You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery. But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. (Matthew 5:27-29)
When the pastor spoke these words on Sunday, I didn’t give it much thought at first. If I’m going to be completely open, my mind wandered a bit…actually a lot. The sermon didn’t “speak” to me and I felt restless and unfocused in general that day. I don’t know, I always imagine these verses being ones that a wife throws at her husband when his eyes wander or she’s feeling insecure. So, I guess maybe that had something to do with my lack of paying attention as well.
Sunday evening, Matt and I watched a show. There was a young lady who was getting a bit too cozy with a married man. She got caught by some of her family members. Her excuse was that this man loved her and that his wife was dreadful to be married to. The young lady’s witty grandma rolled her eyes and said something along the lines of, “Yes, that is what they always say. My wife is dreadful.” I chuckled and then got to thinking how naive women can be to fall for that. More than likely, the wife is not dreadful and if she is it is because she knows or suspects what her husband is up to. Who the heck is going to be loving toward a man sneaking behind their back?
After the show I really got to thinking. I remember as a teen wanting to have a summer job. There was one particular place that I had in mind. It was a hot dog stand. The idea of working outside, taking orders, and bringing people food to their cars seemed fun. It was definitely better than being cooped up inside a mall store all day. I loved being outside, still do. So, I asked my parents if I could apply for a job there. My dad immediately said no. More specifically he (bluntly) told me that he would not allow me to work at a place where girls have to wear short shorts and serve boys and men who wait and watch for them to walk past so they can stare at their bodies. At first I got irritated. Then, I realized he was right and I also felt lucky to have a dad who wanted more for me than to be an object.
After that, I remember noticing how uncomfortable it was when a boy or man stared at me. I’m not talking glancing, I’m talking staring. This verse never came to mind back then, but it does now. I think that is why the Me Too Movement grew so big and fast. All women have stories to tell. Some are horrible stories of rape or assault. Some are harassment and close calls. But yes, even being looked at with lustful eyes counts. I know how violated I’ve felt for being looked at this way.
It is wrong for women to encourage it too though. I may get some criticism for saying this, but it is true. I’m glad I had a dad who taught me that. It tends to be more gray because it reaches inside the personal intentions of each woman. The key is learning to find strength and beauty in our minds more than our bodies. You know, instead of trying to gain attention from men in such a way where we end up losing anyway. If you have that mindset, you naturally behave and carry yourself differently.
As a mom of boys, I want them to know these things. We are living in a time where women are standing up to things we were raised to be desensitized to and I love that. I will raise my sons to be respectful of women, but I want them to be respected too. I will raise them to know what the word no means, and that they can and should use the word too. In other words, I will do everything I can to raise real men (with my husband’s help, of course).