How Men Mistreat Women Without Realizing It
By: Rich Hefty
Hey men, we all think we’re good drivers, right? Maybe it’s a guy thing. Maybe it comes from overexposure to NASCAR. Whatever the reason, we’re a confident bunch behind the wheel.
I’m right there with you, but there is one thing about driving that makes me second-guess everything I know about the subject.
I’m the dad of a daughter who is about to start driving.
My paternal concern is forcing me to review everything I’ve learned as a licensed driver. I’m hoping my example can help her avoid some costly mistakes. So as we drive together, I’m asking her questions.
Does she know how many car lengths to leave between her and the car in front of her when she’s driving 65 MPH? She realizes taking a FaceTime call while driving is a bad idea, right? Does she understand “defensive driving” is not yelling at me when I try to correct her?
Hidden Dangers Call for Heightened Awareness
Of all potential road hazards, one scares me the most: blind spots.
If you’ve ever started to change lanes only to have your blood run cold due to the screeching tires and blaring horn of a car that “came out of nowhere,” you know exactly what I’m talking about. Even though the mistake isn’t intentional, it can lead to devastating consequences for everyone involved.
Blind spots are dangerous because we rarely worry about threats we can’t see.
For a Christian, the narrow path of our spiritual journey is lined with potential dangers that can damage our relationship with God and others. For men in particular, the slightest errors in how we view and interact with the opposite sex can cripple our ability to follow Jesus and do what He says (Matthew 5:28). And just like a traffic accident, it doesn’t matter whether we meant to hurt anyone else. The consequences impact everyone involved.
Correcting Blind Spots
When it comes to the treatment of women, I would guess that very few of us operate with bad intentions. As a matter of fact, we probably get it right most of the time. But when a man wrecks his marriage or damages a relationship, phrases like “I don’t know, it just happened” point to the fact that approaching danger isn’t always obvious.
When it comes to relationships, accidental damage is damage just the same.
1 Timothy 5:1-2 instructs men to treat women with the same regard and purity of motives they would treat their mother or sister. Think about the respect and protection a man feels towards this mom and sister. Scripture instructs us to treat all women the same way. So if we know what to do, why do so many of us struggle to stay the course?
Maybe it’s because the most dangerous detours are gradual. By definition, blind spots don’t have warning signs.
3 Questions For Men To Consider About How They Really Treat Women
What kind of music are you listening to?
Think about the lyrics of songs you listen to most. Do they portray women as objects, possessions, or conquests? If so, it’s time to get rid of those songs. The more you listen, the more those words take root in your heart. Eventually, what’s inside will come out (Luke 6:45).
What do you talk about with women?
Conversation itself isn’t wrong, but the content of the conversations matters. Without the proper boundaries (especially for married men), innocent topics can give way to intimate details. Intimate details can lead to inappropriate emotional connections. Philippians 4:8 tells us to think about things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy. That’s a good conversational guide as well.
Who are you spending time with?
Proverbs 13:20 tells us “a companion of fools suffers harm.” How do your friends talk about their wives, girlfriends, and women in general? Do they build them up or tear them down? If your closest friends consistently refer to women in disrespectful ways, it’s only a matter of time before that way of thinking shapes your own. Be careful. “Bad company corrupts good character” (1 Corinthians 15:33).
Thankfully, when we follow Jesus we have an example of how to treat women in a way that honors them and pleases the Lord (Luke 10:38-42, John 8:1-11). In Philippians 2:3-7, Paul advises, “in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”
As we humble ourselves and place the well-being of others above our own, we begin to see people as Jesus sees them. When this happens, blind spots are revealed and relationships can be restored.