April 12, 2024

But It’s Not My Problem!

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.

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3 thoughts on “But It’s Not My Problem!

  1. What about men and modesty? Men can (and do) cause women to stumble just as easily as women do the same for men. Why does no one tell men to be more modest? It may be socially acceptable for men to go without a shirt in public, but it sure isn’t modest.

  2. Amanda, you raise a really good point. And I think that you picked a great place to start– there are some things that draw attention to the male form (bicycle pants anyone?) that are certainly not modest.

    I guess, in general, we stereotypically think guys looking to lust rather than girls, but you’d know better than I if that’s true. To some extent, I think it’s ingrained, and yet it’s probably also learned.

    Thanks for pointing this out. I may have to do a follow up!

  3. Okay, about to open a can of worms ;-).

    MinTheGap, I agree that bicycle pants or other clothing that calls attention to a guys genitalia is probably not a good example for Christ. I also agree that if a man knows that not wearing his shirt around a certain female causes her to stumble, by all means he should avoid doing so. This is scriptural as is evidenced by the passages cited above.

    At the same time I think we also need to be extremely careful about coming to conclusions that “Since the bible says that females should do this, clearly males also should”. There are a lot of passages directed to females on what they should wear. There are not so many passages that talk about what a male should wear (The only thing that comes to mind is not dressing in the likeness of a female).

    Why is this? Is it because God doesn’t care and therefore males should be allowed to walk around barely clothed? I don’t think so. At the same time we must remember that while male and female were created equal, we were created differently. Today’s society is forever trying to tell us we are all the same. This is a lie from the enemy.

    As a result of these differences what stumbles us is different. From the beginning one of man’s weaknesses was the woman. This is not to say that a woman can’t lust after a man, clearly she can. At the same time when you look through the bible you see many warnings about males lusting after females. I do not know of any passage that warns of females lusting after males.

    Is there significance in the fact there is a lot of directions to females on what they should wear AND there is a lot of direction to males about being careful of lusting, but there are not instructions the opposite way? I think so. This is not to say that either sex should dress in a fashion as to attempt to illicit a sexual thought from the other gender. At the same time I think that the level at which males and females are called to be careful is different.

    E.G. I think its perfectly appropriate for a bunch of guys to play shirts and skins in a place where they might be seen by a female. I would not say it was appropriate for a female to play in a sports bra in a place where they might be seen by a male.

    I’m tempted to take this a step further and state its probably not appropriate for a female to play in a sports bra in a public place even if there was no chance of a male audience. Why this last bit? Because while it can be inferred that a woman’s modest dress if for the male, nowhere is there a command of simply “while you are around men”. I think there is a demeanor of a godly woman that is to be carried regardless of the gender of the audience. This last bit is definitely a grey area.

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