Early in our marriage, Tim told me about a memorable walk home from school when he was just 12 years old. As he passed through the playground housed between the school and his home, he noticed something laying in the ditch. Picking up that trash provided his first encounter with Playboy Magazine. I have never forgotten what he told me that day. He said, “JoAnne, if I close my eyes I can still see that centerfold just as if I had seen it ten minutes ago.” It’s the closest I ever came to understanding the eyes of a man. Women just aren’t made to see it that way.
During my second year of college, I shared a wing of 2 West with a group of my now life-long friends. Some of us were quiet and conservative and some of us were loud and not so conservative. And we were all fun. One morning our portion of the hallway woke up to a prank from one of us who fell in the “not so conservative” category. She had slid a page from Playgirl Magazine under each of our doors. It was my first encounter with the magazine and if I close my eyes today…..I’ve got nothin’. In fact, if I had closed my eyes ten minutes after seeing the picture I’d have had nothin’. Men don’t understand that because they just aren’t made to see it that way.
And in this area of life, I’m simply thankful to be a woman.
The temptation, the 21st century availability, the lack of modesty in women in general all combine to nearly defeat a man before he can even get out of bed in the morning.
But that’s where my pity for you ends…because you are big boys….and big boys can act responsibly regardless of your “needs;” especially if you claim Christ. Or can you? Or maybe the question is “can you be expected to when it has become our epidemic secret?”
For whatever reason we in the church have chosen to ignore the secret; the very secret that lives in sanctuaries and parsonages. The secret that is destroying marriages. The secret that is objectifying women. The secret that causes men to live under horrendous guilt. The secret that sends families into bankruptcy. The secret that drives up the rates of rape and abuse. The secret that I believe is responsible for a lot of what is wrong in America today.
The secret. And therein lies the problem…
If it’s a secret, we certainly won’t hear about it from our pulpits.
If it’s a secret, we certainly won’t seek counsel.
If it’s a secret, men certainly won’t enlist an accountability partner.
If it’s a secret, wives certainly won’t ask their husbands if they are struggling in this area.
If it’s a secret…..then satan has the church exactly where he wants her. For, if it can be kept secret, the men will continue in the secret and be kept weak. And if the men are kept weak, the Lord will have no one upon whom to build His church. Read it for yourself. Men; real men, strong men, human men, sensitive men – they were the ones that Jesus was using to build His church. And when the eyes of our men – those eyes that lead directly to their souls – are used for a perverted version of what God called beautiful, that perversion steals the effectiveness of those men.
I can only really speak for myself when I say:
Husbands – I need you to be faithful men.
Male Pastors – I need you to be spotless and courageous men.
Young men who date my daughter – I need you to be strong, true men.
Without even realizing what he was doing, Tim threw open the door in our marriage when he told me his playground/Playboy story. Because once I understood more of how his mind works, I have known to ask him often about where his eyes rest. It was a huge relief to me that the door was wide open for discussion during those years he spent on the road, mostly alone. Thankfully, I have been spared the grief of this epidemic in my own home and I don’t ever want to forget to be thankful.
Wives, my advice to you is this: ask your husbands if they are struggling and get help if it’s needed.
Husbands, my advice to you is this: answer honestly and trust your wife’s instincts…always.
Stop the secret and you will stop satan both in your home and in the church. I dare you.