By Al Forsythe • Christ Prince of Peace Retreat Center • Knoxville, Tennessee
After watching the very lustful and sexualized video of Bruno Mars’ song “Versace on the Floor”, I needed to ask myself, “How is a Christian man expected to react?” My first thought goes to Romans 12:1-2.
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing, and perfect will.”
Do I want to be a man of God? While this video at first seems to be a love song and comes across as sweet and charming, what it really is doing is objectifying women and encouraging lustful thoughts that lead to sinful destructive desires. As men of God we must put away all of the rationalizations justifying our lustful thoughts to excuse it: “I’m just a normal, red-blooded American man. My thoughts aren’t any worse than any other man’s. It’s not hurting anyone. Besides, I’m a good man.”
No – I am disobedient to God when I entertain lustful thoughts.
When we objectify women even in our thoughts, we continue the exploitation of women by people who, like Bruno Mars, mask this sin and say that it is a victimless situation. In reality, it plants the seed in women that they then have to act, dress, and look a certain way if they want men to really love them. Is this how you want your spouse to be viewed by other men? Do want your daughter to be looked at as an object by other men?
We cannot become vulnerable to lust. When we indulge in a particular sin, it makes us more vulnerable to temptation in that sin. For Christian men who have yielded to the sin of lust, we have to recognize that we will never become so strong that lust will just glance off us. Whenever we start thinking that we have finally conquered lust once and for all, we are in trouble. “Let him who thinks he stands take heed, lest he fall.” (1 Corinthians 10:12)
But being vulnerable to lust and yielding to it are not synonymous. We will never be free from the temptation, but we can be free from the sin. By constantly recognizing our weakness, we must be determined to trust in the Lord, who is our strength. “When I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:10)
Someone once said, “Be careful of your thoughts, they become words. Be careful of your words, they become actions. Be careful of your actions, they become habits. Be careful of your habits, they become character. Be careful of your character, for it becomes your destiny.” Lust must be conquered at the thought level. Unfortunately that is where our world takes us through music and images that mask themselves as something harmless and all about love. Let’s not be confused.
As Bruno Mars himself says “Don’t be confused by my smile, ’cause I ain’t ever been more for real, for real.”