Wise vs. Wild Contrast #19: Sustainability
SustainabilityHer ability to nurture and sustain relationships
Girl-Gone-Wild: Relationships Grow
Girl-Gone-Wise: Relationships Deteriorate
Girl-Gone-Wild: “For many a victim she laid low, and all her slain are a mighty throng.” Proverbs 7:26
Girl-Gone-Wise: “The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down.” Proverbs 14:1
The Proverbs 7 woman didn’t respect men. She just wanted to have a good time. She didn’t care if anyone got hurt in the process. She didn’t care that her fling would wound her husband, or that her behavior would have negative consequences for her lover. She was too selfish to be concerned about hurting them.
“For many a victim she laid low, and all her slain are a mighty throng” is military language. Several commentators think the Sage used this description to bring to his son’s mind the familiar image of the Phoenician goddess, Astarte. Astarte is queen of the Morning Star, goddess of war-a wild and furious warrior who sadistically “plunges knee-deep in knights’ blood; hip deep in the gore of heroes.” She is also Queen of the Evening Star, goddess of sensuality and passion. She is beautiful, desirable, sexual, savage, and deadly. She’s a ruthless conqueror who leaves the battlefield strewn with corpses. Solomon hoped the allusion would help his son grasp the danger of associating with such a woman.
The seductress causes the downfall and destruction of many men. From all outward appearances, she’s just a beautiful woman looking for a friend. But in actuality, she’s a “man-slayer.” She uses men. She hurts them. She’s not a builder, she’s a destroyer. She tears her “victim” down and “lays him low.” The fact that she uses him to meet her own selfish ends, disregards that it will affect him negatively, and discards him when he no longer serves her purposes demonstrates contempt and a severe lack of respect.
Have you noticed how prevalent disrespect toward men has become? In the sixties, women complained that men victimized and disrespected them. Now the tables have turned. Our sons, husbands, fathers, and men-friends are subjected to malicious jokes and attitudes that wouldn’t be tolerated toward any other group. Women portray them as selfish, lazy, inconsiderate, hormone-crazed buffoons. They gleefully slander and tear them down simply because they are male. Women today are like the Phoenician goddess. One moment, they entice men with their beauty and sexual prowess, and the next, they pull out their swords and slice them down.
Male-bashing, the stereotyping and portrayal of men as brutal, stupid, or otherwise objectionable, is commonplace. In Spreading Misandry: The Teaching of Contempt for Men in Popular Culture, professors Katherine Young and Paul Nathanson from McGill University warn that male-bashing is so pervasive in movies, television, comic strips, and even greeting cards, it could have “disastrous consequences” for the well-being of the next generation.
Christians are not innocent of this sin. I am astonished when I see the haughtiness and contempt with which Christian women treat men. I feel grieved when I hear them tell jokes, mock, deride, put down, and criticize their male colleagues, friends, boyfriends, and husbands. I wonder how they can have the audacity to disrespect and hurt those whom God has created. Sadly, the church is filled with man-slayers. Instead of building men up, we attack, destroy, and bring them down. We use the sword of our tongues to lay them low. Disrespect is one of the main reasons relationships break down. Can you imagine how much longer they’d last if we treated our husbands and friends with respect and didn’t lash out to wound them? If, instead of criticizing, complaining, whining, and demanding that they live up to their responsibilities, we took care to ensure that we lived up to ours?
The following list summarizes some of the Bible’s directives on how we ought to regard and respect others. They represent the nuts-and-bolts on what God requires of us in our relationships with one another:
- “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 2:3-5)
- “Love builds up.” (1 Corinthians 8:1)
- “Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.” (Romans 15:2)
- “Encourage one another and build one another up.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
- “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” (Ephesians 4:29)
- “See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another.” (1 Thessalonians 5:15)
- “Do not grumble against one another.” (James 5:9)
- “Bear one another’s burdens.” (Galatians 6:2)
- “With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love.” (Ephesians 4:2)
- “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32)
- “Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” (Colossians 3:13)
- “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” (John 13:34)
- “Let all things be done for building up.” (1 Corinthians 14:26)
The thing about these commands is that they have no qualifiers. They’re not dependent on how our partner behaves. They don’t say, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouth if no corrupting talk comes out of his.” Or “Build him up if he builds you up.” Or “Be kind and tenderhearted, forgiving him if he is kind and tenderhearted, forgiving you.” God doesn’t give us the option of respecting only those who are respectable. He commands: “Honor everyone!” (1 Peter 2:17). The reasons most relationships break down is that the parties spend more time pointing fingers at how the other person is failing to be honorable, rather than making sure that they themselves are.
It breaks my heart when I see wives “man-slaying” their husbands-cutting them down instead of building them up. Women, don’t ever forget that when you hurt your husband, you hurt yourself. “The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down” (Proverbs 14:1). A Girl-Gone-Wise does not tear down. She is a builder and not a destroyer. She demonstrates respect.
Â© Mary A. Kassian
This is a pre-publication excerpt from “Girls Gone Wise in a World gone Wild,” Â© Mary A. Kassian to be published by Moody Publishers in 2010. All rights reserved. You are welcome to link to this post, but please do not copy and/or reproduce this copyrighted material without express written permission of Moody Publishing.