The picture that you see to the left is a picture that I found on Facebook. I really like the message that is presented in the picture and decided to turn these teachings into an article with Biblical references, since all of these thoughts are actually Biblical teachings. We live in the age of pornography unfortunately, when boys and teens grow up viewing girls and women as objects of pleasure rather than equals, human beings who have great capacity and potential. I have written on the dangers of pornography and you can read it here. Most boys have viewed porn at least once by the time they are 11 years old. This marks them for the rest of their lives. That is why we need to reach out to teenage boys and young men, in order to teach them how to respect women as the equals that they are in the eyes of God.
1. Flattery vs. genuine compliments
The wisest man who ever lived, with the exception of Christ, wrote a great deal about “flattery” and its dangers. We find this wisdom in the proverbs of Solomon.
5 A man who flatters his neighbor Is spreading a net for his steps. (Proverbs 29)
The word “flatter” literally means to make slippery in order to separate and plunder. In other words, flattery is based upon empty (slippery) words that separate (usually heart from mind in the case of a man to a woman) and allow her to be vulnerable to “plunder” or vulnerable to be taken advantage of. How many girls have been talked into doing “things” that they did not want to do just because a smooth talking boy knew how to promise her the world if she would just “let him”? Flattery is a trap and those who fall for it get burned and scarred. Girls must learn how to recognize flattery and run away from it. Solomon gives us more characteristics of flattery.
24 He who hates disguises it with his lips, But he lays up deceit in his heart. 25 When he speaks graciously, do not believe him, For there are seven abominations in his heart. 26 Though his hatred covers itself with guile, His wickedness will be revealed before the assembly. 27 He who digs a pit will fall into it, And he who rolls a stone, it will come back on him. 28 A lying tongue hates those it crushes, And a flattering mouth works ruin. (Proverbs 26)
Flattery is a disguise for hatred. If a young man is interested in a girl as a sexual object then that in itself is proof that he hates her. His desire will quickly turn to hate once his lust is momentarily quenched. There is a story in the Bible of a young man who lusted so much after a girl that he made himself love sick. She would not consent to sleeping with him until they were married so he just raped her. After he slept with her, he could not stand to look at her and kicked her out of his life. He ended up hating her more than he thought he “loved” her. This young lady’s life was ruined because of flattery and hatred. Girls, God wants you to marry a prince, not sleep with a toad. Please know how to recognize flattery and run away from the man who tries to use it on you. He is not worth it. Guys, save the compliments for your wife so that you can rejoice in her fully, as the Lord wants for you and for her.
2. Lust vs. Love
Lust and flattery are usually intertwined. When a man lusts after a woman, he wants to convince her to satisfy his “needs”. If a man wants a woman to satisfy his lust, this type of love is known as “eros” in the Bible, the root of our word “erotic”. This type of love, “loves” as long as its lusts are being satisfied. The minute that his lusts are not satisfied, he moves on to another who he thinks will meet his needs. This process repeats over and over again. If the basis of your relationship is lust, then your relationship will not last. This is the foundation for the dating game of the 20th and 21st Centuries. See someone to whom you are attracted physically. Get to know that person a little better. See if you are compatible in bed and try to build the rest of the relationship on that. And we wonder why half of the marriages end in divorce, or why almost 40% of adults cohabitate. Love, agape, on the other hand, is different. It is based on the idea of living to meet the needs of the other person, to serve and honor. If the relationship is based on love and not lust, then it will last. Here is the advice that God gives to young men on how to love instead of lust.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing ; but that she would be holy and blameless. 28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself ; 29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, 30 because we are members of His body. (Ephesians 5)
If a man truly loves instead of lusts after then he will:
- Live to serve his wife instead of seeking to have his own needs met.
- He does not seek out her flaws but instead, he focuses on her positive aspects.
- He will work to build the relationship, investing in re winning her heart daily.
Contrary to popular belief, relationships between men and women are based on more than just physical intimacy. Physical intimacy is just the icing on the cake. When men and women get their priorities straight, focusing on serving each other then relationships are satisfying and last. As you can see, the male is the initiator and that is why he is the focus of God’s commands. If the male does what he is supposed to do, then the female will respond with respect toward him. He does not have to demand it. She will willingly show it.
As a young man, are you seeking to deceive girls into satisfying your needs or do you respect women enough to work on the relationship, seeking to serve instead of being served? As a young woman, are you ready to wait for the prince who will win your heart instead of trying to get in your pants? We, both men and women, need to learn how to prepare for marriage God’s way so that we will not end up broken hearted. May the Lord help us teach these truths to the next generation.