All right men, fill in the blank:
When I said (or did) _______, I … :
- … didn’t know anyone was listening.
- … hoped no one would remember.
- … thought I could get away with it.
- … didn’t really mean it.
- … ok, I kind of meant it but it was just a joke.
- … come on, what’s wrong with having a little fun at someone else’s expense?
- … fine, I’m sorry if you got offended. You happy now?
- … look, I said I was sorry so why are you still bringing this up?
- … people are really picking on me and they should stop!
Jesus was clear in Matthew 6, saying three times that our heavenly Father “sees what is done in secret.” This is a sobering thought and one that catches me up short more often than I care to admit. On a later occasion, Jesus said:
You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight. (Luke 16:15.)
What is it that people highly value? In that instance Jesus was talking about hoarding wealth. The love of money continues today, along with other issues people dealt with in Jesus’ time as well: love of power, prestige, control. The love of the detestable is as far from the way of Jesus as you can get, because these loves lead to the most unloving consequences: slavery, oppression, war, poverty, and sexual assault.
Why does the title of this post refer specifically to men who treat women badly, though? Because it is one of the most common and malignant evils both here in America and around the world. Too many men think they can do what they like without consequence.
- Fathers sell daughters in marriage at age 9 to grown men.
- Subway train operators in both Europe and Asia have taken to providing women-only cars to give women a place safe from men who otherwise feel a right to do what they like with the women.
- Employers pay women less than men doing the same job.
- Pastors tell jokes about women in order to get a cheap laugh and make a point in their sermon.
There are more examples but I am sure you can come up with them on your own. The point is that none of these are really done in secret. God knows, and you can be sure that if it affects other people then someone else knows too.
So what are my four pieces of advice for men who treat women badly?
First, stop. That’s what God wants you to do and he wants you to do it now.
Second, don’t think no one knows. God knows and there’s a good chance so will a lot of other people eventually.
Third, remember that God loves you and the women you have hurt. Treat women as those beloved by God with the love that God has given you.
Fourth, anything less is ungodly and detestable. Don’t be ungodly and detestable.
… do you think you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance? (Romans 2:3-4.)
God is kind and wants you to repent, which means change direction in what you are doing that hurts others and instead enjoy “the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience.” And he wants you to help others to enjoy this as well, including the women in your life.