By: Octavio Edgington
I’ve been wanting to write for a while: I just didn’t know what on. This weekend when the #MeToo movement began to trend all across social media, I knew I wanted to share maybe a male perspective.
As a man, I felt quite a bit of emotions about this topic. I was shocked to see how quickly my Facebook timeline filled with the #MeToo hashtag. I was saddened to see how many people I knew affected by sexual harassment or assault, and I didn’t even know. I was angry that we as men would allow this to happen. I was convicted that I share responsibility in this, either by actively participating in my fallen life before Christ, or by passively remaining quiet when I saw others do this.
Yet this is nothing new. It’s sad, but us men have been failing women since the beginning of time. We read in Genesis, when God created man, that He put Adam in charge of the rest of creation, including his wife. Not in a controlling way, but in a sacrificial way. The exact word utilized is the Aramaic word shamar. It’s original meaning is to protect, to preserve, and to even be willing to die to selflessly protect that which we are called to protect.
However, the fall takes a tragic turn for men and their calling. We read in Genesis 3, that the Serpent begins to talk to Eve. The Serpent, the devil himself, has invaded God’s good creation, and Adam is nowhere to be found. In the most pivotal moment, man recklessly abandoned his post, leaving his beloved wife -perfectly created for him- in the crosshairs of a being who would seek to do them the biggest harm. Adam cares only for his own safety, and allows the fall on the rest of humanity…
The story in Genesis was tragic, but incomplete. Because we are created in the image of God, He still had a perfect plan for us. He sent His only son to die in our stead, and to open a path for us to spend eternity with Him.
Time and time again, He demonstrates the way man is called to protect our Sisters and Mothers. One prime example is through Jesus saving the woman caught in adultery. Instead of looking on her, judging her for her actions, He sees her for who she truly is, a beloved daughter of The Father- filled with immense, unmeasurable beauty. He steps in front of those who accuse her, and does not allow a single person to lay a hand (or a stone) on her.
This is The One whom we are called to imitate today. Ultimately, the past is in the past, and we can’t change the immense harm that has already been caused to so many by men’s actions and inactions. We can, however, restore their dignity and prevent it from being violated again, by rising up and living out Christ’s example.
We must protect the value and dignity of women in the face of those who would seek to do harm to them. Instead of refusing to see this as a legitimate problem, we should first admit our fault. Then we should take real steps to stand up for our sisters, mothers, wives, daughters and every woman we come in contact with that are threatened by this.
We must uphold our own dignity, and the dignity of our brothers, sons, fathers and all men, by standing up when we hear disparaging comments toward women, or seek to do actions that harm women or themselves.
We must take a zero-tolerance stance on this. Instead, through the friendships we have with other men, we must keep one another accountable and grow one another in authentic and selfless love for womankind, and ultimately for all of humanity. Not because of some attraction or romantic interest, but because we as men are called to lay down our lives for our women.
We also do not shame them for anything that lies in their past, but instead share through our words and actions that they are beautiful, perfectly created in the image and likeness of a perfect God, and attest to the reality that they are very precious to Him.
While we may not be perfect, because of sin, we can still will the choice to stand up and rise to the occasion, upholding the role which we were created from the beginning of time to serve.
So will you, men?
Will you continue to allow the women around you to be hurt and attacked, or will you choose to rise to protect, honor, and selflessly love those for which we were created for?