The Washington Post recently asked 16 leaders what one thing they would change to end sexual harassment in their particular fields. They published an article, entitled "The One Best Idea for Ending Sexual Harassment," offering eight of the "best" ideas. Their eight answers illustrate the need for prayer for our nation. Here are a few:
- Gretchen Carlson, former Fox News host, "Change the law ... [Give] victims the right to confront their harassers in court."
- Debra S. Katz, civil rights lawyer, "[S]exual harassment is not about sex. It is about abuse of power ..."
- Nancy Chi Cantalupo, law professor, "Vigorously following Title IX ... (is) the most effective was to address sexual abuse."
- Jill Abramson, Harvard lecturer and author, "Put more women in charge."
Seriously? Change our legal system, stop abuse of power and put more women in charge? These well-intentioned answers have absolutely no shot at ending sexual harassment. These answers only go an inch deep into understanding a problem that goes into the very depths of our souls.
The one best idea for ending sexual harassment is to deal with sin. Sexual harassment is predominantly one direction: men harassing women. The sinfulness of men many times bleeds into their private sexual lives, hidden from accountability. Studies differ, but, on the average, men think about sex 20 times per day (twice as often as women). Couple this with our sexually-oriented society and it often results in men's sexual desires wandering into destructive areas.
The real issue is what is in the heart and desires of men that causes sexual sin. Laws won't change men's hearts. More women in charge won't change men's hearts. Only the ways of God will change men's hearts. Men in the workplace may change their behavior because they don't want to get into trouble, but if you want to end sexual harassment, you must change the heart of men. Only God and His ways can do this.
Here are three ways to pray for the end of sexual harassment:
- Pray that porn would be dealt with. Pornography is one click away. It takes little effort to find pictures or videos (or worse) of a person's choice. In fact, it takes effort to avoid pornography in the information age. Pornographic websites and social media apps should be regulated extensively and shut down. The prevalence of pornography leads to the sexualization of women, creating an atmosphere where it is very easy to treat women as objects instead of people. "I will set no wicked thing before my eyes" (Ps. 101:3).
- Pray for a less permissive society. In an "anything goes" society, we can expect anything to go. A permissive society creates an ever-increasing appetite for more and more extreme behavior. Young men must have models of the value of restraint in order to protect themselves from runaway destructive desires. Many recent studies have shown that a brain on drugs is similar to a brain that has been exposed to permissive images and behavior. "As for God, His way has integrity; the word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all those who take refuge in Him" (Ps. 118:30).
- Pray for characters in entertainment who honor and cherish women. The entertainment industry has a tremendous effect on the perception of how women are treated. Strong masculine characters who protect and cherish women's sexuality would be impactful in curbing sexual harassment. "But an honorable person acts honestly and stands firm for what is right" (Isa. 32:8, GNT).
Reverend David Kubal is the president and CEO of Intercessors for America (IFA). IFA equips and supports praying Christians to shape the nation's history through prayer. As the president, his vision is to mobilize a multi-generational army of intercessors. To learn more, visit IFApray.org.
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