So, it hit me like a ton of bricks just a minute ago. I was wondering why I have not been able to write this post that has been heavy on my heart for some time now. (Probably about six months…) The reason I can never write it, is because when I feel worthy to write it, I am too busy being “holy” that I don’t take the time necessary to write it. However, today is one of those days where I know that I have failed to live out my calling as a father and husband, and I am in need of a good confession, but instead of running to confession like I would normally do, I am taking the time to write this post before I am back in communion with Jesus and his church and start back on my path to Sainthood. I am not recommending this as a method of writing, but for this purpose I think God is using this moment of clarity to inspire me to write this without my need to fix anyone with my temporary holiness. (I can’t fix anyone, if I can’t stop breaking myself…)
Anyway, here goes…I have been thinking about the fact that we are all in communion with each other, when we are in communion with God, even when we are not in communion with God, we are still in the same Spirit, and therefore we are connected. “But whoever is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.” (1 Corinthians 6:17 NABRE) So, what does this mean for when we use each other, instead of loving each other? For instance, when a man looks lustfully at a woman, we would all agree that the effect of that look is harmful to the man who looks at the woman. “But I say to you, everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:28 NABRE) Therefore, the man or woman is out of communion with God until they repent of this sin, confess it and receive absolution. However, what effect does this have on the woman who is the object of the lust? I submit, in my opinion by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, that the woman is somehow effected negatively as the object of this lustful desire that stems from the flesh of the man.
Now, I will make my appeal to the men and women who are reading this; in a way that I think should speak to us in the depths of our soul. We are called to be the protector of the people in our life. “Then the LORD asked Cain, Where is your brother Abel? He answered, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Genesis 4:9) We can’t be a protector of our brothers and sisters, if we are giving in to the baser instincts of lust that well up from our flesh. So, we need to guard our minds from falling prey to the temptation that comes from looking too long at images of people that would be so much more, if we did not see them as objects of desire but rather children of the same God that created us.
I have heard the question asked before, “Why would a woman or man who talks about wanting to be more respected for the beautiful creation of God that he or she is wear revealing clothing that leaves little to the imagination . Is he or she a casualty of a culture that objectifies women’s or men’s bodies? I submit to you that he or she may just be reacting to the change that has been happening to them since they were very young. If they have been told from an early age that their body is a temple and therefore should be protected as such, they may not be reacting to the same change. “Do you not know that your body is a temple* of the holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?” (1 Corinthian 6:19) Many children are being told from an early age that they need to wear sexy or revealing outfits and dance close to the line of modesty in order to be attractive. This is be the reason they react to the metamorphosis that is a result of the many lustful looks that have somehow made them broken.
I know that I will have lost any progressive or liberal readers at this point, so I think I might as well go all in and follow this logic to its ultimate conclusion. Is it any wonder why people feel it is necessary to show so much skin in order to be “liked” on social media. Actually, I would say that it is about more than just being “liked”, they are convinced that real love in the real world can only be found by appealing to that lust. The Word of God teaches us otherwise. “Avoid immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the immoral person sins against his own body.*” (1 Corinthians 6:18)
I woke up this morning to an episode of “Toddlers and Tiaras” and on the episode one of the mother’s said that her church had excommunicated her because she allowed her daughter to be in these pageants. It seems a little excessive to me to excommunicate someone for such a seemingly benign action of letting her daughter compete in these pageants, but her statement about it was quite revealing. She said, “It is not like I am put her up on a “stripper” pole or something.” It is not like she is putting her on a “stripper” pole, it is exactly that. She is teaching her child that she is defined by the way other people see her beauty. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder; sounds like a great maxim to live by. However, the only beholder I want to be judged by, or more importantly, to have my children judged by, is the creator of the universe. The Psalmist says, “I praise you, because I am wonderfully made; wonderful are your works! My very self you know.” (Psalms 139:14 NABRE)
Question…How do we kill the lust that wells up in our hearts when we are led astray by the evil one? Do we tell people that the answer is just to go live in a cave with their eyes closed for a couple of days until the feeling passes, or do we raise our children to guard the hearts of their brothers and sisters in Christ, and their own self worth by dressing modestly. By the way, isn’t it meant to be shared with our husbands and wives alone? The Catechism of the Catholic Church says this,
2353 Fornication is carnal union between an unmarried man and an unmarried woman. It is gravely contrary to the dignity of persons and of human sexuality which is naturally ordered to the good of spouses and the generation and education of children. Moreover, it is a grave scandal when there is corruption of the young.
OK, I guess either answer is correct for the situation that you find yourself in, but I would hope if you are a parent that you share the words from scripture that I have quoted here with your kids. “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take Christ’s members and make them the members of a prostitute?* Of course not! [Or] do you not know that anyone who joins himself to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For “the two,” it says, “will become one flesh.” (1 Corinthians 6:15-16) My hope is that we could create a new generation of young people that are more concerned with the way that God sees them, and less about how members of the opposite sex sees them.
Peace of Christ,