Jamie Wright’s recent blog post really caught my attention. I suppose it’s because I’ve been working with teens for years and it’s so true – we spend a lot of time telling girls to “guard their heart” but what about the guys?
I just asked my husband and 23-year old son whether they were ever taught about “guarding their heart” in Christian school or church. Both of them looked at me strangely and shook their heads. I’d like to think that their lack of interest in continuing the conversation was the result of asking them the question in the middle of an exciting Leafs game but I think it’s bigger than that.
Jamie writes the following:
Once upon a time, we took a short line from the Bible and we turned it into a life song for girls. We slapped it on silver promise rings and we stamped it on rubber bracelets. We emblazoned it on fitted v-neck T’s, engraved it in hinged lockets and chickified it in every way imaginable. Then we developed flowery, heart themed girl-retreats around it to ensure that our daughters would embrace it.
Above all else, guard your heart…” Proverbs 4.23
Oh, and we train our boys, too, but not to guard their heart. We tell them to avert their eyes.
Guys really don’t talk about their hearts that much. In fact, most of them don’t talk about their heart at all. I’m guessing 90% have never, ever been told to guard their heart. Probably because everybody knows that’s totally a chick thing to do.
She makes a really good point. I have to admit – this has always bothered me. Why do we constantly remind the girls but seldom mention it to the guys? I mean, it’s not about watching porn or having sex – that’s the behavior. Let’s take it back a step and talk to guys about their hearts because that’s where the change needs to take place. When the heart changes, the choices will change. Jamie continues in her blog:
I see men who are broken and hurting, men tied to their addictions, men out of control, men drowning in lust, so many men longing for peace and grace and mercy, and in desperate need of restoration for their tattered and broken hearts. Hearts that have gone unguarded for far too long.
Yet, the double standard still prevails, doesn’t it? For some reason, purity is equated with legalism or a boring lifestyle and self discipline just isn’t cool. Being a young man seems to be all about the here and now, with little thought given to the big picture. Men aren’t often challenged to consider what they will be bringing into their marriage, when it comes to their heart.
When did the condition of the heart become so feminized? I don’t see that in scripture.
I have always believed that the greatest thing one can offer his or her life partner as they enter into marriage is his or her own well – guarded heart. There’s so much to adjust to when two people decided to spend the rest of their lives together but let’s face it – there will be less to deal with “as one” when both the girl and the guy have taken good care of their heart. The past hurts and abuses, addictions and lusts, immediate gratifications and selfish tendencies are no respecter of gender. So, parents, teachers, youth group leaders, pastors, friends – we need to figure out how to talk about the heart in a way that speaks to both girls and guys. Most likely, the way it’s communicated will sound different but ultimately and hopefully, it will motivate both sexes to live wisely.
We all need to guard our hearts…when we are young and when we are not so young.
Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. Proverbs 4.23 NLT