Bad advice regarding where the tire meets the road

“Honey, I’m sorry. I was lusting after that pretty news anchor on CNN again.”cnw

“Again?!?! For crying out loud. Turn it to C-SPAN…right NOW!”


John Piper is widely admired in evangelical circles. I was even a little taken aback by the level of Piper’s popularity when I returned to the Lord in 2014. When Piper has something to say, a good segment of evangelicalism is listening.

Yesterday, I came across the article far below in which Piper advises husbands to confess their lustful desires for other women to their wives. Huh? Say what?

Please allow me to chime in on this issue with some frankness and I hope no one is offended. I’m a man and my body still produces testosterone (although obviously nowhere near the levels it did thirty or forty years ago). Males are biologically “hardwired” to procreate. When we see an appealing member of the opposite sex, we are attracted. At that point, Christian men can either wallow in the attraction and escalate the desire – lust – or we can fight the desire using any of several methods: escape, prayer, attempting to see the person through the Lord’s eyes, striving to honor the Lord and our wives in all that we think and do, etc. I’ll readily admit that I haven’t always fled temptation. Multiple industries exploit and are banking on men’s propensity to lust, or is it just a coincidence that every female news anchor on CNN, HLN, and FOX looks like a Miss Texas? I’m so grateful for my Savior, Jesus Christ, who died for all my sins and beckons me down a better road of unselfish love. When I fail, I can always run to the cross for grace and forgiveness.

Now back to Piper’s comments. Is it expedient for husbands to confess their lustful thoughts and desires to their wives? What’s your opinion? I don’t think the struggle against lust is a battle a man ever “wins.” In this culture, with its ever-growing emphasis on sex, the struggle is ongoing unless the husband lives a hermit’s existence. Maybe a man can tell his wife, “Yes, I struggle with lust now and then,” and leave it at that, but he shouldn’t be confessing the details to her on a regular basis. What good would that serve? It would just feed her insecurity with no end in sight.  She’ll think, “What? He was secretly lusting after my best friend again! Sheesh! I’m leaving him home from now on,” or, “Hmm, maybe I better start looking for a man who respects me and who I can trust rather than somebody who admires every pair of yoga pants that walks by and thinks he’s still 25-years-old.”

If a man senses he’s being drawn deeper and deeper into lustful desires, he should probably seek counsel from his pastor, or partner up with a male friend at church for prayer, support, and accountability, but rare is the woman who is going to tolerate this kind of ongoing confession objectively. There is such a thing as TMI – too much information – even between husband and wife.

Ladies, I know it’s not all lily white on your side of the biological fence, either. I happen to know a married Christian woman who automatically stops and lingers over every Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp, and Mel Gibson movie while channel surfing!

Thoughts? Agree? Disagree?


John Piper: Men, Confess Your Lust for Other Women
http://www.christianpost.com/news/john-piper-men-confess-your-lust-for-other-women-171785/

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9 thoughts on “Bad advice regarding where the tire meets the road

    1. Thanks for the question. God also hardwired us to consume food to fuel or bodies. However, if we don’t bridle our appetite, we end up weighing 300 lbs.

      The institutional church did a very poor job with sexuality. The highest expression of spirituality was allegedly attained by those in religious orders who were celibate. Sex in a married relationship is a wonderful, natural blessing from the Lord and part of His divine plan.

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  1. Are you saying males hard-wired to procreate, yet women are not? I would invite you to rethink the wording. Women produce testosterone. Men also have estrogen. The hormone levels differ due to the reproductive systems’ differences. However, the biological instincts are not terribly different between the sexes and studies are starting to prove that the male brain and female brain are not in direct contrast to one another. There is a biological desire to reproduce that must be in place for both parties in order for them to be attracted to one another. Men are fertile all the time and women are fertile a few to several days a month. The hormonal shifts affect the level of desire, which does create a vulnerability for sexual temptation in men as a result. However, the desires are there on both sides and we are equally hard-wired to procreate. Maybe it won’t always manifest itself the same, but the same temptations are there.

    I believe our patriarchal society has catered to men so much so that there has been brain-washing (yes, you read that right). I do not say this as a feminist, either, so please bear with me for a bit. Already, you are elbowing each other in the comments and patronizing women for not being able to handle your post (‘a bit much’?). Don’t underestimate women regarding our intelligence and ability to reason.

    We have especially been brain-washed since television and advertising entered the picture. Because, yes, you can subversively train the brain and create neural pathways, which is a strategic tool our enemy understands more than we do and takes advantage of. Subversive warfare tactics are quite deadly. When those neural pathways are reinforced enough, it becomes the “second nature phenomenon”. Eventually, it can lead to addiction which is treading the line in an area where God says he will hand us over to a depraved mind (a mind controlled biologically, chemically, and at the most basic of instincts when reason disappears is a sad state, indeed, spiritually speaking).

    There are many lies that needed to be sold for pornography and lust to become the multi-billion dollar industry that it is today and to destroy lives as such a quick rate. Don’t misunderstand me, though. Lust is certainly not a new concept or Jesus would not have gone out of His way to address it. However, what Jesus was actually addressing were the issues of the heart (the meditations of the heart are that which lead to behavior) and men have an accountability level because they are a covering for the ‘weaker sex’ (vulnerable). God created things that way for a reason.

    Satan is a counterfeit and he needed a very clever way to distort and pervert a sacred covenant between man, woman, and God; the marriage bed. The marriage bed is a sacrament and the “two shall become one flesh” is a promise. It calls to mind the sacredness of the Trinity and God becoming flesh to dwell among us.

    It is also a misconception that men are “visual creatures”. All humans are visual creatures. Women wouldn’t care so much about colors, clothes matching, and decorating if we were not visual. Men, however, are very good at compartmentalizing and removing emotional attachment, so they are prone to honing in on something and, well, in our society, is it any wonder that a one-track mind is so easily attained? Women do not compartmentalize as easily, because we form emotional attachments to things rather quickly. Yet, both men and women were designed to be able to emotionally attach AND compartmentalize. Men can do one more readily than women and vice versa. Again, hormonal and chemical differences affect that. As someone who has lived with chronic PTSD, I can assure you that neural pathways, chemical balance, and hormone levels are a big deal. And, yes, women can compartmentalize or I wouldn’t be so prone to dissociation.

    In Genesis 3, God told Eve her desire would be for her husband. Desire is a longing, wanting, craving, and yearning. It is also another word for lust. Interesting that God told Eve her desire would be for her husband and not the other way around. Because of our vulnerability, men are called to a higher level of integrity and are instructed to love their wives as “Christ loves the church”. That is a serious call to action. That is a heavy-duty call to action with an awful lot of responsibility attached to it. I don’t believe Jesus “checked out the ladies”, even if we humans are able to discern attractiveness at some basic level. Do you ever wonder why God chose circumcision on that particular part of the body to create a covenant? I have and I studied on it. It is quite significant, spiritually speaking.

    No, men are not alone in their hard-wiring for sex. Believe me, my feelings for my husband go far beyond just being the little wife at home, in my place, with babies and obeying and just being physically available for my “hard-wired” man. Sound crude? That’s because it is actually quite crude how our society has handled this whole thing. My husband makes me swoon. I just happen not to swoon so easily at every passing member of the opposite sex because I am not brain-washed to believe that is “normal” behavior for women (and I have a lot of trauma, as do millions of other women, unfortunately).

    I don’t mean to write a dissertation in your comments, but I challenge you to at least consider some of this. Submit it to the Holy Spirit for guidance, compare it to the Word, and talk to God about it. Don’t take my word for it, just as I will never take society’s word for the “uniqueness” regarding a man’s “hard-wiring” and “visual” needs.

    It has been disappointing how even the church has mishandled this issue, but again we do have an enemy that will seek to use the tiniest little sliver to create a wedge somewhere, anywhere to bring in contention and separate us from the Lord. Our adversary cannot gain ground without those tiny, unsuspecting slivers and subversive tactics. That doubt in the Garden of Eden wasn’t a big bombshell. It was just the tiniest sliver of suggest and the ramifications of that were the bombshells that brought us to death. The consequences of that teeny-tiny sliver of doubt were such a bombshell that God had to sacrifice His only Son to be our Ransom.

    The same brain-washing that has catered to men all of these years is now targeting women in media today. If you pay enough attention to it, you will start to notice that shift as more half-nude men take over magazine covers, movies, and television. Don’t fool yourself into believing that only men are affected because you are “hard-wired” and women are not.

    And, to answer the original question, complete transparency is necessary in our relationship with God. You cannot keep certain thoughts private from Him, because He is the God who sees you (El Roi, Genesis 16). Considering the sacredness of marriage, I do believe there is the same expectation for transparency. Unfortunately, our fallen society today makes transparency a painful and uncomfortable issue for many reasons, not just because of sex and lust.

    So, if being transparent to my husband about any issue would hurt him, I probably need to rethink what is going on with my heart and my mind. Vice versa.

    This is food for thought and I hope you do not misunderstand my tone. As always, God bless you and I sincerely hope the Holy Spirit is able to bring wisdom into this for all of us, myself included.

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    1. Thanks a lot for your comments. I’m sorry if my post and comments came across as condescending. I certainly recognize that women struggle with lust as well. I’m by no means an expert on sexuality so I approach the topic from my limited perspective but I would hazard a guess that 90% of the money spent on porn comes from men. The general understanding is women fantasize about sex in the context of a romantic relationship while men fantasize about the sex act itself. I’m sure that has changed a bit as society has changed. So, yes, I certainly agree both men and women lust as I indicated in my post but male lust appears to be more raw and indiscriminate.

      Piper’s advice feeds the myth perpetuated in our churches that lust is some kind of rare transgression; that upstanding Christian men are largely above such temptations so confessing to one’s wife every two or three years would be no big deal. My point is lust is much more pervasive then Christian husbands are willing to admit and Christian wives are willing to accept. It’s a topic pastors largely avoid because it makes people uncomfortable. But at the same time, marriages of church members are failing and pastors are removed because of the consequences of lust.

      Thanks, and God bless you as well! We need to be totally transparent with the Lord regarding our struggles and our sins and this topic needs much more airplay in our churches.

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  2. Please do not feel you owe me an apology or that I was offended. I sincerely did not want that to be the tone. Let me apologize if anything I said came across in anything other than an attitude of openness. I absolutely agree with you that are has not been enough dialogue on this matter and it needs to change considering the society we are in today. You created a wonderful opportunity for that dialogue to happen and you did look for input. Maybe you didn’t expect an entire paper and I probably should have taken out a smaller soapbox. 😉

    This is a topic that can trigger me, I am going to readily admit that. I sincerely hope the tone doesn’t come across in a completely “finger-pointing” way. I was mainly responding to your statement, “Males are biologically “hardwired” to procreate. When we see an appealing member of the opposite sex, we are attracted.” And, then, I saw the way you expressed your hesitation and it gave me pause. There really has been a “boys will be boys” mentality that has even taken root in the Church. As a girl growing up feeling groomed and molded to believe my worth and value is nothing more than what is on the outward, the “boys will be boys” mentality seems harmful. Due to certain things of the past, this area has been, and probably all will be on some level, disturbing.

    While I realize that whole dissertation could come across as a rabid feminist speaking, that really isn’t where that comes from. Or, perhaps, it could come across as a rabid debater who likes to dismantle everyone’s arguments to prove my intellectual prowess. I don’t like to do that, either. 🙂

    I also agree that lust is not new and foreign and is more common than we realize. However, we really need to draw a distinction between temptation and lust itself. I think the temptation to lust is real and powerful, especially in today’s world where skin is readily available just going to the grocery store. The subversive tactics have become louder and bolder and are not as subversive any logner. Also, being young and full of hormones just fuels the fires. But, lusting in and of itself does not need to be there; not because we are ‘above it’, but because there is a way around it (1 Corinthians 10:13). Will people fall into it occasionally? Of course. We are all going to sin regardless of its form. I truly believe, however, if members of the opposite sex are such a distraction that the temptation to lust or lust itself lingers on a regular basis, maybe some evaluation needs to happen. I would say that about any temptation that repeats itself and becomes hard to withstand. A majority of women are not flattered when they are “checked out”. Instead, it feels violating. While the dress and behavior of some may contradict that, I believe women still wish to be valued and cherished for what is inside and many of us would like this whole “boys will boys” mantel removed.

    I have spent many years asking Him why He ‘created men that way’. Because of certain traumas, this is an area that I myself have wanted to stuff in a box, but the questions on my heart have always lingered and there really is no dialogue for it. For many years, I had resentments, to be sure. Thankfully, those resentments have been pulled out, but my heart does still pound over it and old hurts want to haunt. Just know that my dissertation does come from a place of serious soul-searching and I have nipped at God’s heals over it for a long, long time. The answer I felt Him giving me to the question, “Why did You create men this way?” has felt whispered in my heart, “I didn’t.”

    So, that said, I am the one who probably just should have moved right along and avoided even attempting to tread here, because my perspective may be too tainted and prejudiced.

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    1. Thanks for personal perspective. Good discussion. Unfortunately, the church generally avoids the topic of sexual lust – such a hot potato – which reinforces a false stereotype of “holiness” and then we’re all shocked when a pastor falls. You bring up an interesting question; at what point exactly does temptation turn into sin? Maybe we’re too apt to gave ourselves the benefit of the doubt? The closer I draw to the Lord the more I’m convicted of my sinfulness and complete unworthiness. The religious tradition that I came from taught that a person could actually reach a state of sanctification (with God’s help) that would merit salvation.

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