Men: Stop Blaming Women for Your Lust

[Lusting after women and the male responsibility, from the archives.]

Suppose an attractive member of your church walks in on a men’s Bible study one morning and strips off her clothes and then dances in a very sexual manner. Is she responsible if men lust after her? What if some men do not lust? If some lust but some do not, then is the lust-responsibility now only in those men who are lusting and not in her?

The great thing about this hypothetical is it’ll never happen. Yet it’s an interesting thought exercise. Where does the sin responsibility sit: in the tempter or the tempted? I think they are both completely responsible, but only for their own sin.

Here’s how I work through the logic: The tempter is sinning by attempting to get someone to sin, and the tempted who gives in sins in that acquiescence. But if there is a tempter who is unsuccessful in getting the tempted to give in, the tempter’s sin is exactly the same as if the tempted person had given in.

That means that the tempter’s sin is not dependent on the response of the tempted person at all; it remains the same whether the tempted person gives in or not.

And the corollary to this is that the tempted person who gives in is just as responsible for the sin (lust in the extremely unlikely hypothetical I gave above) whether tempted into it or running headlong without temptation. How does that work? Like this.

Suppose a man looks at a woman dressed very modestly by that society’s standards. If a man looks on her with lust, is the woman a temptress? Few would say so. But his sin is the same as if she were the unclad woman in the original hypothetical. Even without a temptress, he has engaged in that same sin.

So the responsibility for lust resides in the luster, while the responsibility for tempting is in the tempter. Each is wholly responsible for their own sin, regardless of the other person’s part in the scenario.

Unsuccessful tempters and untempted lusters are as guilty of sin as successful tempters and tempted lusters.

(Graphic courtesy of Adriana at Classical Quest)

(Graphic courtesy of Adriana at Classical Quest)

The Good News

Depressed yet? Confused, perhaps? The Bible promises this is not beyond your ability to face, since you face it with God:

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13.)

Still sounds too difficult? Take heart; as in all situations you find yourself in, Jesus is the answer for your sins here too.

“He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” (1 Peter 2:24.)

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:1-2.)

Jesus bore our sins for us, and he never condemns those who belong to him. And this counts for all sins you’ve ever committed, are committing now, and ever will commit:

He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. (Colossians 2:13-14.)

Nothing you will ever do can change that, because everything that needs doing Jesus has already done.


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19 Responses to Men: Stop Blaming Women for Your Lust

  1. Thanks for this article.

    Not blaming others for one’s own choices extends to other things. For the longest time, I believed that if a woman I was attracted to “put the whammy” on me, there was nothing I could do to stop it. This meant I was living in fear, and this fear continued for far too long even as a believer, and this was just something that was “obviously true”. When I first started to read about Boundaries, I thought some of the ideas were preposterous! I believed that of course I would be a puppet in some situations and have no options. Eek! Thankfully, God showed me just how wrong I was.

    • Tim says:

      The Holy Spirit has brought you a long way from that line of thinking, I bet.

    • JYJames says:

      “… if a woman I was attracted to ‘put the whammy’ on me, there was nothing I could do to stop it…”

      In other words, have one’s cake and eat it, too. Enjoy the ride but blame another that one gets on board in the first place.

      Good point.

      And the post is excellent, too. TF.

      In the court cases where an assault victim is interrogated about what she is wearing, of course, the assailant is guilty of the assault regardless. However, as TF’s post points out, an immodest victim is nevertheless guilty of immodesty (though no one deserves to be assaulted). Also a good point gleaned from the post.

      (The worst, however, was a case, in Wisconsin maybe (?), that made national news where a judge put the blame on a toddler for being too attractive and therefore inviting violation by a twenty-something. Clearly egregious on the part of the legal principal.)

      • To be clearer, I was using the phrase “put the whammy” on me to mean an active act of seduction on the woman’s part. This was a part of the false idea I picked up from the culture that it was the woman’s responsibility to set limits on intimacy. I am now repulsed that I ever believed this, but there it is.

      • Tim says:

        Attire might be relevant if it pertained to the actual mechanism of an assault, but otherwise I don’t see it coming in to evidence in those cases.

  2. Lea says:

    “The great thing about this hypothetical is it’ll never happen.”

    Of course not. But it brings up my massive pet peeve about the common ‘woman walking down the street naked at 3am’ example.

    If you see that woman, or the woman stripping in sunday school class? there is something wrong. She doesn’t need to be attacked, she is in distress!! She needs help, or medication, or to go the hospital. Period. The fact that anybody would hear that story and start thinking lust is so disturbing to me.

    • Lea says:

      (not that anybody needs to be attacked of course. The two times I was in most danger were 1. walking home late at night fully and appropriately clothed because I didn’t have money for a cab and 2. sitting at home when someone tried to break in)

  3. Yes, and lust is not just a male sin, neither is tempting a solely female sin. It might work in a slightly different way sometimes, but the sin remains the same when you get to the bare bones of it. Also, lusting after one’s spouse is not a sin, so lust in an of itself isn’t wrong – it just needs to be properly channelled. I suppose the difference is that lusting after one’s spouse carries with it love, commitment and respect, which lust alone does not.

    Some very well-put thoughts here, Tim. Thank you, again, for the challenge of your post 🙂

  4. Mary Anne says:

    See, this is something I don’t think I’ve ever understood:
    “But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13.)

    If there’s a way out, I’m going to ESCAPE it if I can. Not endure it! And so many people get the cliche about how “God won’t send you more than you can bear,” which is rubbish to anyone who is in deep distress (and probably a wrong take on this verse anyhow). So what’s your read on what this means? I’ve never been satisfied with any interpretations I can come up with . . .

    • Tim says:

      I read it in companionship with the passage that says when we resist Satan he flees. So to me the word “endure” sounds like it means “stand up to” as opposed to “learn to live with.”

  5. Nancy2 says:

    I need loose 20 pounds, but it’s not my fault. It’s all because of those tempting store displays, TV commercials, fast food joints, Hershey’s, etc. If they just weren’t so immodestly appetizing!
    I caught myself driving 65 in a 55 the other day, too. Stupid auto manufacturers ……. Not my fault!

  6. srs says:

    There is an ad that shows up for me on this page featuring a young woman displaying ample cleavage with a line about “dating beautiful Russians”. Oh, the irony. If the blog (inadvertently) temps the reader…

  7. Pastor_Bob says:

    Oddly, we rarely see how the stimulus is equated with the response.
    We are NEVER required to respond to any stimuli, yet there are times when
    -this is required
    -essential to be resisted

    Deliberate attempts to entice one to sin is one thing
    The respondent is solely responsible for their own actions.

    Balance is again to be stressed:
    She should avoid deliberate dress AND(!!!)
    He should avoid responding (some will respond to ANY stimulus!)

    The double R’s some into play:
    Respect and Responsibility.

  8. NJ says:

    I’m late commenting on this one, but I want to say thank you, Tim. Discussions on modesty usually swing back and forth between the need to dress modestly (especially as addressed by the apostle Paul), and the insistence that men’s lust is always entirely on them, regardless of what the woman was wearing (or not wearing). No one ever deserves to be sexually assaulted, I agree with that. What bothers me is 1) the sheer numbers of girls and women who seem utterly clueless about how their attire will be seen by others, especially the male sex, but 2) I also know there are females out there who know very well what they are doing, but the “she is never at fault!” brigade appears to deny this wholesale. It isn’t just secular feminists either; I’ve heard this from more than a few Christians, but if you dare to point it out, you will get piled on in a New York minute. I don’t believe we need to dress like many in the neopatriarchy movement, but I also would never let my girls wear the junior’s shorts currently for sale in Walmart that are designed to let the wearer’s butt cheeks hang out the bottom–not ANYWHERE. The common denominator seems to be not unnecessarily drawing attention to ourselves.

  9. Pingback: Is #Trump more like King David or King Saul? – Be Bold, Be Strong for the Lord our God Is With Us

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