This morning after I read the news my hubby and I were talking about how it seems like in recent days there is more and more porn garbage and illicit sex scandals connected to so many crime or controversial stories in the news. Now, I don't honestly know if there really are more cases where this kind of element is present, or if it's just being reported more. In our world of global hyper-connectivity we know a lot more than we ever did before and news stories come at us from literally every corner of the world. So maybe it's not as much on the increase as it may appear, and maybe it's just a matter of hearing or reading about it more. Either way, its quite disheartening and makes me wonder if the whole world isn't quite delighted to wallow in the sewer.
The other thing I've noticed recently along the same track, is the social circles or networks of people online. What I mean by that is noting the activity of people you follow (or who follow you) on twitter and/or seeing what your FB friends are liking or commenting on, in the friend activity feed on FB. Now, I use tweetdeck to read my twitter feeds but if you go to twitter's web site and login from there, you have the option to peek into your friend's recent activity. For example, I can see that two of my twitter friends retweeted Phil Johnson and another friend recently began following Tim Challies. Likewise on FB if you have your friend's activity feed updating you can see pictures they've liked, updates they've commented on, etc. Normally I don't even bother with looking at any of that but something recently caught my attention that made me pay closer attention to it. What that something was, was seeing men (men who I know are married) either following on twitter or "liking" on FB either pictures of nearly nude women or accounts of women where pornography is their only purpose for being there.
The first few times I noticed it, it bothered me but I just sort of wrote it off as sinful things some men do and honestly just wanted to ignore it. But the more I noticed it happening the more I thought of the wives of these men. The more I see it the more angry it makes me, to be perfectly honest but there's not a lot I can do about it except unfriend or unfollow (which I have done) and then write this blog post.
I do want to say that the vast majority of men I follow or have as friends on FB never, ever, ever engage in this kind of activity online. It never shows up in their public activity and I can only hope it doesn't take place privately either. As I thought about this and the implications of it, I thought about the kind of message (without actually saying it) these men (both the ones who do this, and the ones who do not) are sending to their wives.
The ones who do not do this send this type of message:
"My beloved wife, I love you dearly and desire to honor and cherish you and have eyes only for you. I am actively and cautiously protecting myself and you, and our marriage and family with guarded online activity. The integrity of our relationship matters more to me than anything else, and protecting your reputation by myself avoiding this kind of wickedness that is so pervasive in our culture today, is critical to me."
Now, most men don't actually go around saying that (although I'm sure some men do), but this is the unspoken message they send to their wives when they keep honor and integrity and purity of the marriage at the forefront. The wives of men like this know how much their marriage matters to their husbands because their husbands are honorable men who make good choices. They have good marriages, they have stability and trust and they're the kind of couples we all admire.
By stark and sad contrast this is the message sent by the men who do follow, friend and "like" the kind of wickeness I've described above:
Dear wife, I cannot be trusted. Our marriage doesn't matter to me as much as my personal lust matters to me. I don't care if it hurts your feelings that I don't only have eyes for you, and I don't care if people feel sorry for you because I cannot control myself when I see a picture of a mostly-nude woman. I know your friends and mine can see what I'm doing and I don't care. It doesn't matter if you don't trust me because I come first. I don't even think about what the kids might think or feel when they find out what kind of a man I am, all I care about is filling my mind with sexual images of other women.
I can't even imagine the kind of callous, evil man that would come right out and say that to his wife, but in essence that is exactly the message he sends her when he engages in this kind of activity. The wives of men like this have horrible marriages, doubts, fears, humiliation, anxiety, self-image issues, live their lives without trust, without stability, embarassment and shame that their husbands behave this way. They may put on a good front and act like it doesn't bother them or that it's not a big deal, but it's a betrayal of the heart and unless you're hard as stone, betrayal deeply hurts just about everyone affected by it.
We live in a culture absolutely obsessed with sex. The headlines are saturated with it, online and print ads constantly feature half-dressed or seductively posed women, links to trashy sites are everywhere you go, and everyone seems to be talking about it from first graders to pastors, school teachers to therapists. If there was one thing I would like to be able to say to husbands about this, this would be it:
Cherish your wife, honor your vows and pro-actively protect yourself, her and your family from this putrid filth. Men, you have the ability within you to either emotionally destroy your wife and your family, or to honor them and make them love and admire you even more. Ask yourself what kind of legacy you're leaving behind, right now, today. Will it be one of honor and integrity, or will it be one of shame, humiliation and embarassment? It's entirely your call.