My thoughts are heavy as I sit down to write thinking about how the heart of God must be grieved by what He sees in the world today. But He is bound by His Word that He will not destroy the Earth by flood again, so we are constrained to live with what we have sown.
And we have sown the seeds of superiority and vulgarity far and wide in our culture.
In his classic work Horton Hears a Who!, about an elephant who gives everything he’s got to save a civilization living on a speck of dust, Dr. Seuss (Theodore Seuss Geisel) sets forth the idea that “a person’s a person no matter how small.” To Geisel, who used to have very strong anti-Japanese sentiments, the importance of the individual was an exciting new concept after a visit to Japan post-World War II. His Horton story is a reflection of his new-and-improved attitude that, you know what? I was wrong. Everyone is important.
More than 1900 years prior to that epiphany, Someone else knew that those treated as second-class citizens held the very image of God in their being.
Collin Outerbridge, one of my pastors, said the following on Facebook just today:
“Jesus treated women like PEOPLE when culture did not.
He defended women’s integrity. (Luke 7:36-50)
He treated women as friends. (Luke 10:38-42)
He looked women in the eye. (John 8:1-11)
He included women on his team. (Luke 8:1-3)
He defied cultural norms. (John 4)
I want to be more like Jesus.
Let’s OWN our part in the commodification of women in our culture.
Let’s REPENT to the women in our life.
Let’s LEARN from King Jesus—His Way is better.
Let’s SPEAK out and join the chorus that calls for justice.”
I have 2 teenaged boys (one is nearing the end of that era in the next couple of months).
I also have a teen daughter.
I also have a husband who treats me with respect, never belittles his mother and sister, and gives our daughter strength and confidence with his words.
I have never allowed my kids to say demeaning things to each other, but I will be more proactive from this day forward to make sure that they all know that they can neither speak of any person in a way that objectifies them, nor can they accept that kind of treatment from anyone else.
I will call them out.
And I will let them know that they are to call out others they hear or see doing the same thing.
It’s so subtle, we hardly even notice. But I’m not turning a blind eye or a deaf ear anymore.
I will tell my son that calling his girlfriend “hot” objectifies her.
I will tell my friends that drooling over the male judges on The Voice is not acceptable.
Women are not “eye candy.” You aren’t allowed to touch them if they don’t want to be touched. You are not allowed to refer to them by anything but their names or their official positions. If they say stop, you stop. End of story. There is no “boys will be boys.” No. That’s not acceptable.
Men are not “sugar daddies.” You can’t watch football because you like the tight uniforms. You aren’t allowed to buy the Firemen of Orange County calendar. Big muscles just show that a lot of hard work has been accomplished.
I am not an object. You are not an object. Nobody, no matter how they dress, no matter how they act, no matter what they’ve done, is an object that is fair game in the crude comment and demeaning acts department.
And no one is so important that they are exempt from these rules.
second image from shawnakersministries.com