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Wives, This 'Harmless' Sin Isn't So Harmless

Sarah Coleman

It started with Calvin Klein underwear models. Then came the books, the movies, the objectification, and even restaurants where you can be served by shirtless men in tiny shorts.

I'm talking about having a good look at a guy who is not your husband. 

You probably think it's harmless. Most people do. Most people think there is nothing wrong with admiring God's creation of perfect male physique.

"Oh, it's just a little eye candy while I work out."

But it's not harmless.

It's not innocent.

It is wrong.

I'll start by pulling out the big guns - the Ten Commandments:

“You must not commit adultery.” (Exodus 20:14 NLT)

“You must not covet your neighbor’s house. You must not covet your neighbor’s wife, male or female servant, ox or donkey, or anything else that belongs to your neighbor.” (Exodus 20:17 NLT)

I'll come back to the seventh commandment, but let's be clear on the tenth: admiring the body of a man who is not your husband is coveting. It is desiring something at does not belong to you. So when you ogle the eye-candy at the gym it's not innocent, it's sin.

I think the tenth commandment in the King James Version highlights my point perfectly:

“Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbor's.” (Exodus 20:17 KJV)

Now let's deal with the adultery part, because you could be thinking, "I'm just having a look. There's nothing wrong with that."

I was a youth pastor for 10 years and in those 10 years, there was a passage of Scripture I got to know relatively well when speaking to young people about godly relationships:

“But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:28 NLT)

This is full on. And it's in red so they are the words of Jesus. If you look at someone with lust, it is sin. If you see a hot guy and your mind begins to wonder what it would be like to touch said specimen, that’s lust. Sin. 

"But when I look at a sexy man and appreciate his body, it's not lust."

Oh, yeah? So what would you call it?

Okay, so you still aren't convinced checking out other men is sinful? After all, you and I don't live under the Old Covenant of the Ten Commandments, we live under grace. So you say, I can look at a man and fantasize about him and it's all under grace in the New Covenant.

This is what Paul said - you know Paul, the guy who invented grace doctrine: 

“You say, ‘I am allowed to do anything’—but not everything is good for you. You say, ‘I am allowed to do anything’—but not everything is beneficial.” (1 Corinthians 10:23 NLT)

Sure, you can leer all you like at a man you aren't married to - because you can do anything - but is it beneficial?

(If your first thought was, "You bet it's beneficial," I recommend you take another look at what I said about lust.)

Is it beneficial to your husband? Is it beneficial to your marriage?

Now I could follow a whole heap of scenarios of why such behavior would not benefit you, your husband or your marriage. I'm sure you can come up with a few hypotheticals of your own. Instead, let's talk about what is beneficial.

Support benefits your husband.

“Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ.” (Ephesians 5:22 MSG)

You husband needs your support. He needs you to think he is the hottest man in the world. He needs you to love him fiercely and with your whole heart, not a heart prone to wander. Understand how hard he works for your family. That's why he can't get to the gym as often as he would like. He is putting you first. Why not do the same for him?

Virtue benefits your marriage.

“Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is more precious than rubies. Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life.” (Proverbs 31:10-11 NLT)

Virtue is a word absent from our vernacular. It is to be morally excellent and one who steals herself only for her husband. 

So he's got a dad gut. So he's not the irresistible hunk he used to be but he's the man you married. He is the man you vowed to love.

Like Job, perhaps it's time to make a covenant with your eyes (Job 31:1) and keep them focused on the Lord and your incredible husband. That's virtuous.

Fearing God benefits you.

“Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.” (Proverbs 31:30 NLT)

Flirtation, bulging muscles, and an inviting smile do not last. What does last is the fear of God. Forget charming your way through life; pure love for God is far more attractive. Be a woman with a heart set apart for the Lord, determined to please and bring Him glory.

You are not of this world (John 17:16). You don't follow their customs (Romans 12:2). Covenant with your eyes and keep them holy. Honor God. Honor your husband. And stop believing there is such a thing as a “harmless” sin. 

 

Sarah Coleman is an Australian wife, mother and Senior Pastor. Download her free eBook, Be Amazing: You Know You Want Toand read  more of her thoughts at sarahcoleman.com.au.

Photo credit: ©Thinkstock/luckyraccoon