Some of this vulnerability is cultural. One would strain to think of a man-denigrating matriarchy in the world today or in the past, but woman-oppressing patriarchies are sadly common, and indeed all around us if we define a pagan patriarchy for what it is: one that bases the worth of women and girls on their sexual attractiveness and availability to men. We are not to conform to that spirit of this present darkness.
How do we communicate this to the next generation?
First, fathers and male teachers, especially, can highlight the ways they learn from and are sharpened by godly, strong women—from the biblical examples of such leaders as Ruth and Priscilla and Lydia and our Lord’s mother Mary to our more immediate mothers- and sisters-in-Christ.
If you are married, men, pay attention and give respect to the counsel of your wife. If you are a pastor, do not patronize women in your sermon illustrations or introductions. Highlight the creation and eschaton callings of women bound up in our common inheritance.
At the same time, emphasize the horror of a man mistreating women. Do not let the boys and young men around you ever, even for a millisecond, see you waving away or justifying sexual predation, misogynistic comments, or violence against women by a sports figure because he plays for your team or a politician because he belongs to your party or an entertainer because he makes you laugh. Your hypocrisy cannot only point the next generation away from Jesus, but may also point them toward the way of predation.
Discipline boys who hit other boys, of course, but give an exponentially heightened gravity of rebuke to boys who hit girls. We want to redirect early the satanic urge to strike out at others in anger, but that’s especially true of future men who will use their perceived “power” against vulnerable women and girls.
The devil hates women enough to want them victimized by predatory men. The devil hates men enough to want them warped into predators or abusers. Let’s model a different way—that of a Christ who sacrifices himself for his Bride, and who treats that Bride not as a servant but as a friend (Jn. 15:15), not as an object but as a joint-heir (Rom. 8:17).
This article originally appeared at RussellMoore.com.