It is a song that many of us remember from our childhood: O be careful little eyes. For those not familiar with the tune, it is basically a warning to avoid seeing, hearing and saying things that can cause one to sin, as the song goes on to warn about our ears, mouths, etc.
I thought about the song after a recent reading of Mathew 5 and the Sermon on the Mount. While he preaches on many things, Jesus reminds disciples of the commandment not to commit adultery. Jesus then takes things one step further by saying that any man who looks on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her in his heart (Matthew 5:27-28).
I don’t know where you shop for groceries, but odds are you will pass by magazines while checking out at the store. At least one of the magazines will feature a woman on the cover. She might be half-naked or scantily clad. It could be that she’s fully dressed, but the photographers and editors spared no expense with her hair, makeup and clothing while offering ‘tips’ on…things adults chose to do with other adults. If a married man were to read that information and begin thinking about her inappropriately, is he committing adultery with her in his heart? I think so, and the same would apply for the movies and television channels he watches.
Speaking of television, the town where I work had significant damage in 2014 from a tornado that April. A meteorologist from one of the cable news channels came to town and did live reports on the damage. During one of her appearances, I happened to be next to a married man who noticed her on television and said, ‘She’s in town? I wonder if she needs me to show her around!’ To be fair, he may have been making a joke. Either way, this man was not thinking about his wife at that moment.
Are you a married man looking at other women inappropriately? Do inappropriate thoughts come to mind after you notice a woman? It is a question that only you can answer. Even if you are squeaky clean in these areas, do not think it will never happen to you. Consider David. He slayed Goliath and was a man after God’s own heart, but he too saw a woman bathing and lingered (2 Samuel 11). That led to another sin, followed by another sin, and the same can happen to us. That is why we have to be careful, not only with our eyes, ears and mouths.
Seeing something and dwelling on it is bad enough. Hearing or saying something inappropriate can be a problem for those around you, thereby luring people into the same trap that got you. No man is perfect, but the point of the Sermon on the Mount and other teachings is to be the people Jesus calls us to be. Are you listening? Are you even trying?
If you are struggling in these areas, there are ministries that offer advice. Focus on the Family is one example and suggests that readers:
• Refuse to act on (or even reveal) feelings of attraction to someone other than your spouse
• Avoid outside influences and environments
• Change your attitude about your marriage
These tips may seem simple, but they could help all of us in the areas brought up by Jesus in Matthew 5. If you see a woman in person or in photographs, refuse to act on any feelings of attraction you may have at that time. If you wish to avoid magazine aisles at the grocery store, consider the self-checkout section. It most likely does not include magazines and other merchandise.
Meanwhile, take your wife out on a date. If money is an issue, set aside time for a movie or meal that will only involve the two of you. Whatever you do, love your wife and make her a priority.