A couple days ago, I shared with you about a new community project that Tamara is graciously putting together. This project is a book birthed in pain, feelings of worthlessness, and being used. A book about What a Woman is Worth. I’m grateful for Tamara’s authenticity that led to this project, and am glad to support her in this. But, this message is for the men, and my tone is for the men.
Before you read any further, you need to read Tamara’s story that served as the catalyst for this much needed project, otherwise anything I say after this will be without context, and confusing.
The conclusion of Tamara’s story brought me to my knees in tears of compassion, and of repentance. Words that express her deepest feelings when the shouts of men tell her that she’s “just a thing to f***,” and when the sneers of older women who have been hurt just as deeply by other men only look down on her, making her feel as though her troubles aren’t worth considering.
Men, the problem here isn’t the women. The problem here isn’t the way women dress. The problem isn’t that women are too aggressive, not at first anyway. The problem is the men.
The problem is the men who blatantly make sexual advances to women, making them feel small. The problem is the men who subtly only value women for their physical appearance. The problem is the junior high boys who only value the junior high girls who are “more developed,” and the fathers who don’t correct them with words and by example. The problem is the high school boys who only want to hang out with the cheerleaders, and the boys who let the seemingly outcast girls do too much to gain approval, which only makes them feel all the more ashamed. The problem is the men who stare at women walking into the local bar or coffee shop, men who don’t look deeper than the skin exposed by women desperate for acceptance. The problem is the young men, and older men, whose lives are ruled by porn, making them see real women as nothing more than bad porn.
Ephesians 5:25-27 ESV
25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
Paul gives the men a tall order in this text. Love as Christ loves, giving sacrificially for her. Now, it might be reaching a bit with this text, but I believe that the Spirit, through Paul, gave us this command because part of the created order is for men to echo to the women the affection God has for mankind as a whole, and women specifically. So, when we treat them as nothing more than sex objects, we’re conveying a lesser value than what God holds, but it rings so loudly in their minds and hearts because we are, by design, supposed to convey the value that God sees in them as His creation in general, and as His daughters for those who are in Christ.
Of course, we treat women this way because we are broken too. Broken by The Fall. Broken by a culture immersed in viewing sex as a god and porn as the norm. The problem is that we are sinful to the core, and need to be freed from that enslavement, as much as the women need to be freed from the enslavement of a false sense of worth. I’m not offering excuses, we’re responsible, but we can’t change until we know the source that drives our actions. The source is sin. The source is selfishness. The source is idolatry.
The only solution I can offer to this problem is the one God Himself offers us: the grace of the gospel of Jesus. The only advice I can give is to pursue Christ until you find Him more beautiful than anything. To press into Scripture and prayer and beg God to change what you can’t change, your very nature as a sinner. And keep doing it. It’s not a one time prayer for salvation. It’s a continuous prayer for sanctification, a continual petition for God to make us more like Jesus. Get into community with older Godly men, who treat women well, and follow them and their counsel on how to treat women. That may mean not dating anyone for a while, until these Godly men feel you’re ready to treat a woman well. It’s tough, but deal with it. Better to be single and work through loneliness than risk damaging the heart of one of God’s creation, of one of God’s daughters.
To the women:
I cannot expect, but only ask that as we seek God for the grace and strength to treat you better, that you seek God for the grace and strength to forgive us, for your good, as well as ours. I’m not saying put up with it, but forgive as you’ve been forgiven. And it takes time, and that’s ok.