Before she learned to walk, my oldest daughter used to try to get up real close to the wood stove in our living room in order to touch the hot metal. She had a fascination with the stove that just would not quit. One day I realized that in order to help her learn what “hot” really meant I would have to let her touch the stove and get burned.
But, as a responsible parent does, I had to prepare in advance to mitigate any damage the stove might cause while still teaching the lessons she needed to learn. So in trying to protect my daughter from undue harm, I let the fire go out and from time to time tested the heat emanating from the metal to make certain it would not sear my daughter’s fingers when I actually let her yield to her desire to touch the thing.
As expected, when she did touch the stove, her finders got burned and by her tears and shrieks of pain, I knew she was hurting. As I plunged her fingers into the bowl of fresh snow I had waiting, we talked about the meaning of “hot.” While the tears flowed freely, I restated the message that the stove was a dangerous place for little girls.
A Real Revolution
In like manner God uses our own desires to teach us lessons that we will not learn in any other manner. Jer. 2:10 states: “Your own wickedness will correct you,
And your backslidings will rebuke you. Know therefore and see that it is an evil and bitter thing that you have forsaken the Lord your God, and the fear of Me is not in you,” says the Lord God of hosts.
In this passage we see that God is telling us that our own sinful past will catch up with us and that He will use our past to remove our errors in thinking and acting.
There has been a real upheaval associated with the Me-Too movement. Some have sought to create a scene with no real agenda other than to hurt as many men as they can before the positive drive and energy goes out of this crusade and it loses momentum.
Others have sought to ride this wave of exposure out of a genuine sense of a need to help men understand that it is essential for a change in how men treat women.
What has not been understood by most men in relation to Me-Too is that a real transformative revolution in thinking does indeed need to take place.
The reason that men have not, by and large, been able to grasp the need for change is that for change to occur, a man’s whole way of looking at women must have a total makeover.
Objects vs Human Beings
The tendency to objectify a woman is something that is not only taught, it is part of our sinful nature. We all have hereditary and cultivated tendencies to sin and this is one of those areas that is both—often without restraint—especially in our worldly-side multi-media heavy society (which, in a double standard stroke of genius, also likes to give the impression that we should keep these tendencies toward evil as secret as is humanly possible…unless we are exposing someone else’s faults).
Men tend to forget that women, as well as men, belong to God, both as beings He created and as being whom He thought enough about that He gave Jesus to be their Substitute. Jesus is not just a sacrifice given for men. Men often do not see the target of our desire as a daughter of God, bought and paid for.
Yes, we see this when we slow down and stop to think about it, but it is not naturally how men typically reason things out. Men, separated from Christ, cannot see women through the eyes of Jesus. This is impossible for a man to do without divine assistance.
Consider Gal 5:19-23: Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
It should be self-evident from these verses that a man separated from the workings of Jesus in the heart through the Holy Spirit cannot help but do the works of the flesh. The new covenant relationship that a man needs in order to properly respect the women in his life is absent in the unconverted soul. This is in no way an excuse; it is simply a biblical reality.
Now, to be fair, women also have the same problem. Men are objectified in the eyes of women. We are also hit upon, and treated as sexual objects—as a means to an end. Women often marry men for their money, for their ability to give the woman the material security she desires. This too is an evil thing that needs to change.
It would be well for a woman to learn these same lessons from the Bible because God is not a respecter of persons, male or female. The works of the flesh are neither gender specific nor are they gender exclusive.
We will always see the other as an object, a means to an end, unless we have died to self and are re-born with the mind of Jesus controlling every thought and action of the new Christian.
Any other perspective will be an utter failure of the Me-Too movement, a waste of time—another tool used by Satan to hurt those whom Jesus died to save.
Do Unto Others
So why do men attack women, thinking that it is okay to have sex with someone they do not love? And why do women seek to use sex to manipulate the men in their lives, climbing up the corporate/social ladder through the use of their bodies? Why do men think that financial reward or enhanced employment opportunities are an appropriate means of compensation for winning the use of the “graces that God gives a woman”? Why do we do these things to each other?
Let’s look at two more passages of Scripture: Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets (Matt 7:12). And Matt. 22:36-40: Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
We do not, indeed cannot, truly do unto others as we would want them to do to us when we are not following the principles Jesus has given us to live by. Nor can we love our neighbor as we love ourselves if we do not have the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit to renew our minds, to give us a heart of flesh (a heart that is sensitive to the emotional needs of others), instead of a heart of stone (a heart that is unmoved by another’s emotional needs), which we are all born with.
Given that we are instructed in these passages to follow a specific way of relating to each other, it would seem that our own way, part from the working of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, rules out our ability to follow the Golden Rule as well as the second most important law given in the entire Bible.
A New Kind of Justice
We must choose to live by the new covenant relationship in order for this to work, for us to stop hurting each other. We cannot just stand up and condemn men or women for their past errors; we must, as followers of Christ, model what Christian behavior is, and how this behavior begins with a whole new way of thinking, as Paul tells us: Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things (Phil. 4:8).
Yes, we want justice. We want to punish the one who hurt us. But John the beloved tells us of a new kind of faithfulness and justice: If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us (1John 1:8-10).
In the eyes of God, forgiving those who have sinned against us in an act of faithfulness and justice. Do we want justice as the world counts justice, or do we want God’s justice? His justice demands that we exercise compassionate love (see Matt. 18:21-33).
New Minds, New Hearts
We need a standard that all sides can agree on, that will address issues of hypocrisy in the hearts of both men and women. Jesus has already given is this standard, if we will accept it: “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matt 5:27-28).
In this standard is an important truth—sexual abuse begins in the heart.
So, to eliminate sexual abuse in the context of society at large, we all need a change of heart, a change in how we think.
We must recognize the hypocrisy that states that “I can wear anything I want. It’s not my fault that their mind went where it should not have when they saw how my body is revealed through this article of clothing. They are the one who has a problem. I and I alone get to choose what is modest for me to wear.”
Remember what the verses said. If I put on clothing that I know will entice another to lust after my body, am I not acting in a way that is purposefully in cooperation with the serpent of old, the devil? Do I not have a responsibility to my neighbor to treat him or her the way that I would like to be treated if our places were exchanged? If I put on this garment, am I exercising supreme love for God and loving my neighbor as I love myself?
Does this garment I want to wear, in this context, put on display the honor, authority, and character of God as expressed in the Bible, or is it a misrepresentation that would put another soul in danger just to please myself? Do I love God enough—do I love my neighbor enough—to refrain from something that would likely cause a weak soul to stumble, even if I believe it to be harmless to myself?
And men, to be fair, we cannot excuse our lust on the grounds that “if a woman did not want me to lust after her, she would not have dressed this way.” Where in the statements of Jesus is there room to indulge in lust just because the temptation is nearby?
Hedges of Protection
Although God can use the Me-Too movement to correct humans, we can also be destroyed by it. It can be taken to an extreme that leads to hatred in the heart.
And hatred causes us to objectify the person we hate. When we objectify another person, we put ourselves in the seat of the judge, and we in effect reject him or her as a creature of God.
Objectification lessens the humanity of the person being objectified, and is potentially an act of worship, in spite of our hatred of what they may have done to hurt us. Our pain, and desire to heap revenge upon the hated person becomes, in a sense, our god, our focus, a form of negative idolatry.
The Me-Too movement can become another form of idolatry if we do not choose to allow God to control our natural sense of outrage and be tempered by His compassion, forgiveness and love for every person He sent His Son to save. If we allow Satan to lead us to fanatical extremes, we may miss the opportunity God gives us to see how far from Him we have wandered.
We need to learn the lesson of self-restraint that the Me-Too movement has brought into clearer focus, to accept that we all need a hedge—a boundary—that is not only acceptable to humans (especially women) but is also acceptable to God that will keep us all equally pure in mind, body, and soul.
Condensed from an article written by E.M Brooke in association with M.R. Betr