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Real Men Treat Women With Respect

In 1 Timothy, the Apostle Paul encouraged his protégé to relate to the believers in local churches in a familial way. The wording is specific for the church, of course, but it applies to how we view others. Paul says, treat “older women as mothers, and with all propriety, the younger women as sisters” (1 Timothy 5:1-2). With this instruction, Paul is helping Timothy to understand that he should treat others (including women) with love and respect. That’s true everywhere.

Men know that women are people created in the image of God, not an object to be ogled.

2. Men have enough self-control to wait.

Jennifer Lawrence’s evaluation of the male ability to exhibit sexual restraint is all too common in today’s society. Boys—unlike men—are impatient. Boys value selfish pleasure more than sacrificial love. Boys impatiently settle for less than reality (pornography) in hopes of re-creating it with a real woman one day.

In contrast, men are patient. Men control themselves. Men know the difference between real relationships and the perceived pleasure of porn. Again, the Apostle Paul tells us according to God this looks like “that you abstain from sexual immorality, so that each of you knows how to control his own body in sanctification and honor, not with lustful desires, like the Gentiles who don’t know God” (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5). (And of course, this applies to women and men, though I am making specific application to men.)

Real men are playing the long game and not the short game. They know that greater satisfaction will come in the context of a committed marriage relationship. A man—acting like a man—desires to be with the type of woman who respects herself enough to demand she be treated as a human being and not an object.

3. Men respect, rather than exploit, women.

Just about anyone, Christian or not, would agree that one of the most problematic societal issues throughout the world today is the sexual exploitation and trafficking of women. It most certainly goes on here in the United States, but thankfully we have laws in place to help prevent it. The laws don’t always work perfectly, but our society agrees that such trafficking is wrong.

However, the “men” who regularly download and trade nude photos of celebrities (including Jennifer Lawrence) do not understand what it truly means to be a man. They are pro-exploitation, whether they realize it or not. Exploiting a woman’s image is still exploitation—even if she sends it to you to keep you from looking at (other) porn.

Men acting like men do not exploit women. Men respect women.

Men, acting like men, know that women are made in the image of God and deserving of dignity and respect—they are image bearers. This is how God desires our world to operate; as the Bible relates at the very beginning in the book of Genesis, “So God created man in His own image; He created him in the image of God; He created them male and female” (Genesis 1:27).

Women Are not Images, but Image Bearers.

Women are image bearers, not just images to amuse the sexual appetite of boys. Actually, godly boys know that as well, so the contrast here is between the immaturity of childish men acting like selfish boys rather than godly men. The issue is childish selfishness, not age.

Yet, we live in a world that is not shocked at a statement that “ether your boyfriend is going to look at porn or he is going to look at you.”

That’s a boy’s world.

The fact that so many miss this reminds us why men need to be reminded to “act like men” (1 Corinthians 16:3).

Chris Martin contributed to this blog post.  

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Ed Stetzer, Ph.D., is a professor and dean at Wheaton College where he also serves as Executive Director of the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center. He has planted, revitalized, and pastored churches, trained pastors and church planters on six continents, has earned two master’s degrees and two doctorates, and has written hundreds of articles and a dozen books. He is Regional Director for Lausanne North America, is the editor-in-chief of Outreach Magazine, and leads the Stetzer ChurchLeaders podcast. Ed is frequently cited in, interviewed by, and writes for news outlets such as USAToday and CNN. He is the Founding Editor of The Gospel Project, a curriculum used by more than 1.7 million individuals each week for bible story. His national radio show, Ed Stetzer Live, airs Saturdays on Moody Radio and affiliates. He serves as interim teaching pastor of Calvary Church in New York City and serves as teaching pastor at Highpoint Church.