by Doy Moyer
I’d like to talk again with the men here.
Men blaming women for their own sins is as old as Adam and Eve. Literally. You remember what Adam did when confronted by the Lord: “the woman you gave me…” It didn’t work then and it doesn’t work now.
That blame game gets played in multiple ways. “If she wouldn’t dress immodestly, I wouldn’t lust.” “If she just knew how people like me think…” “If she would have stopped, I would have…” In other words, my thoughts and actions that stem from them are her fault. I wouldn’t if she wouldn’t, and she needs to do better. This is a failure at many levels.
God judges those who would purposefully put stumbling blocks in front of others, but this is not what we are talking about here. Even if someone puts that stumbling block in front of you, you are still the one who takes the steps to trip over it (read Proverbs 7). We aren’t children, and if we are, we better grow up. We can accept that God strengthens us to overcome temptations or we can essentially deny our free will. “I can’t help it” is not an acceptable position for God’s people.
In my experience, men are often not very good at accepting blame and they find ways to push their weaknesses off on others. “It’s not my fault.” The spirit of Adam lives on, but God expects better of us. Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit, and we need to add it to our faith (Galatians 5:23; II Peter 1:6). If I lack control in my thoughts and actions, that is on me. Not you. Not her. Me. Remember, too, that it is those described as selfish and brutal who lack self-control (II Timothy 3:1-5).
David didn’t blame Bathsheba for his sin, and Psalms 51 is a testimony to his taking personal responsibility for his actions. This is what we all need to do in the face of our own guilt. If we expect forgiveness to be personal, then we need to take personal responsibility for our thoughts and actions.
Women are not depersonalized objects. They are made in God’s image and need to be treated with godly respect regardless of what they do, how they dress, and what they say. Men, we need to recognize our own sins, repent, and seek the Lord’s mercy without excusing ourselves based on what others say or do. When we do this, we are on our way to spiritual maturity.
“But as for you, exercise self-control in everything …” (II Timothy 4:5). May God help us to do this.