Exodus, p. 109 If a man seduces a virgin who is not pledged to be married and sleeps with her, he must pay the bride-price, and she shall be his wife. If her father absolutely refuses to give her to him, he must still pay the bride-price for virgins. (Books of the Bible)*
It is interesting that here it is the man who is held responsible for exercising restraint, not the woman. The virgin is not chided for “giving in” (the sex appears to be consensual in this case). The man (the one with the power in this setting/culture) is responsible for taking care of the consequences resulting from his indiscretion, poor judgement, or failure to restrain himself. And if he is judged to be a scumbag, unworthy of the young virgin by her father, he still has to pay the price for marrying her even though he doesn’t “get the girl.”
In so many modern versions of Christianity, the responsibility for saying “no” is placed firmly on the shoulders of the woman – “Boys will be boys!” Men are viewed as unable to control themselves, and given a free pass to lust – “it’s not your fault – God made men visual” we are told. ‘Women need to cover up so as not to cause their brother to sin.’ Again, the implication being that men are not capable of exercising restraint.
Gentlemen, its time to step up and take responsibility for our sexuality, for our lust, for our self-control!
Lord keep me from blame-shifting. Grant me the fruit of self-control in my thought life. Empower me to view my sisters as a treasure to be cherished, honored, protected. Holy Spirit help me to view each person as precious to God and worthy of dignity, honor – possessing the Imago Dei inherently within their being.
God forgive me where I have failed and empower me to walk on in integrity.
In Jesus’ name – Amen,
*The Books of the Bible is a printed edition of the NIV without the distraction of chapter and verse numbering. For those who just can’t stand it the proper reference here is Ex. 22:16-17.