This headline from Sunday’s Washington Post poses an interesting question to some troubling trends in our country: “The Sexual Harassment Epidemic Has Been Diagnosed. What’s the Cure?”
It seems that almost every day new accusations reveal some celebrity, politician or media mogul is guilty of harassing or worse yet sexually assaulting women.
The Post article by Monica Hess describes in some detail the current problem we’re facing in America. The antiquated attitudes of an older generation of men. The misogynistic treatment of women. And how men and women are wired to see the same situation so differently. However, her question is never really answered. “What’s the cure?”
Our problems today are not really societal, but spiritual. The answer is not more laws, more studies or more commentary, but a return to divine values that are found in the Bible. Ironically, we have been systemically destroying the very standards that forbid sexual harassment.
For the past 50 years, we’ve become a more secular society. We’ve been conditioned to believe that there are no absolutes. That Truth is relative. And the feelings and desires of the individual reign supreme. We’ve sown the manta of the late 1960’s “If it feels good, do it” and now it has produced a bitter harvest.
What’s the cure? In His Mountain Message, found in Matthew 5-7, Jesus condemned lust, adultery, and divorce. He commanded purity of hearts. He pointed people to the righteousness of God and treating others like you want to be treated. He denounced religious hypocrisy. And instructed us to love others like the Father does. An application of the principles from the profound section of scripture would change the world.
What’s the cure? Specifically, the Bible teaches abstinence prior to marriage, faithfulness during marriage, and moral purity throughout our lives. “Flee sexual immorality,” commanded the apostle Paul (1 Cor 6:19). In fact, he even went farther by admonishing “But among you, there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place” (Eph. 5:3).
What’s the cure? In order to avoid “the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband” (1 Cor. 7:2). To regard marriage as honorable and to keep it’s bed undefiled (Heb 13:4). And then not to covet another man’s wife.
Of course, worldly, carnal minded people are not restricted by such admonitions. But those claiming to be Christ followers ought to be. How many in recent years professing religious allegiance to Christ have fallen into sexual sins? But before we self-righteously point fingers, let us be reminded to “take heed lest we fall” (1 Cor. 10:12).
The lowering of standards has had a dramatic impact on society at large, and even among God’s people. Hollywood, TV, the internet, and the Hugh Hefner Playboy philosophy have glorified sexual freedom and the objectification of women; now the liberal news media is shocked to hear about men sexually harassing women.
Christians may feel that we cannot do much to change the moral culture of our country. But we can impact the culture of our homes, churches and the communities in which we live and work. We can refuse to be “conformed to the world.” We can be transformed by the message of the gospel. (Rom. 12:1-2). We can deny ungodliness and worldly desire and live sensibly, righteously and godly in this present age” (Titus 2:12). We can be light and salt in a sexually perverse society.
We can follow Paul’s instruction to Timothy to treat “older women as mothers and younger women as sisters with all purity” (1 Tim. 5:1). We can “abstain from every appearance of evil” (1 Thess. 5;22). “Flee youth lusts” (2 Tim. 2:22). And control our own thoughts, attitudes, and actions toward the opposite sex with honor and holiness (1 Thess. 4:4).
Practicing purity is challenging in a world of moral putridity. But we can do it. It begins inwardly. The wise man’s counsel is appropriate in this regard. “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Prov. 4:23).
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman