You have to appreciate it when an unbeliever says something rooted in truth particularly when it’s insightfully penetrating. I came across this quote from Reggae singer Bob Marley: “The biggest coward of a man is to awaken the love of a woman without the intention of loving her.”
Regardless of Marley’s intent or meaning, this statement shoots an arrow through the common practice of recreational dating that nearly all Western Christians embrace – a practice not supported by Scripture nor practiced in any culture until the last century. Recreational dating (and the heart issues related to it) is the practical root of untold problems that plague most people including Christians. Broadly speaking, dating multiple individuals with no purpose other than dating creates lasting emotional baggage; debilitating heartache many times over; moral compromise; unwanted sexual disease; pregnancy; abortion even among Christians; and hindered fellowship with God.
Now, think about Marley’s complaint: “The biggest coward of a man is to awaken the love of a woman without the intention of loving her.” The cowardice lies in the man’s desire for a relationship without commitment or responsibility. Most often he wants sexual activity without responsibility. Such a position tears away the foundations of family and society as a whole. For all the church’s talk about family values we have no room to talk until we really embrace family values and clean up our own house. How manly is it to simply want to develop a relationship with a woman to have a little fun? How manly is it to awaken love or stir up feelings in a woman’s heart and then casually walk away?
Where is the Christian courage necessary to make a wholehearted commitment to love a woman and be faithful to her always (like Christ)? Where are Christian men who are courageous enough to honor God and women? Where are Christian fathers who are courageous enough to protect their daughters from not just predators but the boy down the street who may have no intention of hurting anyone but who will ultimately do just that because of raging hormones and any number of other compelling factors? Dad, why do you let your daughter go off alone with a boy for hours at a time? Why do you let them develop a relationship with one another over time? Because their relationship by nature is sexual (because they are male and female), it’s only a matter of time before that sexual relationship becomes intimate or physically sexual in some way. Where are fathers who are courageous enough to train their sons how to treat a woman and to go to a young woman’s father before he approaches her? Where are fathers who will train their sons to respect the authority of a father over his daughter and in so doing commit to keep that inviolate before God? Where are pastors who are courageous enough to speak to their men about these things? They may ignore you brethren, but you have an obligation to speak.
I’m grateful for Marley’s understanding here for two reasons. First, it highlights the reality that all people are created in the image of God and therefore can say truthful things whether they realize just how truthful or whether they recognize the source of that truth or not. Second, it nails us believers. It’s not that I want believers to be nailed per se. But, the problem is that we very often think and act no differently than the world and wonder why we have no real impact. When someone says something we should have said it can awaken us to the fact that we should have said it and indeed lived by it.
Marley had it right on this one. Of course, if his word isn’t good enough, perhaps this word will carry a little more weight: “Do not stir up or awaken love before it’s time” (Song of Solomon 2:7).
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