if my temper can't be blamed on someone else's actions, why would we blame lust on how a girl dresses or acts?
No matter how a woman acts or dresses-you do not HAVE to lust after them. It is the difference between temptation and sinning.
I am responsible for my actions. You are responsible for yours.
Moving on...and dovetailing nicely....
Sex sells. And who is buying? Well, both women and men, but probably more men. If these sex filled advertisements and music videos and programs didn't sell, they'd be pulled. That is how advertising and marketing works.
It goes back to men taking responsibility for their own thoughts and choosing not to indulge or sin.
Is it that simple? Well, frankly, I haven't read any caveats in the Bible saying otherwise. Women aren't your problem. You are.
Just like my temper is my problem.
And about the victims protecting the offenders. That is warped. Who needs protecting? The weak. (interestingly enough, women are called the weaker vessel in 1 Peter-not men) The defenseless. The innocent.
Who's reputations need defending? The weak and defenseless and innocent. Really, your reputation isn't worth more than the character it is founded on. If you chose to act badly, you forfeited your right for a good reputation.
I'm not advocating destroying someone's reputation to destroy it, I'm saying-who should we be concerned about protecting? Not the guilty at the expense of the victim.
I'm also not advocating dressing immodestly. I do advocate dressing for the glory of God.
I'm advocating less blame and more owning up.
I'm advocating a mutual not stumbling of brothers (which is actually a term used in the Bible for both men and women)-women shouldn't try to stumble men by the way they dress and men shouldn't be stumbling women by placing a burden on them that God hasn't placed on them.
(and the whole subject of how women are being stumbled because of this whole topic in their sexuality and body image and Christianity would fill a whole other post, and then some.)
What do you think?