Christian Men and #MeToo
With constant news stories about men facing severe consequences for inappropriate sexual behavior, men may be ready to run for the hills. Well, not all men.
The list of celebrities, politicians and business leaders accused of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior keeps growing and growing. As in so many other situations brought to light by the #MeToo movement, the accusations against some of these men cover years of behavior, not just an isolated incident.
Some men may be getting nervous about how to act at the office around people of the opposite sex, especially if they are in leadership positions. Christian men, however, should not be nervous. That is, if we are what we say we are.
What Christian men do and don’t do around women (hopefully)
Consider five reasons Christian men striving to practice genuine Christianity shouldn’t have to worry.
1. Christian men do not ogle and stare at women’s bodies (other than their mate’s body, and that not in public).
We understand a thing called lust, and we should know how dangerous and powerful it is. It is true that Christian men may stumble occasionally because we are challenged nearly every day in this area.
But we fight it. When we find ourselves losing the battle, we take necessary steps to stop staring and treat the person as a human being and not a sex object. We have to consciously practice looking away quickly from what our eyes might be drawn toward naturally (Job 31:1).
2. Christian men do not make sexually inappropriate comments to women.
A Christian man should not be thinking (as a result of #MeToo): “I can’t say anything to women anymore.” Christianity, not #MeToo, should govern what we say. What part of being a Christian involves sexualized comments to women other than our wives? What part of imitating Christ involves making lewd statements or jokes about a woman’s physical appearance?
There is some nuance for different individuals in different areas regarding compliments on appearance, but nothing that excuses sexually inappropriate comments. Some women don’t mind compliments on their appearance, while others feel uncomfortable with that. Christian men, seeking not to offend, should be sensitive to what makes a woman uncomfortable.
3. Christian men do not use their positions to intimidate or use women.
A Christian in a leadership position always serves and protects those under him.
Jesus Christ taught that those in authority should be servants, not abusive, to those they lead (Matthew 20:25-27). The #MeToo movement has revealed many “leaders” in different industries who abused their position to get what they wanted from those under them. A Christian in a leadership position always serves and protects those under him and never takes the “it’s good to be king” approach.
4. Christian men do not seek casual sexual encounters, but lifelong partners in marriage.
Many of the situations the #MeToo movement brought to light could hardly be described as serious dating, or even dating at all. It was all about sex, with no thought of relationships or love. Single Christian men seek relationships with women as friends and (if it goes farther) eventually lifelong partners in marriage. They do not seek fornication and adultery (“works of the flesh,” according to Galatians 5:19-21), and they do not devalue women by using them only for sex and then discarding them like trash.
5. Christian men do take responsibility for mistakes and make them right.
Instead of excusing bad behavior or defaming others, Christian men will own up to mistakes they have made and repent. This means making things right with God and anyone they may have hurt.
No need to be worried, or is there?
Putting aside the threat of false accusation, our biggest threat is our own fallibility and weakness. We may make mistakes in the course of our interactions with women. We are still “dust” and imperfect. The question is, how will we react? Will we get back up, make things right and try even harder to practice the high standards of Christianity? Or somehow try to justify ourselves and say that we really didn’t do anything wrong (as some rather obviously guilty defendants continue to do).
If we are truly striving to practice Christianity, we have no choice.