We just returned from a New Year’s meal with my wife’s extended family. My wife and kids have enjoyed a humorous debate about which of our family reunions serves the best food. Opinions diverge, but for me I enjoy all the food and the fellowship at these gatherings. We are also blessed to have family who love Jesus and lead out with Christian prayer and song. Today I noticed that the event was even less well attended than the past. I do not know the reason for the sparse attendance, but I do know that our culture is far from family friendly.
Our countrymen have boldly stepped beyond neutral zones into purely destructive theaters for the family, and unfortunately we Christians are often dragged down to these base levels. For example as we traveled on 322 through Lewistown I winced as I passed the billboard ad for the Hooters restaurant with the body parts of a young co-ed waitress prominently displayed. Recently the caption has been changed to say, “All Ages Welcome.” Say what? Also recently I heard of an elderly husband and wife who celebrated their wedding anniversary at Hooters with their family. Say what again? Last summer I took my son to a ball game and smiled as I saw another father taking his son, probably 10 years old, to the ball game. The son turned and I saw a Hooters waitress painted on the back of his shirt posing erotically with her guitar. My smile faded. I guess all ages are welcome, shamelessly.
A long view of history shows that manifestation of human depravity has waxed and waned, but there is no doubt that our present culture has plummeted to the gutter of no shame. Unscrupulous men lie to themselves and their women pretending that these displays pose no temptation. Rather than honestly admit and explain to their wives how God has wired men to be sexually aroused by sight of the female body and ask for prayer to fight temptation these men secretly fantasize the whole way to adultery on a daily basis. I heard a man say that watching women in bikinis does nothing to tempt him. Wow. He is made of different stuff than me.
All shame is lost and a Christian has no choice but to fight fire with fire. There is no point trying to extinguish the flame, but instead to teach ourselves and our children not to play with fire, but to let it burn in the fireplace of the marriage bedroom.
My daughter asked, “Daddy what are ‘Hooters’?”
Dad says, “Well, daughter, ‘hooters’ is a crude term that sexed crazed men use to refer to a woman’s breasts.”
Daughter says, “You got to be kidding me!”
Dad says, “No, I am not kidding you. The Hooters restaurant chose an owl as mascot because the owl has eyes that are open super wide and God has designed men to be so attracted to the female body that if a man catches a glimpse of the female breast it is likely to open his eyes with sexual interest, even a godly Christian man.”
Daughter says, “That makes me angry, there ought to be a law against the Hooters restaurant.”
Dad says, “There is.”
Daughter says, “Well then why don’t the police stop them?”
Dad says, “Well the law is God’s law and our country is not a Christian nation. Moreover, God patiently allows his own laws to be freely broken because he does not want to coerce his people to obey. Instead he plans to change our hearts winning us to believe that he is good so that we eagerly want to obey him.”
Unfortunately, the new cultural standards made commonplace by Hooters and other exploiters of women have even worked their influence among God's people. I must admit that I do not understand the redefined modesty that permit some of the choices of even our Christian women. This can be very difficult for Christian men.
There is a battle in our inner man between what our lust wants to see and what Christ gives approval to see. I often do not know were to draw a line between pure and lustful thought and between modest and immodest clothing, but I do know that Christ’s standard is perfection in purity and modesty. Thankfully Jesus Christ knows our hearts perfectly as he leads, guides, and ... judges.
Yes, Jesus will judge his people.
Peter says, “For the time has come for judgment to begin with the household of God. If it begins first with us, what will happen to those who don't obey the Good News of God?” (1 Peter 4:17 WEB). I am personally acquainted with the judgment and correction of the Lord because of my poor choices. So I know that the holiness God will not hold back judgments for the sins of our present generation. We are wise to ask one another, are we flirting with the world?
The good news is that our forgiveness is already guaranteed and if we are still alive after his hand of correction falls he may still permit us the useful purpose of testifying to his amazing grace and urging one another on toward holiness.