Courage

“You should guard your heart

And starve your eyes; turn off the porn.

There’s a God look-alike queen counting on your patience.

Fight! Don’t punk out! Have the courage to keep your hands off another man’s blessing.

Don’t be a slave to your sex drive, murder your flesh!

CONQUER!”

Courage is one of those big words that doesn’t seem to have all the weight that it used to. Our contemporary culture is one that not only overuses words, but one that does so consistently that we manage to wring them dry of any true and deep meaning. I love words though, and there’s a part of me that longs to discover their depths and understand their full weight and wealth. I’ve always loved the word “Courage”, I’m drawn to people who embody it, and I’ve always tried to live a courageous life myself. That’s why I was sort of bothered by the realization that I don’t completely possess it. There were two parts of the poem in the video above that convinced me of this, and as you may have guessed by the portion I quoted, I’m going to start with the hard one first: Sex and realtionships.

Sex is everywhere. Unless you live in a monastery or an otherwise secluded place, it’s unavoidable. You’re faced with it every day. Multiple times. It can come in an advertisement, (probably the majority of them too!) song, text message, website, video game, movie, or in a very real boyfriend or girlfriend. With every exposure, it becomes less of a big deal and more of a commonality. Many people contend that it’s perfectly normal and natural, and therefore, not a big deal. I agree that it’s completely natural and normal, but to say that it isn’t special asserts that we couldn’t call our own lives special because life is a natural and normal occurance as well. That would mean that weddings aren’t special, births aren’t special, even buying a house or graduating from college isn’t special if you begin to reason in that way. That’s called cynicism.

The Bible says that sex is special, so special that there’s only one way it can be fully enjoyed, in a committed, ’til death do we part, marriage relationship, period. Can you have fun getting a bunch of people together and tossing a basketball into a hoop without setting any real rules? Of course! Some of the most exciting basketball games I’ve ever played included excessive travelling, tackling, and no out-of-bounds lines! The problem is that eventually, people get hurt: Scrapes, bruises, missing teeth (true story!), and broken limbs are some examples of what can happen without rules. The same things happen when we don’t do sex by the rules: STDs, broken hearts, broken families, people being taken advantage of, and valuables being stolen. I know this firsthand.

While all of that’s bad, I think that there’s something far worse happening long before the physical act of sex becomes a real issue: de-personification, which is a fancy way of saying that we’re making people less than human. Sometimes I make women less than human. The easiest way ro do it is by being content seeing them for what you like or dislike about them instead of seeing who they are for romantic purposes. Its easy to point fingers at men and our preoccupation with the physical aspects of a woman, but women can be even worse than men when it comes to turning people into objects of fantasy simply because a man listens to you, or he’s polite and held a door open. You might start wondering if he likes you and then imagining how he’d treat you in a relationship, and then seeing yourself getting married to him and imagining your family together and so on. It isn’t difficult for a woman to build an entire lifetime in her head based on a single gesture of kindness.

I gave a pretty extreme example to start, but I wanted to show that we’re all guilty of that sort of mistake when we meet someone and wonder if we could ever get with that person, as if the only reason people exist is for romantic relationships. And as we talk to them we start saying things in our heads like, “Nah, she ain’t it” or “Oh, she’s on it! I could get with her!” This is where I haven’t been courageous.

First, I focus on what I like and dislike instead of focusing on who they are, and then I start compiling evidence to support my own case, further pigeon-holing them. But if things are going positively, the real trouble starts. I start stealing glances at her when she’s not watching, trying to drink her in through my eyelids, and that’s called lust, why? Because I’m trying to control something that’s not mine. Those looks lead to thoughts, which lead to fantasies, which slowly begin to manifest themselves in my words and actions. The young ladies who are closest to me can tell when my motives start to cross the line, there’s a self-centeredness that starts to display itself even when I’m being polite. Essentially, I become shackled to my desire to find a wife… That’s not courageous.

“You should guard your heart

And starve your eyes; turn off the porn.

There’s a God look-alike queen counting on your patience.

Fight! Don’t punk out! Have the courage to keep your hands off another man’s blessing.

Don’t be a slave to your sex drive, murder your flesh!

CONQUER!”

I’ve never seen these issues as a lack of courage before. But now that I do, I’m better equipped to fight them! I hope you will be to, especially if you’re a man.

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