This week, a few friends/moms have posted a link to this blog post, written by a mom of teen boys encouraging young girls to avoid posting provocative pictures on social media.
I didn’t want to write this blog post, but I had to. I just feel too strongly about this. So please understand where I’m coming from: This is not a combative response to Mrs. Hall. In fact, she’s wise for protecting her sons from things that could cause them to compromise their character or think lustful thoughts.
This is written to those teenage girls who were called out in her original post, and to anyone who’s ever done something stupid and regretted it.
Mrs. Hall had some good points in her blog post. But I wanted to write an addendum of sorts that clears some things up, because there was not enough grace in those words.
So, to you teenage girls, I say this:
It’s a 50/50 thing.
You are more.
And it’s all about your heart.
First, it’s a 50/50 thing. When I say this, I mean two things:
1) You are not 100% responsible for a man’s thoughts. 2) He has a 50% job, and that includes helping you, too.
Hear these words loud and clear: You are not the only reason men think bad thoughts. Sometimes it’s just how they’re made! Yes, you need to watch what you wear, say and post. (More on that later.) But you only have 50% of the job. It is ultimately a guy’s responsibility to keep his thoughts and actions in check. To place 100% of the blame on women is cowardly.
His 50% includes keeping himself accountable AND helping your thoughts as well. It is dangerously unhealthy for us to assume that women don’t lust like men do. When we do this, girls who struggle with lustful thoughts either feel ashamed and keep it hidden, or they don’t even realize they’re lusting and so they don’t deal with it. Part of a man’s job is realizing this and helping us out while we help them.
I’ll say it again: It’s a 50/50 thing. Men and women shouldn’t act like we’re pitted against one another in this fight — we should work together.
(For more on this, read this FANTASTIC article by Nate Pyle.)
Next: You are more.
Say it again with me: You are more than the stupid things you’ve done.
When I look at the things I said and did when I was 15, I’m embarrassed. I said stupid things. I did even more stupid things. I realize that now, and it’s only been four years. But, I give myself some grace. I realize that when I was 15, I didn’t know everything I do now. I didn’t see all I can see now. So I have grace.
As a mom, Mrs. Hall should have had grace for you young teenage girls. If I can have grace for myself and my friends four years later, how much more should she have as a mother? No, I’m not saying she should just let young girls get away with things that are inappropriate. But I think we should take a cue from Paul here:
“As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:1-3)
When correcting others, especially those younger than us, we should be humble and gentle and patient. We should correct them in love, not in harsh social judgment. In love we can urge them to “live a life worthy of the calling” they have received, which brings me to my last point:
It’s all about your heart.
Girls, you should take Mrs. Hall’s advice. When in doubt, DON’T POST IT. (And on that note, take her advice about going back through your stuff and cleaning it out. She’s right about that one, too.) Whether it’s a provocative picture of yourself or a tweet with enough language to make your grandma blush, I can guarantee it will embarrass you later.
(If you don’t believe me, download the Timehop app, which shows you everything you posted on social media each day in history. You’ll see what I mean.)
But you shouldn’t do it to avoid the judgment of your male friend’s mothers. You should watch what you do, say and post because you want to glorify God in all that you do.
You don’t have to dress like a nun or tweet Bible verses every day to point people to Christ. Simply filtering everything you do through the lens of God’s glory will make you stand out more than just “following the rules” ever could.
When your heart desires to glorify God, you will shine so much brighter than when you post a selfie to glorify yourself.
We’re in this fight with our brothers in Christ together.
Grace says: You are more than what you’ve done.
Line your heart up with God’s, and your actions will fall into place.