King David was on his roof and saw a woman bathing. 2 Samuel 11 tells us that David found her “beautiful to behold,” seeing her according to the flesh.
Most of us know how the story goes. David discovered Bathsheba was married, but invited her to the palace anyway. David got her pregnant and then, rather than come clean, he sent her husband, a faithful soldier in his army, in the hottest part of the battle where he would surely be killed. Then David was “free” to take Bathsheba as his wife.
This scandalous story doesn’t end there. God sent Nathan the prophet to not only pronounce God’s judgment on the sin, but also to correct how David saw things. Nathan tells the story of a rich man and a poor man. The poor man had a lamb that he and his children loved, nourished, and cared for as a pet. David, having been a shepherd could, no doubt, relate to this type of affection for a lamb. But the rich man in the story took this lamb, though he had many, and killed it to serve to a guest. Enraged, David demanded that the man make reparations and be put to death.
David, of course, ended up being the rich man of the story. He saw Bathsheba according to the flesh, and God needed to adjust David’s way of seeing through a story he would understand.
You may not connect with the story of a lamb, but God can make the truths become real to each of us in a meaningful way so that we change the way we see. We must begin to look at women and people that we would objectify, not according to the flesh such as to arouse our own lusts; but understand that each individual represents a treasured person. Even if they flaunt their sexuality, they are still someone’s daughter, spouse, or future spouse–the treasured, cherished “lamb” of another. Every person has the God-given right to be seen in this way–even if they are living below their created value.
We Can See People Differently
We have the ability to see differently. We are not victims of what our eyes happen to see. The gospel is far more powerful than that. The Bible says something radical: to the pure, all things are pure (Titus 1:15).
Now, don’t get ahead of me. I’m not saying you can “purely” look at porn. There are lusts we must flee from and places we can’t go. Being “pure” doesn’t make it okay for us to partake in a strip club. Lust is always sin–but in normal, everyday life, we’ve learned to lust rather than walk in purity and see people the way God does.
Did you know that two people can see the same person and have a totally different view of them? Did you know that you can see a beautiful woman and not have to lust?
When we learn how to walk in the Spirit and have God’s thoughts toward others, beauty stops being a threat and becomes something to appreciate and enjoy, just as one admires their own daughter’s or sister’s beauty. My wife and I frequently comment on how adorable or beautiful our daughter is–but there’s not an ounce of lust or fear that either of us could ever be incited to lust after her.
Did you know that we can feel that way about anyone? Does God live in you? Doesn’t the Bible invite us over and over to have His mind, His thoughts, partake of His nature, and walk in His Spirit? Like He did with David, God wants to re-train your mind to see differently so that being in the presence of beauty elicits the proper response that God intended when He created it.
Reclaiming Our Response to Beauty
I’ve heard “purity” teachers say the most ridiculous things as pseudo-godly advice. For example, I actually heard one purity teacher instruct men to pick the cash register line with the ugliest checker to avoid the temptation to lust. What a bunch of ungodly nonsense parading as “Christian wisdom.” What if all the cashiers are pretty? Do you then hide in the coldest part of the freezer section until someone ugly finally comes on their shift? No. We need to change the way we see. The way Christian men have been taught to view and fear beauty for fear of their urges is actually a form of perversion masquerading as “godly wisdom.”
A man walking in purity isn’t threatened by a beautiful person. God created beauty. When we operate normally, we can appreciate beauty without being afraid that we are going to get some “urges” in the presence of beauty. Having a lustful urge when you see beauty is a demonically learned response, not a “natural” one. What is natural for a person, once they are saved, is to think like God.
I promise you that God doesn’t see any of His beautiful daughters and fear that He’s going to get… an urge. I promise you that David, when God changed his heart, didn’t see beautiful women as objects any longer but as cherished lambs.
We need the Spirit to rewrite our responses so that we can be free to see beauty, bless beauty, appreciate beauty, and break the carnal response that has turned something good that God created into a trigger point for lust. We can reclaim our response to beauty so that rather than it being a trigger for evil, it triggers godliness.
Our Responsibility to be Light
I’ve heard a lot of negative talk about the sexually charged, impure nature of our culture. We talk about the difficulty for men to be pure when every billboard and magazine seems to sell sex. I agree that this sexually stimulating culture assaults purity.
But do you know what? This kind of talk can also be a cop-out.
The reason our world and culture is the way it is ultimately falls on our shoulders. The Bible says that we should be the head and not the tail. We can’t blame the devil, women, or Hollywood when Jesus called us to be salt and light in this world. Jesus said,
“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lamp stand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Mt. 5:13-16).
Men, I tell you the truth, as surely as light dispels the darkness, if the world is getting darker, it isn’t because someone turned up the darkness, but because the light is getting dimmer. We’ve been looking at the world’s darkness pretending that it isn’t our responsibility to shine like light in dark places and change our culture.
Do you want to know whose fault it is that some women dress the way they do: ours. The responsibility falls on godly men who’ve stopped standing in the place that only we can.
The Importance of Fathers
Even in the natural order of things, there is a blessing that can only be given by a father. My wife struggled with her self-image for most of her teenage life. She told me of a time when just she and her father went out to a diner together and he said something precious and validating about her beauty that forever changed her life.
There’s a young teen who my wife and I call our “adopted teenage daughter.” She calls me her second dad. On one occasion, I saw photos of her in her prom dress and commented on how beautiful she looked. She shared how powerful and validating it was to hear those words from a father figure in her life. It turns out that on prom night, her real father couldn’t be bothered to look away from the game he was watching to validate her. Her mother had fawned over how stunning she looked for hours and even told her father, “Look how beautiful you daughter looks.” But 100 compliments from her mother couldn’t make up for the father’s blessing that didn’t come. She shared how much it hurt that night not hearing praise and validation from her father.
Men, we have an amazing place of power as fathers and men that we’ve forgotten how to fill. Moving in the love and purity of our Heavenly Father amplifies that place of power and blessing even more.
Affirming Beauty from a Pure Heart
Let me tell you how powerful blessings from a pure heart can be. The world fosters selfishness–it takes for its own gain. Women, starving for the true Father’s blessing, try to catch the attention of men. They long to know that they are beautiful and valuable, and more than just eye candy. The world can never give them what their heart longs for. All the flattery of the world can never fill the place that only God can fill.
So when you see that beautiful woman in any walk of life, that sister, that daughter, that checker at the store, think about this: maybe she really needs to know that she’s beautiful and treasured by God.
And men, if we had a pure heart, maybe we’d even be in a position not to run from the fact that we recognize someone’s beauty. And maybe we, with our Father’s heart, could actually be in a position to bless and build her up in a way that has zero lust in it, that validates and heals her beauty wounds without any sleaze, slime, or backhanded flirting motives.
Men, if we don’t, who will? If we don’t raise up Christian men with pure hearts, we’ve left that woman to the world, the wolves, and her own wounds. Then tomorrow, maybe the dress gets shorter. And the day after that, maybe the blouse loses a button. Then on it goes until she starts to get the attention of men–but not the blessing of a father.
If we don’t show her the Father’s heart, her desperate heart may take any attention she can get–even the wrong kind of attention. She will learn to steal from men; and men will learn to steal from her. Then, if we sit back on our high horse and condemn her for being carnal instead of recognizing our responsibility to bring about purity in our culture rather than flee from culture then we’ve lost this fight. We have been given the entire world as our inheritance (Rm. 4:13). We are the salt. We are the light.
Purity cleanses. Purity exposes the darkness of the world. I’ve given many complements that come from a pure heart. You know what? It has never been weird or forced or poorly received. I’ve even told a woman flaunting way too much cleavage that she looked lovely (from a pure heart mind you), but that she didn’t need to show that much cleavage for men to find her attractive. You know what happened? She wasn’t angry or shamed. I blessed her like the Father would have, and she thanked me profusely and buttoned up her shirt. That is the power a pure man can have to change culture.
Purity Is Who We Are
We have been made pure in Christ. We have His Spirit in us. So many men try to become pure rather than learn to connect with the truth of who we already are in Christ. We don’t fight for purity, we fight from purity.
When men come to Mighty Man Ministries, I always tell them that their starting point will determine their finish line. If you are trying to get free or get pure, you’ll never get there. You can’t get what you’ve already received. Christ can’t be sacrificed a second time for you. We need to take hold of who we are in Christ and learn to walk in these truths.
If you’d like more information about purity and walking in real freedom, the Mighty Man Manual may be an excellent guide for you. You can find out more at www.mightymanministries.com
This is by far the best article I’ve read from covenant eyes so far! Thank you so much for putting the responsibility squarly where it belongs, and for not heaping more shame on the women, and men, who are already so very broken, and just desperately need to know they are loved and valued without having to flaunt their bodies.
Despite popular opinion, people don’t start out in life dreaming to be a ‘porn star’. Something goes terribly wrong long before they get to that point. And that applies to the male performers just as much as their female ‘co-star’.
We need to shine the light of the gospel and live the love of Christ in this dark and broken world. If not us, who? If not now, when?
Thank you for writing such a frank and compassionate piece.
This was an excellent, excellent read! I genuinely appreciate the candor about how easily we can use a sexually charged culture as an excuse. It’s how the enemy can twist truth. The fact that we are fighting from purity rather than for purity has been transformational thinking for me. Thanks for posting this article.
I agree, was just coming to make the same comment. This is, imho, the best article I’ve ever read on the subject. I’ve read book after book, all those words. But you, sir, hit this subject square in the jaw with far less than a chapters worth of words. This needs to go viral! Brilliant. Bless you!!
thank you for taking the time to write this review. I’m so glad the article blessed you
Wow. Just Wow.
I really question the wisdom of posting an article like this, Covenant Eyes, without thoroughly examining the premise based upon God’s Word and the victims of betrayal. This post has and will traumatize a lot of women.
I was directed to this today through an online support group of ladies who have been betrayed by their husbands and I can assure you all the author has done (intentionally or unintentionally) is reinforce the value of the world’s view of women: by their external appearance. This post has already hurt many women who have beautiful hearts and spirits because — having been written by a Christian man — once again he reinforces the external. As betrayed wives, we already feel helpless to compete for the attention of our husbands when the younger, physically beautiful women surround us. Yet Jon Snyder encourages our men to acknowledge the other women’s beauty but don’t lust. To add insult to injury, he has even encouraged our men to “bless” that woman by verbally telling her she’s beautiful and treasured by God.
The author may have intended to motivate men to see external beauty and not lust, but rather appreciate it as “created by God,” but the underlying foundation still focuses on the external beauty or ugliness. It ever so subtly implies that God defines beauty the way popular culture does. I do not read anything that addresses the beauty of kindness, goodness, gentleness of spirit — all qualities that can be gathered upon lightly engaged conversation — say in a grocery checkout, to use his example.
On this journey, Mr. Snyder dresses down purity teachers who encourage men to look for the ugliest girl in the checkout line so that they don’t lust. I agree with him that the directive is wrong — but NOT for the reason he implies. It is once again because they (the so-called purity teachers) separated women into categories of beautiful and ugly!
I was insulted by every single premise the entire article was based upon. Not one sentence addresses the inner beauty, the condition of the heart, or the fact that we should just treat all people as children of God without using words like pretty or ugly.
Additionally, this article implies that women can potentially gain or lose their value based upon whether they are complimented by a man — which is the very conundrum women deal with every single day! We are told God sees us as beautiful — but we HEAR and are REAFFIRMED by articles like this that BEAUTY applies solely to our external appearance.
In his reference to the father/daughter prom dress, there was a lot more validation that needed to take place in that girl’s life than having her dad tell her she was pretty in her prom dress. She craved validation as a person. While I am glad Mr. Snyder was in her life, using her appearance as a demonstration of validation is shallow, at best.
Finally, addressing his statement: “So when you see that beautiful woman in any walk of life, that sister, that daughter, that pretty checker at the store, that “ugly” checker at the store, think about this: maybe she really needs to know that she’s beautiful and treasured by God.
And men, if we had a pure heart, maybe we’d even be in a position not to run from the fact that we recognize that someone is beautiful. And maybe we, with our Father’s heart, could actually be in a position to bless and build her up in a way that has zero lust in it, that validates and heals her beauty wounds without any sleaze, slime, or backhanded flirting motives.”
SERIOUSLY? Is it truly kind, loving, and reassuring to your wife or girlfriend to take it upon yourself to “bless” another woman in such a fashion? Think of the audience who are reading these posts! These are already men who are dealing with porn and betrayal issues, with wives or girlfriends who will most likely forever feel like they are less than chosen by their man.
If anyone should BLESS another woman, compliment her and remind her she is a child of God — or notice her blouse needs to be buttoned up — that responsibility should be undertaken by a sister in Christ.
Dear Covenant Eyes, PLEASE — I urge you — The problem of porn and all it’s trappings is that women have been reduced to objects and categories of beautiful or ugly. By publishing this article, you just validated that.
Thank you, as always, Hillevi, for your wise and insightful comments. Thank you for speaking truth! Peace to you, Kay
This is a totally separate issue from the learned, cultural response of “what is beauty.” I share your belief that inner beauty is the true measure. I hate the culturally learned stereotypes of beauty that rob women daily and cause idolatries in both men and women. A man’s standard for beauty can and must be his wife. But even when a man’s standard is his wife, God designed the human soul to recognize and respond to beauty. That means that, yes, even married men will see women and think, “she’s beautiful.” And they have to learn how to process that emotion in a healthy, godly way. THAT is the focus of this article.
I’m concerned that you are reading this article and filtering its message through your own personal wounds. This article’s purpose isn’t to address beauty stereotypes and idols. Rather, it addresses an entirely different premise altogether: what to do when you see someone beautiful and something inside you goes, “wow.” Because even when a person is 100% free of cultural beauty idols, that basic response to beauty will still exist.. thus an article like this needs to exist. Note: this article doesn’t define what beauty is; rather you read the term beauty and projected your own feelings onto the concept.
This article doesn’t reinforce any cultural beauty stereotypes. It is addressing what an individual is supposed to do when they see someone THEY find beautiful. You can hate the fact that it happens all you want, but there is a fact that both women and men will see attractive people in this world and must learn healthy ways to process what happens in their hearts. This is not an article for women. This is an article for men, who, frankly, have gotten weird. They get weird around beautiful women; and without proper teaching on what to do when they see a beautiful woman, it will be a problem that continues to escalate.
If I had written an article to women, I’d be teaching them how not to feel threatened or envious of other women they’d recognize as beautiful, by receiving the Father’s heart for their own beauty. In that place, there’s no more beauty wound. No more jealousy. No low self-esteem. No fear, anger or treadmill to run on. There are articles that need to be written about that. But this article needs to be written also; because the one doesn’t negate or “fix” the other. They are two separate issues. Blessings.
Hillevi nailed it. Thank you.
I personally disagree w hillavi who stated that
“If anyone should BLESS another woman, compliment her and remind her she is a child of God — or notice her blouse needs to be buttoned up — that responsibility should be undertaken by a sister in Christ.”
I am an ex stripper and am so accustomed to men validating me in a perverted way. I recently had two men in the church who validated me in my personhood. It meant a lot more to me to hear that a man is capable of looking at me without lusting after me and calling me his sister in Christ and loving me . I hear from women in the church all the time that I am a beloved daughter of the king. Hearing this truth spoken from men w a pure heart is truly what has helped me internalize this truth. Everybody is getting so upset about this article…. it was written for men who don’t know how to react to Beauty. We can pretend that’s not happening… But the reality is that it is. Men are visual creatures and as much as we hate it ladies..its the truth . Men DO notice women by their external appearance. Is that fair? No. But it’s true. In a perfect world they would notice us first by our heart… we live in a fallen world and we are all sinners. there does need to be an article like this. Just because a guy acknowledges that a woman is beautiful that does not necessarily mean that he is lusting after her. Good job mr. Snyder for writing this amazing article!
I feel that your response has hit the nail on the head for me. I was honestly about to seems this to my husband and then I got to the part about telling another woman that she’s beautiful. I will not be passing this along to give him the green light to vetbally express what he already thinks about several women throughout our community. I would be even further traumatized if this (him telling a woman she is beautiful) were to happen when he and I were in the checkout lane together or even wondrring how often it was occuring whrn i wasn’t there. It has happened in the past and my heart was so totally crushed in that moment. I already know that he mentally finds several other women, girls, images to be beautiful and the last thing I /we need is to hear it or be reminded of these thoughts. There are several other characteristics and attributes than can complimented to build someone up. Inner beauty is by far more important than external appearance! Thank you for this response. I could not have explained what i was thinking or feeling any better than ul you did here. God bless!
Bathesba cheated on her husband in the bible, I’m sure she had a beautiful heart too….every one makes mistakes this article was meant to down size lust. You seem to have read this with undealt insecurities about your own image..an bias
Great article and just “beautiful”!
I remember I used to objectify women. I would see a pretty girl and my sinful nature would start lusting. When I began to turn away from my addiction, God began showing me how to look at women. Here’s what I learned:
-God made them pretty and there’s nothing wrong with that.
-If they are dressed for attention, I don’t have to give it to them. In fact, if I know I’m going to be triggered, I leave or look in another direction. There’s been plenty of times I’ve ordered food from a girl who was dressed for tips. I don’t have to look there. I get curious about what’s on the far wall or ceiling. And when it’s a barista who has turned around and pouring coffee, I look at the snacks. In other words, I honor her by not leering.
-If I have to talk to a pretty girl and I can tell the addict wants to drive the bus, I quietly ask God to give me His eyes. Jesus would speak with women and he apparently had no lust issues. I wanted to be like that. So now God opens my heart with what’s going on in front of me. My eyes aren’t roaming, they’re looking at a woman who needs Jesus or knows Jesus.
-I love looking at my wife without objectifying her. She’s so pretty! I can look at her as a husband should look at his wife without lust.
Thanks for the article! I know men have a hard time with this and I also know men can untangle themselves from the way they look at women, God bless!
Very honorable and respectful behavior you mention!
So is looking at your spouse with lust/desire/coveting them outside and inside wrong?
Thankful I came across this blog. It has definitely been a blessing. God bless you!
As a man that is almost 3 1/2 years into recovery from sex addiction, I felt the need to comment on Mr. Snyder’s article. While the intent of the article, that we need to spread God’s light to counter the sex-based culture in which we live is a positive one, his methodology is flawed and very dangerous.
First, though he states we need to “…see people the way God does”, he does the exact opposite by identifying the beautiful checker girl from the “ugly” one. The initial focus is still on the eyes, not the heart. Does God ever look at someone and say “hey that ugly girl needs to know that she is treasured by Me”? No! Outward appearance is NEVER even a consideration of the Lord. He looks directly at the heart of all His children and knows the condition of it, regardless of their outward appearance. Anything else is objectification.
But the far more dangerous point is one of boundaries. It is inappropriate for any man who is in a committed relationship to compliment or comment on a woman’s appearance or how much cleavage she is showing, especially if she is a stranger, regardless of the “purity of his heart”. The very fact that he noticed her attire says he is looking at the wrong place. He’s already objectified her.
1 Peter 5:8 says “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” How does a lion seek it’s prey? Does it come running full blast across the plains or does it stealthily stalk it, quietly sneaking up until it can pounce. Satan rarely comes at you with a bull horn and a billboard, but rather with a whisper and a nudge. “It’s OK to tell that checkout girl she looks great, because you’re doing it with a “pure heart”. A line has been crossed, a boundary broken. Next time it will be “It’s OK to flirt a bit with her. You’re just showing her that she is treasured, because you’re doing it with a “pure heart”. Then a cup of coffee after she get’s off work. With every line being crossed, every broken boundary, you are on your way to lust or an affair, that you justify with your pure heart.
Compliments of that type are reserved for your spouse. Giving them to someone else, (other than a family member, such as Mr. Snyder’s blood daughter), is stealing affection from your wife. She could compliment another woman, or you another man, but what Mr. Snyder endorses under the guise of a pure heart can easily lead you down a path you don’t want to travel.
If you have a fortified city, with many walls, trenches and barbed wire protecting it, every time one of those fortifications is breached, your are in greater danger than before. The same applies to familiar behavior with the opposite sex. Don’t do it. Don’t set yourself up to continue to cross lines that should not be crossed. It starts you down a slippery slope that can only lead to pain, betrayal and disaster.
Thanks so much for speaking up. I agree with you that this is not a strategy for healthy relationships.
I’m a counselor, and it would be a violation of my professional ethics to comment upon the physical appearance of a client: it crosses the sexual boundaries of the client.
Peace to you,
You put into words what I was thinking as well and I am also a man that is 3 years into recovery. If I go around affirming other women’s beauty, I am planting seeds that do NOT need to be planted. I also have a teenage daughter, and I don’t even think it would be appropriate to comment to any of her friends that they look beautiful. I don’t want to even open the doors to any kind of an unhealthy attachment/ relationship. I understand that there are many women that have been wounded in many ways, but apart from my wife and children I have to recognize that is not my burden to bear and I am limited in how I can help that. In the meantime, I will continue to pray that I grow to have the mind of Christ in how I look at women – that is not to objectify them on their external appearance – but as another person who is beautiful because they are created in the image of God. That is the best way that I can help them and myself.
Proverbs 31:30: Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Job 31:1: I have made a a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a young woman.
that’s why he stated in the article to compliments or affirm a woman only if you are capable of doing it with a pure heart. Obviously a sex addict cannot do that and should not do that.
So refreshing to read this from a man! Thank you. You have restored my faith and hope for my husband to have a change of heart and mind and I pray that it is similar in nature to that which you just explained. God bless you in your continued journey of recovery! You are most certainly on the right track.
As children of God we are forced to swallow many inconvenient truths about the kind of conduct the Father expects from us. Accepting and adopting the Father’s standard for purity is one of those hard truths. Accepting the fact that the Father’s definition and standard for beauty has nothing to do with a person’s outward appearance is another.
This article is not about changing how we see beauty. It is about changing how men respond to their particular standard of external beauty (whether that standard is influenced by current cultural external beauty standards or not). Because of this it cannot and will not help anyone to see people (women in particular) how our Heavenly Father sees them.
Jon Snyder uses the word beautiful a lot in this article: beautiful woman, beautiful women, beautiful daughters. I find it incredibly discouraging that the word beautiful is never used to describe the heart of a woman. Isn’t that the kind of beauty that the Father would focus on? Isn’t this supposed to be an article on how we can learn to see others how God sees them? “…for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” (1Samuel 16:7)
The section of this article about the importance of fathers is quite disturbing to me. If anything a father should be the one who teaches his daughter that God and godly men will value them for the beauty of their hearts and not for their external beauty. A father telling his daughter that she is beautiful is a wonderful and loving thing. But a father telling his daughter HOW she is beautiful (the beauty that stems from the kind of person she is on the inside) is what will validate her and teach her how to view herself the way God does.
And speaking of fathers, if you were to ask a loving and devoted father to choose which of his daughters was the most beautiful, he couldn’t do it. Not WOULDN’T do it, COULDN’T. I assure you, our Heavenly Father doesn’t have an ugly daughter in the bunch. He looks at all His daughters and sees the beauty that He created in each and every one. “I will Praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.” (Psalm 139:14)
If we are going to strive to look at others the way the Father does, we have to put the notion that some people are more beautiful and attractive than others firmly behind us. Will that be a hard thing to do for some people? Absolutely. But just because something is hard for us to do doesn’t mean we should give up on it all together. We all sin and fall short of the glory of God, but I assure you that God appreciates our best efforts just as any great parent would.
In the section where Jon Snyder talks about affirming beauty from a pure heart he states that, “All the flattery of the world can never fill the place that only God can fill.” He then goes on to say that men should bless women and build them up by giving them complements to heal their beauty wounds. Isn’t this the worldly flattery that he said wouldn’t fill the place that only God can fill? He then states that he once told a woman “that she LOOKED lovely, but that she didn’t need to show that much cleavage for MEN TO FIND HER ATTRACTIVE.” This entire section made me incredibly angry and then incredibly sad. A woman’s beauty wounds aren’t a result of never being complemented or told that men find her attractive with or without cleavage. Those wounds exist because they have yet to discover and accept the way their Heavenly Father sees them. If you truly want to help women who seem to be struggling with self-esteem issues, introduce them to the Heavenly Father’s standard of beauty and affirm THAT beauty.
The comments by Hillevi and “A sex addict” do a wonderful job explaining why a married man should not be giving the kinds of complements that Jon Snyder encourages men to give to women. And speaking of Hillevi’s comment… the way Jon Snyder responded to her concerns about his article was truly alarming. He talks about how a man’s standard for beauty must be his wife, and then goes on to say that men won’t be able to help finding other women attractive because God designed us to recognize and respond to beauty. What a cop-out. The problem isn’t that men (and women as well) need to learn how to process their reaction to beauty, the problem lies within how we define beauty. If we strive to look at EVERYONE as beautiful creations of our Heavenly Father, then we won’t have to worry about impure reactions to worldly beauty. Will we all get this right all the time? No. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.
Perhaps the most discouraging part of his response to Hillevi was that fact that his article was not written for women. No, as it is written it is not for women. Because telling women that they must accept the fact that it is just plain natural that even a man within the covenant of marriage will continue to appreciate the external beauty of other women (“from a pure heart mind you”) is never a good idea. And neither is telling women that it is ok and even godly for their husband to be telling a random woman that she looks lovely and commenting on the amount of cleavage she is sporting that day (“from a pure heart mind you”). Why isn’t this a good idea? Because it will invoke jealousy. To the pure, all things are pure. (Titus 1:15) God Himself is a jealous God. A godly woman (and every woman for that matter) has the right to be jealous of her husband’s affections (as long as that jealousy remains pure). They are entitled to that jealousy the moment they enter into the covenant of marriage. It IS NOT godly advice to encourage married men to appreciate and then complement the beauty of a woman that is not their wife. It just isn’t.
“This article doesn’t reinforce any cultural beauty stereotypes.” Yes, sir, I believe it does. It reinforces the most damaging one of all: that external beauty is what we should focus on. And last but certainly not least, you cannot write an article just for men and have it be true just for men. The truths in the Bible transcend gender. Those truths are written for all of us. Yes, some passages focus on men and some on women. But they still remain true and uplifting for both men and women. If you are claiming that this article teaches men to see others the way that God does, then it should have the duel purpose of also teaching women how to view themselves (and others too) in a more Godly way (especially since you speak so much about how to validate women). The truth of the matter is that the two separate issues that you speak of in your response ARE THE SAME ISSUE. They are just two sides of the same coin. Beauty is at the heart of that issue and the HEART is where TRUE BEAUTY lies.
I will be praying for you, Jon Snyder. You are in a position where you can make a difference in the lives of men. Please don’t encourage men to fall short of the glory of God by merely changing the way they respond to THEIR idea of external beauty. Please encourage them to take on the challenge of destroying those false standards and adopting the Father’s standard of beauty. It may not be easy, and they (and all of us) may fail many times, but striving to have the Father’s heart is truly worth the effort.
Thanks, Samantha! It’s always encouraging to me when women think hard and speak up! Kay
I think we all may need to approach this with more humility than we currently are. As a married man, would I make a statement like Jon did above to a woman who is not my wife? No, I wouldn’t and I’m not sure it would be appropriate. But who is to say that my view is the only way it is?
As a married man, I shouldn’t be giving to another woman what is to be reserved for my wife. So even if I acknowledge the beauty of another woman, I should draw a line that both my wife and I agree on. Jon Snyder says he can do this from a place of purity. How can we say he is wrong if he can do that and his wife is ok with it?
It seems that some feel that a married person acknowledging the beauty of someone besides their spouse is automatically wrong. Have we considered that perhaps in the right situation it may be appropriate. Listen to what Nancy says above. If she can be blessed by hearing an appropriate acknowledgement of her appearance, and if the wives of those men are ok with it, can you say with certainty that what they said is wrong?
Also, God made women with beautiful appearance. So it must be something good, not to be ignored. It seems that some think that being Godly means that we should not notice physical appearance outside of our marriage. Just because the world judges way too much on physical appearance, making it the measuring stick of value, doesn’t mean we need to do the knee-jerk reaction of discounting its existence. It can be noticed and acknowledged outside of a marriage, and I see nothing wrong with that. Perhaps you disagree, but that doesn’t mean your way is the only way. We each need to allow room for the Lord to speak to us and convict us… and not be too quick to judge.
Wow! This is so good and true! Thank you
It’s not about “my way”, “your way”, or anyone else’s way. It’s about God’s way. It’s about trying to do our best to meet His standards simply because we love and respect Him. He loves us just as much when we fall short, but if we truly love Him we will spend the rest of our lives trying not to fall short.
I’ll tell you what. Nothing gets me more irritated than when people try to play the, “God made women beautiful so that must mean we are meant to appreciate that beauty” card. When people say this are they truly referring to ALL the women on this planet or just the ones they happen to find attractive? Because I’ll tell you what, God didn’t create beauty using a measuring stick. He didn’t make some more beautiful than others. Man did that. Man created some kind of perverted order of beauty that rates people based on personal preference of physical parts and it is sick. What’s even sicker is the influence that our media has gained in influencing society to accept a certain cookie cutter standard. And that standard has changed throughout history! Why does it change? Because mankind’s idea of what beauty is is flawed and there will never be such a thing as the most beautiful kind of woman in the world or the most handsome kind of man based on any kind of criteria we can create. God our Father made us all beautifully in His image and I can guarantee every single person He created looks just as beautiful to Him as the next. Just as a parent should look at His children.
So to wrap up my rant: if you are going to talk about beauty being appreciated because God made it, be prepared to appreciate every person’s physical beauty equally (and of course purely) just as God does. The human body is a beautiful and powerful creation designed with the utmost care by the Greatest Father who ever existed. And please remember, God looks at the heart, not on the outward appearance. We should always strive to do the same.
As long as a man doesn’t place more value than on that person than another, seems to me that is ok to acknowledge beauty. Is it ok to say one man is a better leader than another. Many men measure their self-worth on how good they lead. Does that mean we should never say that one man leads better than another? Youi could use any issue- playing basketball, mothering children, fathering children, physical strength. We can’t acknowledge any of these?
It seems that when it comes to beauty we automatically think it’s corrupt. If it was almost any other standard we were measuring, it would be much more acceptable.
Andrew, all of those things you listed are things a person DOES. Things that a person is capable of doing. Physical skills that involve strength that can be acquired through hard work, or personality skills that can come naturally or worked on to obtain. All of these things can have an impact on the character of a person, but none of them should be used to define a person’s self-worth. Not even if it is being a strong leader or a good mother or father. That self-worth is false because it comes from pride. Our real self-worth comes only from the love God showed to us when He sent Jesus to die on the cross for us. We are loved whether we can lead well, play basketball, or lift heavy weights. I’m not saying pepole shouldn’t do those things, but I am saying that we shouldn’t do them in order to create a sense of self-worth. We should do all things to glorify God whose infinite, unconditional, and sacrificial love makes us worthy.
Physical beauty is not corrupt when we see it through God’s eyes. We are all created in the image of God and that is what is beautiful about human beings. If we are all equally made in the image of God then one person cannot be more beautiful than the next. What is corrupt is the idea that one person should and can be praised for having a “more perfect and pleasant” physical beauty than another. This praise comes from a false standard that man imposed upon human beings. God did not create levels or standards of physical beauty. He created physical beauty, and man created the standards. To God, beautiful and ugly describe only the conditions of the heart because that is what He looks at.
Please do not lump beauty into the same category as things like motherhood, fatherhood, character traits, and physical abilities and strengths. Physical beauty in the worldly sense (not in the Godly sense where we are talking about the presence of His image in all of us) is not something that should be looked upon as a “skill” that some have and others don’t.
I am not attacking you, Andrew. I am trying to help you to see the light. This is a broken world that we live in and it is sometimes very hard to break away from the things such as the false standards of this world so that we are able to focus on God, His standards, and most importantly His love for us all.
And no, it is not wrong to acknowledge a person’s skills, character or things that they do well. It is not even wrong to tell a person that they look lovely. Every person who has ever gone to a wedding has probably told the bride that she looks lovely. And let’s face it. All brides look lovely. They are glowing with love and happiness on their special day. It is a totally different matter than when you look at a person, judge their appearance as beautiful or ugly based on your own personal standards, and then praising them or insulting them (vocally or inwardly) based on those standards.
And please don’t confuse my example of telling a bride that she looks beautiful as being the same as or similar to the crude situation that Jon Snyder describe in his article regarding the woman with the cleavage. They are worlds apart. What he described was a situation with a total stranger where he was focused solely on the woman’s appearance. His comment would have been inappropriate even if he hadn’t been married. No, single people should not focus on physical appearance either.
The example I gave with the bride is different because it is given to a person that you would know and I gave that example assuming that everyone was complimenting her for more than how she physically looked in her dress or how her make up or hair looked. It’s like I said, brides are radiating with a special kind of beauty on that day that comes from happiness and love. It’s much like the beauty that pregnant women and new mothers radiate. It is special and often has very little to do with how they look in the physical sense. These are not merely wordly compliments and they have no potential to breed feelings of lust because they are looking at heart and soul of the person. This is the essence of a truly pure compliment. It acknowledges much much more than the physical and taps into the image of God that can be found in all of us.
Was my comment offensive that you didn’t post it?
Hello, Andrew – I went back and searched for comments from you in the “trash” and found none. I apologize if one was lost.
Samantha, you mentioned,
“It is a totally different matter than when you look at a person, judge their appearance as beautiful or ugly based on your own personal standards, and then praising them or insulting them (vocally or inwardly) based on those standards.”
Sounds like we actually agree. That’s why I said, “As long as a man doesn’t place more value than on that person than another, seems to me that is ok to acknowledge beauty.”
I think that is what Jon has done. He hasn’t brought up anything about comparing people’s beauty. That has all been brought up by those commenting. He said nothing of it. Perhaps people are reading into what he said differently than what he actually said.
Andrew, whether or not we agree depends on one very crucial point. Are you still talking about acknowledging a person’s outward appearance as beautiful or their heart? If you spot a random woman and say, “wow she is beautiful,” but don’t know anything about the condition of her heart, then you are judging them based on appearance and subconsciously comparing them to the other women who are also around but you don’t acknowledge as being beautiful.
This article talks NOTHING about the condition of a person’s heart and focuses solely on validating a woman’s outward appearance which is incredibly shallow. I look to Leah as a great example from the Bible. She was trampled on her whole life because she was not physically beautiful like her sister Rachel. But Leah had a beautiful heart and THAT is what God saw.
It is also important to note that Jon Snyder is encouraging men to look at and compare women based on their looks by suggesting that if you see a beautiful woman, you are supposed to bless her and uplift her. If he was truly discussing true beauty, he wouldn’t know which woman to bless until he got to know them personally. So you see. Men like Jon Snyder can’t just pick a random “beautiful” woman sporting cleavage to compliment and bless.
My question is this. What would happen if God caused all men and women to become blind? I believe we would see an increase of successful dating experiences and happy marriages. The subject of a woman being attractive with or without cleavage wouldn’t even need to be discussed because men would suddenly need to look at what is under the cleavage to determine whether a woman is beautiful (I’m talking about her heart). In my opinion we should all approach physical beauty as if we were blind and allow the inner heart of a person to define their beauty once we get to know their heart. Most people would claim that it is impossible not to look at a person’s outward appearance, but nothing is impossible with God.
I appreciate your comments, Andrew. They are forcing me to delve deeper into this matter and gain more insight each time.
And I do want to point out one very important thing. We absolutely should bless random people. Women and men alike. And that includes the random cleavage sporting woman Jon Snyder saw that day. We should be blessing them by spreading God’s love, His word and the saving knowledge of the gospel. Blessing and complimenting a person’s appearance is a very poor substitute for this true blessing.
Samantha, great replies! Very true…see others as God does.