November 30th, 2017 – Atlanta, Georgia
Introduction by John Winstanley – Fort Safety CEO and Speaker:
Todays blog post was written by Dr. Carter McInnis, lead pastor of Barrow Community Church in Auburn, Georgia – whose calling is to be “A Place for all People “. Carter articulates what many of us are feeling, but are unable to put it in words. We have created a culture where women are objectified and used for visual pleasure…even if that woman is someone’s wife, daughter, sister,…etc.
In one of my presentations, I share an event that happened to me at a local Wal-Mart where I witnessed two men making obscene gestures and comments about my wife – not knowing that her husband was right behind them. I felt violated, robbed. ” Don’t look at my wife that way….” It made me realize that this is how God feels about it when (not if…we’ve all done it) we lust over someone who is not our wife or husband. He says ” Don’t look at her that way, that’s my daughter/son…”
This conversation needs to continue. It doesn’t stop with Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Louis C.K., Bill O’Reilly, Charlie Rose, Matt Lauer….
After the news with Matt Lauer, a few thoughts on an issue that is important to me and our world…
I don’t remember how old I was, maybe 8 or 10. I just remember the feeling. A scantily dressed and attractive young woman was bending over a few feet away, her backside up in the air, pointed at everyone. The older gentleman beside me tapped my arm, pointed her way and said, “Take a look at that.” There was a part of me that knew I shouldn’t. There was another part that wanted to.
Whether we meant to or not, this is the culture of objectify women we all created. We created the porn industry, that dampened our sensors to what is right and wrong. We created a world in which whistling and catcalling women on the street is a punchline in sitcoms. We created a culture in which otherwise God-fearing, married men say things like, “Just because I’ve already eaten doesn’t mean I can’t look at the menu” when talking about ogling a beautiful woman.
We didn’t raise sexual predators
We didn’t raise sexual predators. I really don’t believe that. But we never tried to be holy. In fact, holiness meant you were a prude. This culture where the lines of what is acceptable sexual behavior (particularly for men) is more evident now than ever before. Weekly, we are hearing of another actor, politician, and most recently, a beloved TV personality who acted inappropriately toward a woman or women. My hunch is that much of the problem is that we passed what is appropriate a long time ago, and without those boundaries, more of men’s base instincts took over. It should almost go without saying that in all the cases that have come to light recently, we need to be careful to inject blame when the possibility remains that some of these men are innocent. People do lie to hurt others. People also hurt others. There are enough women sharing “Me, too” to warn us all that this is a pervasive problem in our culture.
Something about this culture we’ve created has never sat right with me. It’s not the way I wanted to be as a man. In college, I met a group of mostly seniors who loved Jesus, had godly relationships with their girlfriends, and sought out a kind of purity I’d frankly only heard about, but never seen. I will confess that I haven’t perfected this lifestyle of holiness and purity as it pertains to women, but I have worked very hard to be my best for the sake of my heart and my marriage to my incredible wife. For the women who were hurt by any of these famous people, I’m so sorry you went through this. For the women who have been hurt by people that weren’t famous, and some of them even family, I’m so sorry. I want to try and help men in a culture that has normalized sexualizing and objectify women. Here are some things that have been and continue to be important to me.
1. What your eyes see gets in your head and heart. One of those guys in my college Bible Study would flip over any magazine in a dorm room (like a weightlifting magazine) that had an attractive woman on the front. What your eyes see on TV, movies, and the internet shape our reality. If we see things repeatedly that treat women as objects, we begin to objectify women. Porn will rot your soul. It will ruin your relationship with your wife and tarnish the way you were meant to see women and sex. But soft core porn is everywhere. Be careful what you see. Jesus said lusting in your heart is the same as adultery. I always took Him at face value with that statement. I don’t want to do either.
2. Work hard at it. You can’t get away from everyday life. There will be attractive women around. Work hard not to stare at them. Look the other way. Don’t take the second look. Your eyes are reserved for your wife (or future wife). Make her the apple of your eye. Don’t diminish how you see her because you can’t stop looking at other women. If you don’t work hard at this, it will deaden your senses. You’ll begin to think you have the right to stare. You’re one step closer to thinking you have the right to touch. On your computer, if you have to, put of firewalls to keep you away from pornography. Work hard at it. It’s too important.
3. Boundaries. Boundaries. Boundaries. It’s almost a joke in our church. I won’t meet with a woman alone. We’ll need to meet in a public place. I’ll stand outside and talk with someone rather than go into an empty building together. I tell my wife if I felt like I checked another woman out. I mostly offer the patented “Side Hug” to other women in church. If another woman touches my arm or says something flirtatious, my wife is the first to know, and I stop hanging around that woman. You see, I want to value women and honor my wife, so I set up boundaries on the front end. I don’t want to get into situations where: A ) I have let my guard down and might be vulnerable to make a huge mistake B ) hormones take over or C ) I can be falsely accused because there are no other witnesses.
We are in a crisis right now where left and right it is coming to light that men have forced themselves on women. It’s not because they weren’t told not to. It’s because before that they weren’t told to not touch them. And before that they weren’t told not to say that vulgar thing to them. And before that they weren’t told not to stare at them. And before that they weren’t told not to stare at any of them. And before that they weren’t told they were wrong for even thinking that they should stare at them. And that’s how you create a culture. All men aren’t like this. And if you’re not, it’s probably because you worked hard not to be that way. And someone taught you better. We can’t fix this damage, but let’s teach our boys better.