Every man in the room watched her walk past. She had legs that reached the ceiling, weave that touched the floor, heels about 3 ½ inches high, and a mini dress that hugged her frame like saran wrap. Something in me cringed because two of the men with their eyes fixated on this women were married.
This is shocking but oh so common, maybe even accepted as manly behavior. “A man is going to be a man,” some say. I have even noticed the wandering eye of men out with their wives, who take a second sometimes third and fourth look at another woman.
Maybe you have seen it too, or been on the receiving end as the woman looked at or the one ignored. In their book Every Man’s Battle, authors Stephen Arterburn, Fred Stoeker, and Mike Yorkey call it “visual foreplay”. In their chapter on “Just By Being Male” they had the following to say about visual stimulation.
Our eyes give men the means to sin broadly and at will. We don’t need a date or a mistress. We don’t ever need to wait. We have our eyes and can draw sexual gratification through them at any time. We’re turned on by female nudity in any way, shape, or form.
They go on to say, “. . . For males, impurity of the eyes is sexual foreplay. . . Just like stroking an inner thigh or rubbing a breast. Because foreplay is any sexual action that naturally takes us down the road to intercourse. “
Maybe this is why Jesus himself said, “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Matthew 5: 28 (NIV)
Yet, even with this widely known understanding about men, why is it that sexually provocative clothing is more and more readily accepted and prevalent? I would argue that there is a symbiotic relationship between the man who looks, and the woman who desires to get attention for her appearance.
She is getting a need met too. The woman receives affirmation and the man receives visual stimulation. This is otherwise known as lust. But lust is never satisfied; it always demands more, leaving the partaker empty.
As a result the clothes get tighter. The skirts get shorter. And more skin is revealed until there is another exchange.
Existing in her heart is a gnawing fear that if she is no longer considered attractive, she will decrease in value. So she works diligently to maintain her sexy image because every woman is a competitor and every man a conquest. This occurs all while the gaping wound in her soul widens.
Instead of dealing with the root cause of her actions she masks them by focusing on how she looks. Appearing seductive on the outside but broken on the inside, she finds herself stuck in a vicious cycle. Many times her wounds have been created by the physical and emotional absence of her father.
So what is the solution? How can a woman who has grown dependent on external validation from men ever change? The answer is she must make a conscious choice: every second, minute, and hour of the day to be affirmed by God.
One of my absolute favorite stories in the Bible is that of Jesus and the woman at the well. The Bible does not speak of this woman’s wounded state, but it does mention her history. She had been married five times and with a man who was not her husband at the time she met Jesus.
I imagine after five marriages with five different men one would have accumulated some wounds. In fact, she was probably already wounded prior to her first marriage. Searching for something in the arms of each subsequent man, she was not satisfied and Jesus knew it.
Instead of speaking to her natural thirst He spoke to the thirst in her soul. “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” John 4: 10 (NIV)
It is this same thirst for validation He seeks to quench in the heart of every woman.
Through His word God offers us an endless supply of deep soul satisfying affirmation. It is not based on anything we wear or don’t wear. God’s affirmation is given freely because of who we are in Him.