I’m glad America is having an ongoing dialogue about healthy interactions between men and women. It’s long overdue, and I hope the dialogue doesn’t go away any time soon.
However, I don’t think Hollywood – a major proponent of sexual manipulation, perversion, and the abuse of power – should be leading the conversation or reforms. It leads the way in creating and popularizing all kinds of distorted views about sex and sexuality – to such a degree that we’re all having a hard time getting back to the basics of healthy sexuality and interaction between the sexes.
Now Hollywood wants to become the champion of respect and decency? That’s like the pot calling the kettle black. Not so fast.
I want to encourage Christians and Christian leaders to step up to the plate and lead the way on this issue because the need for guidance is massive. A huge softball has been lobbed our way, and we need to hit this one out of the park. We can, and we must.
Here are some suggestions I think every Christ-follower and Christian leader can heed, so we can help make our culture one that more greatly glorifies God and hits the bulls-eye of the great commission – to do our best to teach people everything Jesus commanded:
DON’T LET THE PAST FAILURES OF CHRISTIAN LEADERS KEEP YOU FROM BEING VOCAL.
The elephant in the church may very well be that many Christians have modeled and taught incorrect or incomplete things about the roles of men and women, and what proper conduct between the sexes looks like. Many Christian leaders have emphasized Ephesians 5:22, in which women should “submit” to their husbands, while overlooking the context provided in Ephesians 5:21, which immediately precedes it: “submit to one another.” Add to this the many church scandals that have made headlines recently, and it’s obvious that we have our work cut out for us. Many churches have unwittingly cultivated a corrupt culture within and outside their walls – where they say on one hand that men and women equal in value, but model something entirely different.
Keep in mind that there are many Christians whose conduct is exemplary. Don’t let dastardly, sensationalized scandals keep you from thinking and living honorably, and from standing up and speaking out toward the same. Refuse to let widely-publicized failures of others overshadow the fact that many believers do have healthy views and conduct about sex and sexuality – it’s just that the major news outlets aren’t covering them.
The best way to handle an impropriety – or even an accusation of impropriety – is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Now is a great time for every believer and Christian organization to evaluate personal and organizational standards for interactions with others – and to make adjustments where helpful.
Having a personal “zero tolerance” policy toward being with a member of the opposite sex (apart from your spouse) is a great place to start. These days, however, that’s not enough. Our personal and organizational policies should address the use of electronic devices, including the use of email.
Evaluate your personal and organizational policies and procedures, and make sure they provide sexual “firewalls” for purity, dignity and respect.
DON’T TURN THE OTHER CHEEK: TEACH.
Pastors and Christian leaders should be teaching about godly interaction between the sexes every chance they get. We should address the need for sexual decency from every angle because our society is starving for great guidance in this area.
Teens and children need to learn, from an early age, how to think and act in godly ways toward the opposite sex, that each of us is created in the image of God and worthy of respect. If you think it’s too early to talk to your child about sex and sexuality, keep in mind that they are already being bombarded by these topics from a variety of sources nearly every day.
While turning the other cheek is a great practice when someone causes an offense, it’s completely unwise when addressing the issue of healthy sexual conduct. Now, more than ever, we need to provide guidance for our people. Don’t make the mistake of thinking your children or teens are not aware of this hot topic and their need for help.
Lest we become unintentional hypocrites, the reformation we need to see in society needs to start with every Christian and every church. Be an example of godly conduct that others can follow. What if you were the only example others could look to when it comes to interacting with the opposite sex? Is your example God-honoring, and would it lead to a positive transformation in society if followed on a wide scale basis?
What, in your own life, needs to be reformed? How can you speak, and act in ways that model for others what integrity and healthy interactions looks like?
The church can no longer be the bench warmer when it comes to matters like sex and sexuality. Otherwise our children and their children will continue to find non-biblical answers and look to the world, including Hollywood, to solve their problems instead of God.