Guarding Your Eyes

Superhero movies primarily appeal to young men. Recently one has been produced including some major scenes of ­obscenity, ­nudity, and lewdness. This disconnect from what is appropriate for a younger audience has created a stir which includes the ­overflow of personal testimonies of parents on social media making sure other parents are aware of such inappropriateness. These parents, many of whom are not Christians, issued warnings regarding the more mature nature of an assumed juvenile film.

These inappropriate scenes are not merely dangerous for preteens and adolescents. God understood that nakedness and physical lusts is dangerous for anyone, no matter their age. He issued commands regarding modesty, not just for the ­protection of children, but for the protection of every man and woman. Paul tells women to dress in modest apparel (1 Tim 2.9) and to dress in such a way that others will see their meek and quiet spirit (1 Pet 3.4). While these passages directly deal with the issue of overdressing, other passages condemn “nakedness,” “lewdness,” or “lasciviousness.” Any time we seek to bring attention to our bodies, especially sexually, we have failed God’s standard. Jesus even goes so far as to teach that a man who looks with the intention of lusting has committed adultery and that one who sins with his eyes should pluck them out (Matt 5.27-30).

The parents issuing warnings to the general public regarding the sinful nature of this recent movie should heed their own ­advice. It is no worse for a young man to go into a dark theater and see the naked bodies of actresses than it is for their fathers. All men should guard their eyes and hearts. A married friend of mine told me his dad gave him the advice that he could “look as long as he didn’t touch.” Job gave different advice. Job had it right when he said, “I have made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman” (Job 31.1). He determined to be faithful to his wife and was not merely abstaining from touching. He recognized that being faithful to his wife meant abstaining from certain entertainments, certain thoughts, and certain imaginations. He admitted that no matter how “natural” thoughts were, some thoughts were not “supernaturally” ­approved. He made sure everyone knew his wife was the only woman for him.

There’s a lesson in this for both men and women. Men should “take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor 10.5). This requires some training and much effort. Men will think about what their fill their minds with. If they want to have good thoughts, they will meditate and fill their minds with good thoughts (Phil 4.8). If they want to have lustful thoughts, they will give themselves opportunities to view and think about lewd activities. Certain movies and television shows should just be off-limits. We must enslave our minds to Christ before the devil enslaves our minds to sin.

Women should also seek to guard their husbands’ minds. This requires that they dress in a way that displays their godly ­character. This demands they act in godly ways. Unmarried women should treat men with the dignity they would treat ­someone else’s husband. Think this through—if he doesn’t marry you, he will likely belong to some other woman eventually, so he literally belongs to another.

If even the world is full of people who recognize that the innocent should not view lewdness and nudity on the ­silver screen, shouldn’t we who seek to be sinless and innocent also avoid these viewings? Let’s be like children when it comes to sin and please our Father in heaven.