Superman had one vulnerability. At other times he felt invincible. Once Clark Kent changed clothes, there was no stopping him. However, once he found himself in the vicinity of a rare rock, kryptonite, his flaws began to show. He could be hurt. He could feel pain. He could be caught slipping. Black men have a similar vulnerability. It doesn’t hail from a far away planet called Krypton. Instead, it is often found in supermarkets, work spaces, shopping malls, and yes…even churches.
Today I want to address the black man’s kryptonite: the booty. Many Christian men struggle with this harsh reality. Otherwise invincible, they are serving God, loving life, and living out the Gospel. Yet something happens when they find themselves in the vicinity of attractive women. Flaws begin to show and, ultimately, Christian men could be caught slipping. Maybe it’s not their fault. Maybe they are just a product of their environment. They haven’t been saved their whole life. So what’s up with us men? Why do men generally view women as a piece of meat? More than that, what is our fascination with women’s derriere?
Let me tell you something, most men have struggled or do struggle (although some don’t even “struggle” at all because they see it as second nature) with lust. For those of you who haven’t or don’t, God bless you, but this post isn’t for you. This isn’t just a struggle for men who don’t have a relationship with Jesus. I have seen saved men struggle with the same syndrome that many unsaved men struggle with daily. While many unsaved men are “afforded the opportunity” to look without their conscious convicting them, saved men have to carry around guilt for failing yet another test when an attractive woman walks by. I have been saved for over a decade and it even took me some time to get over the syndrome. What syndrome is that? I call it the “domino” syndrome, the “head turning” syndrome, or the “daaaaaaaannnnnnng, look at that butt” syndrome.
For example, one day I was at local gym playing hoops in Atlanta. It happened to be a co-ed gym. Some brothers and I were sitting on the sidelines between games and a woman passed by. Without fail, as she passed each male head turned to look at “what she was working with”. All in order. Bloop, bloop, bloop, bloop. Falling like dominos. One after another. I refused to turn my head. Not because she wasn’t attractive. It was because I made a commitment not to conform myself to this world. I made a commitment to break a cycle and a curse flowing down through generations of men. This is especially true of African-American men. I won’t say that Caucasians or even other minorities are without the same problem, but for some reason African-American men have booty issues. We just like butts.
A Checkered Past
I remember in the 90s there was this song and video called “Nothing But a G Thang”. One thing I noticed in the video that alarms me now (besides all the half naked women)? There is one scene where a toddler is standing with a group of men. A young lady walks by and everyone in the group turns to look at her behind; including the toddler! I thought that was hilarious when I saw it in the 90′s. When I reflect on it today, it echoes a harsh reality in our society. For many, this domino syndrome is a learned behavior that we pick up when we are very young. How many men remember women walking up to them telling them, “You are going to be a heartbreaker when you grow up”? And they grow up to be that heartbreaker. It was spoken over their lives How long does that word reoccur in their spirit while they grow and mature? For years it is cultivated. By the time they are of age, they are ready to fulfill their role as a heartbreaker. I’ll be dog gone if I speak that over my son. I declare right now that my boy will not be a heart breaker, but a heart mender.
How many men remember their male relatives treating women disrespectfully (sometimes abusing them) and grow up to imitate the same behavior? Children are sponges. They soak up everything they see and hear. Shoot, I knew some kids that could rival Eddie Murphy’s Raw with what came out of their mouths. Remember, the words that you speak near and around children have a very powerful impact on them. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue…”(Proverbs 18:21). To single mothers, don’t tell little boys that they are going to grow up to be just like their daddy (that is, unless their father is a dynamic and wonderful man of God). You are speaking words of death over them when you do this.
So many of us men have learned the behavior of the infamous domino syndrome or head turn. That’s one of the complaints that I hear from many sisters nowadays. They hate to walk by a group of men. They feel like every male in that group is going to do what has been characterized as “what men do”; look at her butt when she passes by. And these are women who don’t wear provocative clothing, so the provocative clothing argument does not carry weight.
The Look—Not So Innocent
What if men knew the truth behind what they perceive as an innocent look? Jesus said something really profound that transformed my thinking about the innocent butt check. He said, “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). Wow. Are you serious Jesus? You can’t be serious. You mean, if I look at a woman lustfully…I have committed adultery with her in my heart? Wow.
Married men, the “look, but don’t touch” principle is not in the Bible. I could not find that anywhere; Old or New Testament. I’ve seen so many men, with rings on their finger, happily married brothers, constantly looking at women as they pass. I’ve seen this happen at church. Jesus said that you commit adultery just by looking at the woman lustfully. How would married women feel if they knew that their husbands committed adultery…every day. Single men, being single does not exempt you sir. In fact, you disrespect God, yourself, your future wife, the woman’s future husband, and your biological sister (if you have one) by sneaking a peek at a woman’s behind. According to Christ, even without a ring, you are an adulterer.
Some men say, well I thought sexual sin was reserved to fornication. You know …the actual act. First of all, that’s a gross misunderstanding of what the word fornication means? The Bible says, “Flee sexual immorality (translated: fornication). Every sin that a man does is outside the body; but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body” (1 Corinthians 6:18). The Amplified version of this verse defines fornication as “impurity in thought, word, or deed”. Hold up, does that mean that all my impure thoughts and words are included with the deeds when you speak of fornication? YES! You fornicate with women in your mind even before the act. It’s a process my brothers. Check out this verse, “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death” (James 1:14-15).
Do you see the process? We are drawn away by our own lust. We blame things on the devil, but it is our own lust that draws us away. It’s a birthing process. The next thing you know that lust conceives and brings forth sin. Men start the process with their eyes. We are driven by what we see. We see a hot new car…gotta go get it. Why do you think companies spend millions of dollars on Super Bowl ads? They know exactly what they need to do to entice us. Our eyes are a window to our soul.
The booty epidemic is serious. It gives rise to so many other cultural issues and problems. It’s an issue that must be dealt with, but requires both humility and self-control. Humility knowing that God’s grace is the one thing that wakes up our conscious to matters to that other men may feel is trivial. Self-control is a bit of a misnomer. Honestly, we know that left to ourselves we’d do it in a heartbeat. Without thinking. But God has given us His Spirit to dwell in us who helps us exercise this control. We are to be held to a higher standard. We should continually challenge one another to live up to that standard.
So the next time you find yourself around some Kryptonite, you might need to become Clark Kent again. We all try to be spiritual Super Men, but God doesn’t require that from us. He just wants regular men who submit to His Spirit. Stop trying to fight this with your own strength. Because it is when we are weak that we are made strong.