I’m eating lunch at a restaurant with a friend, enjoying the wonderful food and conversation. Out of the corner of my eye, there is something that alerts me.
Sometimes it is what they are wearing … or not wearing. Sometimes it is their gait or pace in their high-heeled shoes. Sometimes it is something about their shape. It is an alert of the feminine.
I know the kind of man I want to be. I want to be the kind of man who does not turn my head to look. I want to be the kind of man who, if he looks, turns away as soon as he notices that he looked.
But what I find myself doing too often is having lingering eyes. Or worse, I turn back for a second or third look.
In the past, I’ve carried shame that a 48 year-old Christian man who grew up going to church and has been married for 28 years would have this problem.
The Conflict In My Soul
The conflict in my soul is that I remember that Jesus said “… I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:28 NIV)
I also remember that James told us “When a person is carried away with desire, lured by lust, and when desire becomes the focus and takes control, it gives birth to sin. When sin becomes fully grown, it produces death.” (James 1:15 VOICE)
I thought for so long that when I noticed a woman who was seemingly dressed intentionally to turns heads when she walked into a room, that I was committing adultery in my heart.
I did everything I could do to conceal this from others, especially my wife. It was a piece of perpetual shame in my life that I did my best to hide from others. And like all things that we think we hide from other people, the secret begins to have its own power. It is as if shame drives more of the same behavior.
Point of Grace
One of the things I learned when I attended The Crucible Project Weekend is that shame does not exist when I own and claim the things that I have been hiding. The point of grace for me came when I named and owned this issue as my own. In my head, I knew Jesus was forgiving but I wasn’t feeling forgiven. But in that confession to real live men, I found that I began to experience and feel forgiveness in a real way (James 5:16).
Faulkner’s Bird Analogy
I believe it was Abilene Christian University professor, Dr. Paul Faulkner, who shared this analogy with me.
Noticing that something beautiful is in your awareness is like a bird flying over your head. You have little control over that happening. But when the bird begins to build a nest on your head, you have moved into lust. Lingering eyes and second looks are where we begin to head into desire becoming sin.
No Second Look Pledge
I am imperfectly going after being the man God wants me to be. I want to be the man who does not have lingering eyes and does not take a second look. I do not want nests being built on my head. So I have made great strides in The Crucible Project work freeing myself from shame and removing the power of this issue in my life.
I’ve made a commitment to myself one of my pastor friends calls the “No Second Look Pledge.” If I am alerted to feminine beauty around me that is not my wife, I will “bounce” my eyes away. I commit to being intentional about keeping my eyes away from a second look.
When I fail, I will own it and be held accountable by my brothers. And I will allow grace to rule over shame.
And the journey continues…
By Roy Wooten
Roy completed his initial Crucible weekend in 2009 and has been the longtime leader of The Crucible Project community in Houston. Roy and his wife Devra have led over 135 of their Life Together Forever Couples Weekends and are the authors of The Secret to Lifetime Love: Speaking and Hearing Truth. He also authored Full Throttle Into Fatherhood and is the Executive Director of Shield Bearer Counseling Centers in Houston, Texas. Follow Roy at LifeTogetherForever.com.
Photo Credit: How To Win A Man’s Heart