If you missed the 1st part of this 2 part series last week, then you are really want to go read it. This is something I know most adults my age don’t truly get. If only our girls and boys would hear this and grasp it at a very young age… culture would change. Completely. Thank you, Emerson, for reminding us we are loved and we are valuable and we are strong… beautifully strong in Jesus.
Girls, you are beautiful, strong, important, and valuable the way you are.
Don’t get sucked into this “women empowerment” movement of today. I’m sure there are lots of different kinds and they are for a very good cause, but I’m referring to the ones where you see actors and singers who talk about being powerful and self-respecting women but display the complete opposite. And I’m not saying that they don’t truly care about the abuse and oppression that women experience or that their cause isn’t good. I’m just saying that I believe they are going about it completely wrong. They talk about respect, but then they’ll promote lust and sell their bodies through lyrics, costumes, and more to anyone that will pay for it. They talk about having power and being in command over themselves and even men in some cases, but you can’t be a ruler and a slave at the same time. That’s what they are – slaves to their sexual impulses, and slaves to those that abuse those impulses.
Don’t be fooled when they tell you that it’s ALL for the good of women. It may look good on the outside, but fireworks come in pretty packages too – that doesn’t stop them from being dangerous if handled in the wrong way. Yes, we should stand up for our God-given rights as humans, whether male or female. Women have been oppressed and abused in the past and continue to be in many instances which is a terrible thing, so we do need to stand up for ourselves. We deserve to be respected, in the workplace or wherever, just as much as anyone else. God created us all equal – no matter if we are male or female, or what our race is, or anything else.
But the way their doing it – how they are promoting “women’s rights” and “respect” – is not good. It’s not lifting women up, it’s bringing them down. They may disagree, saying that it’s their choice to be sexy and provocative, but the truth is that they are not free or strong. They may even try to tell you that you’re the problem, or that you don’t support women, or whatever they’re argument at the time is – just because you disagree with how they’re doing it. But they’re point is moot, because you can’t demand respect by exploiting and degrading yourself, and that’s exactly what they do. They are actually willingly giving power over to the very ones that they are manipulating and seducing, and then labeling it “strength”. That is not real power or strength, and it is in no way self-respect. Why would we expect anyone to treat us with respect if we don’t even have any respect for ourselves? They are actually hurting their own cause (and themselves) and they don’t even see it. They’re execution of their “solution” actually becomes the problem.
Please understand that I’m not trying to say that they are evil or that their cause isn’t just. They may be doing some very good things and making a difference in this world. I’m only saying that a lot of them are coming at it from a very troubling place. They’re walking a very fine line and into extremely dangerous territory, and it can very well lead people astray. They may have great intentions, but it’s been distorted on a whole due to the times we live in.
Don’t fall into that trap, and don’t fall into trap that you think you have to be perfect, or sexy, or whatever has been told to you by the world. You are beautiful just as God created you, and you’re strength is shown in how you respect and love yourself the way He made you, not by commanding power by using yourself and others. You are worth more than all of that, and you deserve real love from a real man who loves you for who you are, not a selfish boy who only cares about your body and not your heart. The Bible says that “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” (Proverbs 31:30, ESV) The world is full of deceitful charm and vanity trying to suck you in, but If you look to God, He will show you who you truly are.
One more thing – don’t willingly put yourself in places that you will be tempted. Step away from situations that make it harder to stay committed to purity, your future husband, and God. Surround yourself with people who respect themselves and respect you enough not to make your journey harder. They know their worth, and they know your’s as well because they are committed to living for God and His plan. Yes, we can still care about people who are living life the hard way and making bad decisions, and we should still show them love just as Jesus would, but we need to be very careful not to be influenced by them. Sometimes we must love them from a distance because being in those situations would make our own struggles harder. I think this is something we just have to pray about. God will show us what to do and how to love them while also taking care of ourselves.
Guys, you are handsome, strong, important, and valuable the way you are.
You don’t have to be tough and buff. Whatever they’re telling you, it’s not true. Real women want men who are caring, sensitive, and who show emotion – not demanding, controlling, disrespectful, abusive men. The latter doesn’t even deserve the title of “man”. Treat others the way that you would want them to treat you, and treat the women in your life with respect and dignity. That should go for not only your girlfriend, but also your friends, sisters, and mother. Truly learn how to care for the women in your life now, and you will learn how to truly care for and love your future wife and family.
Don’t let them tell you that you are weak if you can’t fix a problem or take care of everything by yourself. There is nothing wrong with asking for help or even needing help. That does not make you weak. Actually, in this world today, I think it takes a lot of strength to admit that you don’t have all the answers and that you need help. The Bible is full of people, including men, who cried out to God for help. He didn’t say “You weak man, do it yourself!” No, He helped them because He loved them, and He knows that we can’t do this life on our own. It’s ok to ask for help. The author of the book of Psalm says in 121:1-2 “…From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” He knew he needed help, and he wasn’t ashamed to say it. Don’t be ashamed or feel like less of a man if you don’t have the perfect fix for everything. Just do your best and go from there.
In the end, it doesn’t matter if you’re a 6’4″ muscle man or 5’2″ and small boned. All of these point to one thing – be concerned with the state of your heart, not your body or your degree of masculinity according to the world. You also deserve real love from a real woman who loves you for who you are, not an immature girl who never grows up and only cares about showing off your biceps to her friends or is disappointed with you if you aren’t 100% perfect.
I’m going to tell you the same thing I told the ladies – don’t willingly put yourself in places that you will be tempted. Step away from situations that make it harder to stay committed to purity, your future wife, and God. Surround yourself with people who respect themselves and respect you enough not to make your journey harder. They know their worth, and they know your’s as well because they are committed to living for God and His plan. As I said before, we can still care about people who are living life the hard way and making bad decisions, and we should still show them love just as Jesus would, but we need to be very careful not to be influenced by them.
All of this stuff that guys and girls go through and the feelings we all have that we “have to be what they tell us to be” comes from an unhealthy perspective that the world has of intimacy and love. I know very well from being in the entertainment industry for so many years that sex sells. That’s why it’s everywhere and a part of everything – even in how we view ourselves. We just want to be accepted and loved, and this is how they tell us we will get that acceptance and love.
“You have to be perfect. You have to be sexy. You have to be powerful. That’s how you’ll be respected and be a real man/woman.”
But I’m here to tell you that their wrong. You don’t have to be any of that. You just need to be who God created you to be, and respect yourself and others. Sex is not power and love is not a game. God created us to really love one another, and sex is a gift He gave to the one man and the one woman who He made to be together. That is how it is supposed to be, and that is the only way we can experience all that God meant for it to be.
Real men and women know their worth and they know how important it is to protect their value. They know their bodies and emotions aren’t a toy to be played with, but a sacred treasure to be kept safe, clean, and pure. That’s not to say that if you’ve given into sexual temptation before that you are of any less value than anyone else, but instead it is to say that the world tells us that “real” men and women are the opposite of all that… and that’s why so many have fallen into those temptations. Both guys and girls (that includes you) deserve real love, not the cheap imitation sold on a mass scale that comes in many forms and is all about immediate pleasure and long-lasting grief. We should all treat ourselves and each other with respect. That respect grows into selfless and true love – whether in a romantic sense with your future spouse, or even just a brotherly/sisterly kind of love with the other people in your life. When we learn to love ourselves and value our worth, we can see the value in others. We won’t be interested in what others can give us anymore, but instead we will be more concerned with what we can do for others.
Real love is not a game to be played, and you’re more than a trophy to be set on someone’s shelf to get dusty and tarnished.
We’ve all made mistakes in the past, and there’s no mistake we’ve made that God can’t forgive.
If you’ve lived a less than perfect life, like we all have, then let your heart remember that Jesus does not condemn. No matter what, God can restore you and He can make you new again. He is the only one who can fill any void – any hole or missing part of you – left behind, and He will if you ask Him too. He wants to forgive you and make you whole again in Him, because He loves you. Don’t let anyone tell you that He doesn’t love you or that you’re worthless now. Nothing you have ever done or could do can change His love for you. So if you’ve fallen into the traps of this world and believed any of the lies they’ve told you, there is still hope. Even if you’ve stumbled in your pursuit of purity or crossed a line you shouldn’t have, God is still right there with you. You don’t have to live with a cloud of guilt or shame any longer. That’s why Jesus came for us – so that if we accept His gift of salvation, we can leave our past mistakes behind us and find ourselves in Him. Through Him we have forgiveness and He can wash us clean once more.
If you’ve given into any kind of sexual temptation and you feel unworthy or impure now, know that God still sees your worth. And if you accept His gift through Jesus’ death and resurrection, then He can make you pure once more.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.“ (John 3:16-17, ESV)
“…though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.” (Isaiah 1:18, ESV)
Life’s tough… especially today with everything coming at us from every angle… but don’t give up hope or give in to what they tell you. You’re not alone, and you can make it through the hard times with the help of God and the people He has put in your life to support you. Keep your chin up, and remember Whose you are.
You are amazing, you are strong, you are important, and you are valuable… just the way you are.
Don’t ever forget that.
Your fellow traveler on the journey of life
“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” – Psalm 139:14, ESV
Walk the journey with us? That would be a blessing!