The power rests where?

His voice was loud, his manner was harsh and his words were stinging, “When you wear that short skirt you cause men to sin and fall into the traps of lust.”

Really? I have that much power?

So if I wear my shirt buttoned up to my neck, expose no skin and ration my eyes to the ground then I have the capacity to keep a man from falling into the traps of lust?  This is a load of power as women and also it makes me wonder how do we actually view men?

Are men incapable of making decisions of what they will choose to think?  A short skirt, revealed cleavage, a bit of flesh has this kind of power to totally render a man into the depths of mindlessness….yes I think it can, but only when men are trapped, held in bondage by an identity that is not real.

MEN – often trapped behind the cultural norm believe that consuming a woman visually is “normal” BUT men are not meant to be trapped by beauty, rather in communion with beauty.

If men believe that what is outside of them has more power than who they were created to be from the inside, then they are surrendering and often unknowingly

abdicating their deepest identity….

running from their own capacity…

hiding behind bars…

Genesis 1:26 says that we are made in the image of God and the God I know does not abdicate identity, but rather continually calls me to wrestle anything within that hides, mars or stains that image.

It is not in the absence of wrestling, but actually in the presence of that wrestling that God shows up and invites us to experience something more than the “traps of lust.”

WOMEN – if we truly believe we hold this kind of  power over men we can use it in manipulative ways:

luring them in…

ignoring their capacity…

dumbing them down…

I wish it was not so, but I have to admit that I have fallen into this trap and used this power over men at times – YUCK!

I have also felt the sticky looks of lust coming to consume me and wanted to turn from men, blaming them instead of standing in the image of God that is within me to turn that lust away.

STORY – Shopping at my local grocery store there is a clerk that I watch as he literally consumes women with what feels to me like lust.  His eyes run up and down each woman’s body as they go through the checkout, never resting upon their face and meeting their gaze. Appearing innocent, he holds the receipt in a way that requires women reaching over and offering him a view of flesh.

I hated his line, I loathed this action and I continually avoided him. My view of him was nothing more than the lust that seemed to consume the air between us.

One day he randomly “took over” my carefully chosen line and reached his hand out for my basket – so gently I heard within, “Can you risk seeing MY image in him?”

I held his gaze, looked deep into his eyes, kept talking to him and calling his eyes to mine, daring to believe there was something deeper, something more. As he handed me my receipt, he looked me square in the eyes and I thanked him.

When I returned to my car, I began to shake and wondered what had just happened?

Why did this hit me this way?

Why did I even care?

Genesis says that humankind –  man and woman – are made in the image of God, and this young man has somehow forgotten his deepest identity and instead has traded it for one that is trapping him. Maybe nothing else will change, but for a moment I laid down my anger,  stood up in my truest identity and together we held the bonds of lust away from us both.

Now I look for his line, I seek him out, I want to stand face-to-face, not away from.

WOMEN – does it matter what we wear, how we dress? Yes, but what matters most is the motivation of how we wear something.

MEN- do women cause you to fall into the trap of lust? No, I believe in the strength that you have been given and I want to stand with you as you wrestle.

Seeing beyond...

You were made to see beauty, without the bars of lust!