When living in Europe, I was on a business trip kilometers away from Karyn, my wife. Several of us went to a restaurant to have a meal. Over time, the group dwindled down to me, a female colleague and two other men. One of the men was dropping hints on the female saying that he wanted to see if her hotel room was bigger than his, to see her dog that she had back in her room, and other "seemingly" innocuous things.
I excused myself for a moment and as I stepped out of the bathroom to head back to the table, the woman was standing there at the door. She told me, "I don't know if you've noticed but "George" is hitting on me. I am really uncomfortable with him doing that. Could you make sure that I am not alone with him?"
She and I had become fairly good friends, we both had similar supervisory positions in the same company and I was kind of mentoring her since she was new to the position. I said to her, "what would you like me to do?" She responded, "when we back to the hotel (we were all staying at the same hotel), could you walk me to my room? That will discourage George and he will get the message I don't want him in my room."
I had no reason to believe that she had designs for me, but being a male with a big ego, I was taken aback for a moment. I had to make a decision. Which is more important at this moment? To respect and honor my female friend's request and risk people thinking I went to her room or choose to not be alone with her and avoid even the appearance of evil?
Do I choose to walk her to her hotel room and risk rumor or do I not so as to avoid any gossip? Do I choose to honor her or protect my reputation? It should be noted that she apparently did not have designs for me, she was wanting me to help send a message to a man who was engaging in sexual innuendo.
So, why the tire? Let me use this tire to illustrate the decision-making model.* Imagine at the center is my desire to please God in all that I do. That is the axle of this model. Now, imagine this tire divided into three parts. Each part representing the three goals of Ironstrikes. All of these goals are admirable and God-honoring. However, I was now faced with my personal integrity or honoring a woman , a choice between two good, yet seemingly conflicting goals.
This tire, separated into three parts, the three goals, is constantly on the move. For the tire to sit still and lay flat on one goal results in an out of balance tire. It will become flat if it doesn't rotate. At times, one goal is hitting the ground, at other times, another goal is in play. So, in following this illustration, no goal has precedence over the other. In making this decision, I had to keep those three goals in mind with full consideration of the axle, pleasing God, as the central basis. Pleasing God is what these goals revolve around.
I told my female friend that I would be glad to walk her back to her hotel room. As we went back to the table to conclude the conversation, I was praying about my decision and asking God for His wisdom. "Lord, did I make the right decision? Is honoring my friend's request more important at this moment than protecting my reputation?" The answer came pretty clearly.
Now, lest you think I'm crazy, no, I didn't hear God's audible voice. I felt a calm, a real peace at this decision and then in my head, God spoke thru my thoughts, in my own voice I heard, "You do what is right and I will protect your reputation."
We dismissed ourselves and I walked her back to her room. It was about a 15-minute walk. We got to the hallway that led to her room and she thanked me and went to her room. I then went to my room and called Karyn letting her know what happened so if she heard any rumors, she would know the truth.
So what do you think? Did I make the right decision? You may be thinking, "Dale sure made a big deal out of nothing." Maybe I did, maybe not. However, I learned how little things can become big things. I'm hoping that my example encourages you to be sensitive to God's leading in your life.
* I am indebted to my parents who devised this decision-making model. I have altered it here to fit this illustration.
BE A MAN.
Just like children, teenagers have motivations. Research indicates that there are essentially 11 goals of teenagers. To understand these goals makes you a proactive parent. If you figure out a teen's goal you will know how to handle it:
1. Superiority - these teens must be the best at everything
2. Conformity - Living up completely to the standards of established society
3. Popularity - these teens accumulate as many friends and social contacts as possible.
4. Defiance - these teens want to be in control or at least not controlled by adults
5. Sexual promiscuity - these teens are highly active and defiant about their sexual behavior
6. Inadequacy - these teens enjoy the victim role and seek consolation for their shortcomings
7. Charm - these teens use smooth talk and pleasing manners
8. Physical beauty or strength - these teenagers rely completely on their good looks, physical strength or abilities
9. Sexism - these teens become overly stereotypical masculine or feminine
10. Intellectuality - these teens value intelligence and study, read or discuss ideas most of the time
11. Hyperreligiosity - these teens immerse themselves in religious ideas and activities. All they talk about are religious ideas.
The overarching goal for teenagers is to make the adult in charge look stupid. Therefore, it is important to not be sucked into this game. Power struggles rarely work in interactions with teenagers. Teenagers will challenge and if you respond in an authoritarian manner, it won't work.
A key sentence to remember in dealing with teenagers is this:
RULES WITHOUT RELATIONSHIP LEADS TO REBELLION
What teenagers need more than anything from their parents is an honest, loving relationship. To just mete out punishment for infractions won't go far in building a relationship with them.
Let me ask you a few questions:1. Do you spend time alone with your teenager doing something that s/he wants to do?
2. Do you show an interest in things that interest him/her?
3. Are the consequences of behavior logical? For example, when caught speeding, does s/he lose car privileges or do you ban him/her from the computer? The consequences of behavior need to be logical. In other words, the consequences need to relate to the infraction.
4. Most importantly, are you a consistent Christian? Teens can spot phoniness a mile away. If you say one thing and do another, they will be turned off. If you have "hidden" behaviors, they know it. If they don't know it and then find out later, your integrity is down the tubes.
5. Do you live a life of openness and humility? Do they see you apologize to people when you are clearly wrong?
6. Do they see you respect everyone no matter who they are?
7. Do they see you love their mother?
These are just some simple steps to get you on your right foot with your teenager. Think about these seven questions.
BE A MAN.
To properly parent, it is important to know what motivates children. If you can figure out a child's goal, then you can figure out how to best help them. If you can identify the goals of a child you can plan your corrective action much more intelligently
Research indicates that there are four basic goals for kids:
1. Attention - Children want attention be it negative or positive. Negative attention is better than no attention.
2. Power - Children can openly rebel or be quietly stubborn
3. Revenge - lying, stealing, or hurting others
4. Inadequacy - This passive child relays the message, "Don't expect anything from me because I don't have anything to give."
CORRECTIVE ACTION - Four steps can help you to be proactive in your parenting. These four steps can be remembered easily with the acronym CARE.
C - Catch yourself - don't yell, talk too much or preach. Make action, not
words, the principal means of conveying intentions.
A - Assess the child's goals - What goals are being served by the behavior?
R - Respond with consequences and encouragement - Consequences
need to be logical and natural.
E - Execute with consistency, friendliness, and respect - Remember
that rules without relationship leads to rebellion.
As Christian fathers, we are to discipline and instruct our children in a godly manner, to not exasperate them or provoke them to anger.
BE A MAN.
Early in our marriage, we would receive Victoria's Secret catalogs in the mail. Even back then, these catalogs were pornography. They've only gotten worse.
Nevertheless, I told Karyn about the draw those catalogs had for me and I asked her to not have those in the house, especially since we were raising boys.
By starving my eyes from those catalogs, they came to the point of having less attraction for me. Over time, by telling Karyn about the things that turned me on, she was able to help me. We would talk about those things that were tempting. It was liberating to tell her and she would continue to love me and shield me from those things that held my attraction.
After the boys were raised, I accompanied her to a Victoria's Secret store where she was trying on some clothes. Being the dutiful husband, I went with her. I thought, "I've gotten past that Victoria's Secret temptation. I can handle this now."
While I was sitting there, minding my own business and trying not to look at the images of scantily clad women on the walls, a very attractive young lady walked up to me and started talking to me. I was polite and talked with her. Then another attractive young lady and then another. Before I knew it, I was surrounded by three very attractive young ladies.
Well, my ego got the best of me. I started thinking, "these girls think I'm hot. They're talking to me because they really like me." I found myself paying more attention to them while they were flirting with me (or I thought they were flirting with me). Then it hit me. "What in the world am I doing? I'm almost old enough to be these young ladies' father!" Then Karyn came out of the dressing room and paid for some clothes she was buying.
When we got outside, I confessed to Karyn what had happened. She simply said, "of course those sales clerks were talking to you, you're safe. You're much older than them. The longer you stay in the store, the more likely I will buy something." Well, I'll tell you, my ego was instantly deflated. We continued our conversation and Karyn said that the clerks were occupying me so that she would spend more time shopping.
Why do I share this story with you?
Well I learned a few things about temptation:
- I said to myself before going into the store, "I can handle this." God says, "So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall." Knowing this was a past temptation, it would have been wise to ask God for strength before entering. It might have been better to just not go into that store.
- I have a big ego and I need to keep it in check. "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." If I stay humble, God will give me more grace.
- Temptation changes. I thought that I had the sin of lust conquered. However, this temptation played into something different. I was on my guard for lust but not on guard for my ego.
- My ego got in the way of my ability to think clearly. These young ladies were just doing what they had been taught. "Keep the hubby happy and his wife will buy more stuff." I was being played and never realized it.
So, my conclusion, my goal of this post is this:
Do you let your ego go unchecked?
Do you humble yourself so that God can give you more grace?
If you think that you have temptation conquered, get ready. You will find yourself tempted in ways that you haven't been considering.
BE A MAN.
I was tasked with assessing a man regarding his sexual addiction.
Unfortunately, his tale was all too familiar.
As he sat across from me telling me that he is now considered a sexual offender and must register with the local police every time he moves, he started to unfold his story. He told me that he had found his Dad's stash of Playboy and Hustler magazines when he was just eight years old. That is a bad sign... The earlier a man is exposed to porn the greater are his chances that he will become addicted and the greater are his chances of getting into legal trouble.
The more he looked at porn, the more he wanted to look at porn. (Interesting cycle, don't you think?) The more he looked at porn, the more he fantasized about doing what he was watching on the porn movies.
The more he watched porn, the less developed his social skills became. This happens because porn causes a man to be selfish and just think about his own pleasure. Friendships are unnecessary. Girls are unnecessary because the girls in porn movies and magazines are always accessible and there for a man's pleasure.
It's a terrible cycle that entraps a man. He wants to approach girls but fears rejection. He wants to do the things he fantasizes about but he fears she will say no. Finally, his isolation led him to frustration and he decided he would act upon some of his fantasies.
A really weird thing about men addicted to porn is that they think that women are turned on by seeing male genitalia. The porn that men watch gives a terribly distorted perspective of sexuality. In actuality, women are more attracted to an intimate relationship than the male physique.
This man started to act upon his fantasies from the porn that he had been viewing over the years.
One of his fantasies was that he would "accidentally" leave his zipper down and a woman would notice and become aroused. He would walk around in grocery stores with his zipper down, fantasizing about his inevitable sexual encounter. He was disappointed that no women noticed.
So, he developed another plan. He decided that he would sit in his car close to the exits of stores with his pants open and hope that women would see and become aroused. That didn't work either.
So, his next step would be to call women over to his car, "to ask a question" and hope that with his pants open, they would notice, be sexually aroused and want to be with him. He continued to be very disappointed.
He thought, because of his distorted perspective of women and sexuality, that what women were wanting to see was that he was sexually aroused, that he was erect, ready for sex. So, he would sit in his car and fantasize about a woman jumping into his car and they would drive to a secluded place for a sexual encounter.
One morning, while he was sitting in his car masturbating and fantasizing, he rolled his window down and asked a woman to come over because he had a "question" he wanted to ask her. She approached his car, looked at him and where his hand was and instantly became repulsed. She noted his license plate and called the police when she got home.
She made a report to the police and he was arrested and prosecuted. His prosecution was made public, his family was embarrassed and he lost his job.
As he finished his story, I asked, "have you gotten rid of your porn?" I knew his answer would be "no." I was right. The court wanted recommendations at the end of my assessment. My recommendations were necessary: no cable tv, no vcr/dvd player, no internet, no smart phone, no porn. If he was caught in possession of any of these items, he would go to prison. Also, he needed intensive counseling. If this failed, then he would need residential treatment.
However, when the judge found out that he had not given up his porn, he acted swiftly. This man immediately went to prison.
Wouldn't it be nice if all of my stories ended in a positive note?
This is a depressing, disgusting story.Porn wins."Behold, you have sinned against the LORD and be sure that your sin will find you out."
BE A MAN.
Pornography is tearing apart the fabric of our society. You may think this is an overstatement. After reading,“The Social Costs of Pornography”
by the Witherspoon Institute, I think it may be an understatement
In 2008, the Witherspoon Institute sponsored the first multidisciplinary exploration of the social costs of pornography. Scholars from various fields including philosophy, psychology, and medicine were included in the forum. Every major shade of religious belief was represented, including Christianity, Judaism, Islam, agnosticism, and atheism. And both the left and right in American politics were present. They all agreed that there is a substantial multidimensional, empirical record of the harms pornography brings to society. Obviously, such agreement is rare.
Today’s pornography is different from any in the past in three ways. (1) Accessibility
. The Internet has made porn ubiquitous. (2) Quality
. Today’s porn is much more hardcore. (3) Consumption
. Porn consumption has increased radically with the advent of the Internet. 69% of men and 10% of women report viewing pornography more than once a month. 87% of men admit using it in the past year. The researchers conclude, “In sum, there is evidence that more people—children, adolescents, and adults—are consuming pornography—sporadically, inadvertently, or chronically—than every before” (15).
How does pornography actually harm people? The researchers list a plethora of ways. Each of these points is supported with empirical evidence in the report. Keep in mind that these are objective
facts about pornographic consumption, not my subjective opinions.
· Those who view pornography overestimate how frequently certain sexual acts are actually practiced, which increases one’s willingness to do unconscionable things (18).
· Porn viewers physically map their brains based on the images they see. Pornographic consumption re-maps the physical structure of the brain (19).
· Many men who view porn lose the ability to relate to or be close to women (20).
· Porn viewers become de-sensitized to the barrage of imagery, and as a result, child pornography and violent pornographic images often lose their ability to shock and disgust (20).
· Women often report distress and harm when discovering that their husbands view porn. They typically feel betrayal, loss, mistrust, devastation, and anger as a result of their partner’s behavior.
· Porn users have an increased likelihood of divorce and family break-up (23-24).
· Those who had an extramarital affair were three times more likely to have used Internet pornography than those who had not.
· Porn leads men to place less value on marital fidelity and more value on casual sex (24).
· Therapists report seeing fourteen- and fifteen-year-old boys addicted to porn (29).
· An Italian study reported that boys who view porn were more likely to report having sexually harassed a peer or having forced someone to have sex (30).
· Adolescent girls who report using pornography are more likely to report being victims of passive violence such as sexual harassment and rape (31).
· Today’s consumption of pornography encourages sexual exploitation such as trafficking (33).
· Adolescents who view pornography are more likely to view women as sexual objects (35).
· Porn consumption raises the risk of sexually risky behavior (35).
· Men who use pornography are less attractive to potential female partners (37).
· Exposure to pornography decreases sexual satisfaction with one’s partner for both men and
· Chronic pornography use is associated with depression and unhappiness (38).
· Users often report disgust and shame at finding themselves stimulated by images that would have once repulsed (39).
What do we do? For starters, can you help spread the word about the dangers of pornography? Please consider getting a copy of the report, “The Social Costs of Pornography,” and study it. Talk to your friends about it. Share it with your family and church. Blog about it. Or forward this blog to as many people as you can. There needs to be a renewed conversation about how pornography is damaging this generation. We can no longer ignore the most dangerous health hazard to this generation. Our kids deserve better.
This post was written by Sean McDowell. The original post can be found here: http://www.conversantlife.com/morality/the-social-costs-of-pornographyBE HOLY.BE A MAN.
I love movies. I love getting the scoop on upcoming movies. That has led to reading entertainment and movie magazines and adding movie blogs to my blog reader.
I have found movie trailers and even reading information about upcoming movies to can be a trigger. Movie companies push the buttons we like. For the teen and young adults it’s the action scenes, fast clips, and amazing CGI monsters. For women it’s the romantic story, the hunky guy, and the story of love lost and love found again. For college-aged kids they show parties out of control, sexual adventures, or the forever popular “guy or gal who has to lose their virginity before leaving high school.”
For those of us with a sexual appetite, trailers always seem to have the hot girl or guy and the glimpse of a sex scene. My buttons are the sexy clips and the teasing of a sexual or romantic story.RED-BAND TRAILERS
Have you heard of these yet? Redband trailers are “R-rated” trailers that could include heavy language, violence, gore, or sexier scenes. Redbands are popular and accessible. It’s another marketing technique that plays on our desire to explore the “forbidden”. The trailers themselves can be trigger, but the idea of watching a video that’s too rough for the TV or movie theater is also triggery.SOME SIMPLE STRATEGIES
If trailers are triggery for you too, let’s strengthen our purity strategy around them. Here are some tips:
- Don’t watch movie trailers or sneak peek scenes online.
- Stay away from redband trailers.
- Talk about this trigger to your accountability partner or spouse.
- Stick with safer movie sites like PluggedIn.com and CommonSenseMedia.org to research movies.
For the movie theater
- Come 10 minutes late to the movie or get your seats and step out for the trailers.
- Focus on the seat in front of your or the corner of the screen if a trigger scene comes on.
- Stop going to R-rated movies, which have the strongest trailers.
Struggles with movie trailers may not the same as porn and masturbation struggles, but they are all part of our purity strategy. We are working toward “no hint of sexual immorality”
and to develop pure minds.
This post was written by Jeff Fisher. You can view the original post here: http://porntopurity.com/blog/2012/09/04/tough-trigger-movie-trailers/BE HOLY.BE A MAN.
We must remember that the true sign of maturity in the Lord is not in our theological understanding. I have known men who were astute in theology but their lives were full of sin. I have known men who would prepare sermons on Saturday night and then to reward themselves they would go down to the gas station and purchase pornography. To simply know theology is not to know God. To know facts about Christ is not the same as knowing Christ. To talk about prayer is not the same as praying. To talk about evangelism is not the same as actually talking to the lost about Jesus. I could go on and on.
Galatians 5:22-23 is the best measuring tool for someone who claims to be maturing in the Lord. Pride has a way of deceiving us and making us think that just because we know more than the “average” Christian (which is sadly not much) or because we read our Bibles today then we think we are doing pretty good. The reality is that we can do the motions of Christianity but miss Christ. To really grow in Christ is to be expressing the fruit of the Spirit as seen in Galatians 5:22-23. The passage reads:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Are these showing in your life child of God? You can quote from the Greek text all day long but if the fruit of the Spirit is not showing in your life, what is the point? The fruit of the Spirit shows that we are in the vine (John 15:1-11). Paul the Apostle wrote in Romans 11:16, “If the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, so is the whole lump, and if the root is holy, so are the branches.”
Our fruit flows from being grounded in the root of Christ.
Never confuse knowing with doing. Never confuse knowledge with a relationship with God. Never confuse knowledge with the fruit of the Spirit. As we abide in Christ by faith, the Spirit of God helps us bear the fruit but we must abide in Christ. Not in a book but in Christ. Not in the Greek text but in Christ.
This post was written by my friend, Seeking Disciple. For the original post, go to: http://arminiantoday.com/2012/09/04/the-true-sign-of-maturity-in-the-lord/BE HOLY.BE A MAN.
Open Your Heart, Pop Out of Your Rut
Perhaps you've noticed that familiar inner patterns automatically kicks in as soon as you...
- Sense that you're being criticized
- Sense that your spouse is withdrawing from you
- Discover an opportunity to feast on lust
- Worry your partner is lusting after someone else
- Feel disrespected by your kids
- Feel left out by your friends
- Are disappointed in your own performance
- etc., etc., etc.
We cherish our human capacity for resourcefulness and innovation, but how creative do we really permit ourselves to be? So many of our inner responses follow these old tracks created more by our programming than our preferences, by our conditioning than our consciences.
Once we find ourselves in those inner ruts, the behavior patterns we manifest become quite predictable as well. We engage in some version of fight, flee, or freeze. We accuse. We blame. We criticize. We escape. We pull away. We put up a wall. We numb out. We bite our tongue. We pretend we aren't affected.
Our mental ruts have channelled us into behavioral ruts... which then push our loved ones and associates into self-defeating and self-perpetuating ruts of their own. Life becomes a continual round of Emotional Groud Hog Day. New, potentially fresh interactions--sometimes even with brand new people--but somehow they end up feeling eerily familiar. A new day!... but lived in the same old, same old way.
Here is an experiment to try out. It just takes a minute, but when it works the difference can be profound:
- Acknowledge a defensive/protective reaction has come up.
- Notice what you feel.
- Realize that reaction (or part of you) is trying to help.
- Move the reaction you're feeling to your heart.
- Reengage with the situation or interaction in a deliberately open-hearted way.
- Ask God to show you how to handle this reaction and use that reaction to draw you closer to God.
Do it two or three times a day when you feel the gravitational pull of outdated, unwanted emotional reactions. This post is adapted from Dr. Mark Chamberlain. You can find his original post with comments here: http://markchamberlainphd.blogspot.com/2012/07/open-your-heart-pop-out-of-your-rut.htmlBE HOLY.BE A MAN.
God can never be put into a box. When you think that a story is over or God has done all He can do in a situation, He reminds you that He has plans for us that we could never think, dream or even imagine.If you remember from the previous two posts,
there was a pastor and cattleman. The pastor lived a godly life. The cattleman lived life like Esau:
desiring to be the best, be the manliest, having the most and grabbing all you can from life because "you only go around once." He lived a life of sensuality. The cattleman wasn't a bad man, he just slightly missed the mark.
God was working in the cattleman's sons' lives. One of the cattleman's sons finally came to himself.
He had experienced heartache and sadness from his father, his siblings, his wives and his children. All of these heart wrenching experiences finally brought him to the point where he realized that the way he experiences life leads to moral, financial and spiritual bankruptcy.
This man became what God desired of him. He found comfort in being with the family of the pastor, visiting them frequently and enjoyed having them to his home. There was a real change in his heart.
There was a tenderness that he had never experienced before as he let God have more and more of his past, present and future.
Life continued to be difficult for the one cattleman's son. He still had the pain of his upbringing to deal with. Some of his behavior had become so automatic that he still found himself grabbing for two pieces of bread and challenging the pastor's sons in manliness, but now, he was listening when the Holy Spirit reminded him that he was a new man.
He still had to face his siblings and he worked hard to break down the Esau spirit
in their relationships. His own children, who experienced the pain of his lifestyle, finally were able to see that their father had truly changed. He was now working tirelessly to make up for lost time and become more of what God desired for him all along.
The cattleman's son's life is not over. His life is not what it should have been but it is becoming what it could have been. He learned an exciting principle in which he is applying to his life: it is never too late to do the right thing.
So, as we conclude this three-part story of living like Esau, I ask you for two things:
1) Will you take a moment and pray for this cattleman's son? Ask God to continue to mold this man into being the man of God that he can be.
2) Consider your own life. Do you live like Esau? Are you looking out for yourself and looking for the best, seeking sensuality and the immediate gratification of your desires?
If so, it is never too late to do the right thing.
Ask God to change you. Become the man that God knows you can be. BE HOLY.BE A MAN.