A friend of mine shared his thoughts regarding my last post, Guard Others, and I thought it'd be best to clarify and elaborate some in response =)
But first, I hope that by sharing with you about how to guard your hearts and seeking to not be a stumbling block for others, you hear me for what I intend to articulate. In no way am I blaming women for the lust of men, and I do not blame men for the lust and fantasy of women. We are each responsible for our own thoughts, actions, and sin. We cannot point the finger and say "they made me think/dress/speak/feel this way!" I don't believe that to be the case at all. My point however is, that we as brothers and sisters in Christ are called to seek to love one another and I believe that can be done by doing our part to avoid being stumbling blocks to one another. But at the end of the day, we are each responsible to "take every thought captive to obey Christ." - 2 Corinthians 10:5.
I've mentioned several times before that men and women are very different. And not all men and women fall into the "typical" categories. But, men are typically much more visual than women. Yes, women notice attractive men, but what happens in our minds post visual encounter is different than what occurs in a man's mind. Women tend to be much more emotional. Women also have this amazing feature about our brains where everything is connected - we can be thinking about several things at once, partaking in an activity while thinking about something completely/seemingly unrelated, and quickly move from one topic to another (in conversation or our minds). Because of these differences, guarding our own hearts and seeking to help guard one another looks very different. Now, I am not saying that if men walked around shirtless with their six-packs hanging out all day that us women wouldn't be affected, because we would. But I don't think that's our biggest temptation.
When I think of men seeking to guard the hearts, minds, and bodies of women, I think of emotional boundaries. Women fantasize, we do indeed have imaginations! This is why romantic novels are to women what pornography is to men. (Hence why Fifty Shades of Gray is currently so popular amongst women.) Our minds get going on what "romance" should be and what we imagine it to be like for us. Since childhood, we have been fed romantic fantasy.
Women are faced with sexual temptation just as men are, but I do believe our mental lust struggle differs. In chapter one of Every Woman's Battle, Shannon Ethridge shares about her affairs with five different men....all at the same time. But she shares that these affairs were not sexual but emotional and/or mental. Women can find themselves in trouble when we're in an awkward (and dangerous) limbo between friend and relationship with a man. And that is how men can help us out. Be honest and proceed with caution with our hearts, minds, and emotions! It is easy for us to get caught up in the idea of romance that we need to be kept down on level with reality. Do not lead us on with unclear intentions. Seek to be above reproach (if you know a woman is in a committed relationship, honor that both emotionally and physically). And for some women, it wouldn't hurt to keep your six-packs tucked away. But bottom line, be a guy who points her to Christ! Be more concerned with her walk with God than anything else. God created us all uniquely. I've shared a lot of blanket statements, but I know that not everyone relates. Some women may be extremely visual and some men may be very emotional - and I'm not discrediting that. I am just sharing my thoughts, from my experience and perspective.
My encouragement to all is to "Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor." - Romans 12:10