It’s inevitable. Whenever a conversation is started and modesty is brought up– especially if women are told to cover up– some lady will say something like “It’s not my problem if he is lusting after me. After all, I can’t control his mind!”
However, we must keep in mind that we’re not only responsible for ourselves, we’re responsible for others. I mean, central to the whole Christian theme is Christ’s command to love one another. How can we love one another if we are not concerned with how what we do effects other people? And if Christ can say that looking on a woman to lust is sin, and we don’t want our brothers to sin, then we should do our part to prevent the opportunity to sin– and I think that’s the key.
Three other passages talk to us about the duty we have to our brothers and sisters:
Cain and Able
Genesis 4:9 – And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?
Cain was caught red handed. He had just killed his brother because God preferred the offering that obeyed His commands rather than just bringing the best of whatever was available. So, the first murderer tries to shirk his responsibility by saying that it wasn’t “my turn to watch him” and hoping to absolve himself from the responsibility.
The only problem was that God knew what had happened, and he also knew that Cain should have been concerned about his brother. So, the answer to the question is yes, Cain. You are. You were the oldest. You also knew about his offering, so you were aware of him and responsible for those things that you were aware of.
Stronger and Weaker Brother
Romans 14:15 – But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.
Paul is in the middle of a brilliant discourse on freedom in Christ. He it talking to the Romans about how, under Christ, we are at liberty not to be under the ceremonial law, how we can eat meat that has been offered to idols, and how we don’t have reverence certain days– but there is a catch. We must do everything to the glory of God. So, if we can’t eat that meat and give glory to God, then we should not eat it to the glory of God. Get it?
What’s important in this passage, though, is the dynamic between those that believe that they can eat meat and those that do not. It would be the same as some of the more modern dilemmas– should Christians go to movie theaters? Should they go to the video store? Should they own a television? I can find people that believe all of these are scriptural principles and believe that they are glorifying God by their abstinence. But what should we do if we are less strict?
Paul says that we should not put a stumbling block in front of our brother. So, in other words, if my brother believes that he shouldn’t go to a movie theater, I shouldn’t take his wife and him out to dinner, and then drive over to the theater with purchased tickets and try to talk him into going inside. That doesn’t mean that I should forsake everything because someone might have a problem with it, but it does mean that I should be paying attention to the standards and principles that people have and make sure that I do not intentionally present them with opportunities to violate their conscience.
And for those that are weaker, they should not judge the stronger for those things that fall outside of the clear boundaries of Scripture.
Bear One Another’s Burdens
Galatians 6:2 – Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
Simply, how can we bear one another’s burdens if we do not know what they are? If we’re not involved in someone’s life, how can we fulfill this command?
So, How Does This Apply?
Simply put, ladies, it is your problem because you are to be concerned about what is going through the mind of the Christian brothers that are around you. However, men, don’t think you’re getting off easy. You see, we are also responsible for what we see, and how we look at the ladies around us.
We’ve been teaching my children the song “Oh Be Careful” and as you know, the first verse is talking about your eyes. Men, in a highly sexualized culture, we must be careful about what we look at. We need to make sure that what we allow ourselves to look at is something we should be looking at. You see, the more we see, the more desensitized we become to those that are around us. And the world definitely wants us to see the “ideal” look rather than the “real” look.
By constantly letting ourselves look at women’s bodies we are programming our mind to accept that– and to let our mind memorize or even visualize things we should not. Our Christian sisters can only do so much to help us guard against temptation. It is up to us as men to train ourselves to look away, to avoid places of temptation, and to encourage the women that we have influence in their lives to dress in a manner fitting the child of the King.