About a week ago, I was sitting in the van waiting on my husband. We were in a busy parking lot and I was doing a bit of people-watching.
Have you even seen something that made you want to scrub your eyeballs? This was one of those times. I jerked my eyes away and grabbed my head. Eeeeeewwww. Oh goodness, how I wished I hadn’t just seen that. And then you know what I did? I looked back over there and I saw it happen again.
We live in a culture where anything goes. Profanity, vulgarity, pornography, nudity…it’s all commonplace. You can happen upon it in the grocery store or at the playground and in the music being played in the cars rolling by with their windows down.
It’s even made a way into the church in various slightly more subtle forms. Nothing’s sacred and nothing is safe.
I hear the tired old argument all the time that we should be allowed to embrace what makes us feel good. We don’t want to be judged or criticized; we simply want to be able to express ourselves and it’s nobody’s business how we do it. Even when it affects them.
As the mother of teenage boys I am beyond fed up with the nakedness that abounds. I sometimes want to scream that everywhere we go my young men are blasted with arousing temptations.
I know (and they know) they’re to guard their eyes, determined not to look upon evil. And I know it’s ridiculous to expect a society, that generally feels no regard for God, to be governed by His standard. But have mercy on us when professing Christians are defending their rights to walk around with more skin exposed than covered.
The notion that a young man should avert his eyes to avoid a lust-filled encounter as the girl one pew in front of him wiggles and squirms to her seat in a mini-skirt is outrageous. Why is she wearing the mini-skirt in church? Where are the parents and why are they acting as accomplices to this heinous crime against the innocence of our youth? Why is the church not standing up and speaking out?
If I struggle to look away from something I don’t want to see, what on earth are we expecting of a boy who, at some level, wants to see what he shouldn’t?
I believe in loving each other out of the path of destruction, not into it. I believe we need to meet people where they are and help them to higher ground.
It isn’t love to stand by and watch the slow destruction of 10 in order not to hurt the feelings of one. With tender pity we need to reach out to that one and hold them to a higher standard so they are no longer a vessel through which an evil work is done.
But this is where it gets sketchy. And it’s where everybody likes to start talking about that plank in the eye. It’s true…we have our own sins to deal with, every one of us. We have our own weaknesses and struggles and failures to stare down. What right do we have to go pointing out those of another?
What makes the difference is the attitude in which we do it. If we huff up to some young beauty and tell her roughly to “cover up or get out” you can bet she’s gonna get out. She’ll run from a people who preach God’s love even while they defy it.
But if we invest our hearts in the wayward youth (and non-youth) around us, we have a leg to stand on when we tackle tough topics that may bruise a few toes. If people feel the love of Jesus coming forth from us, the soil will be much more fertile for the planting.
It’s about love, guys. Not tolerance. Or turning a blind eye. It’s about loving so much you can’t stand still.
It’s about planting the seed and sticking around for the harvest.