Monday, January 21, 2013
Innocence 3 - Valuing Innocence
I encourage young men to pursue relationships with women who imitate the character of the biblical heroine of Ruth. In the Hebrew arrangement of the Old Testament, the book of Ruth follows the book of Proverbs. The placement of these books illumines the importance of the term "virtuous woman". The last section of Proverbs describes the character of the "virtuous woman." (Proverbs 31:10-31) In the book of Ruth, Boaz, the hero of the piece, describes Ruth as a "virtuous woman." (Ruth 3:11) Thus, the woman Proverbs 31 describes, Ruth exemplifies.
The term "virtuous woman" needs definition. The Hebrew term translated "virtuous" is translated differently when attached to men. In that connotation, it means a warrior man, a courageous man, one whom you would want next to you in a foxhole. (Judges 3:29; I Samuel 9:1, 31:12; II Samuel 11:16; II Kings 5:1) In our antiseptic world, society has eliminated or isolated the more earthy and messy aspects of reality. True war and battle stays remote and distant from the genteel environment while portrayed war only intrudes into the media. Our acceptible notions of beauty and proper behavior have sanitized any concept of war or courage from femininity. In doing so, we have removed ourselves from properly understanding the kind of woman the Bible recommends young men to pursue.
One young man asked me if he knew of such a woman but was not attracted to her if that indicated a lack of discernment. Attraction is a complex of differential factors, not all of which show a lack of discernment. However, Christian men ought to analyse warily their attraction paradigm. We can easily fall into the deception of fad and vouge the present age encourages. This opposes the true and righteous.
It falls to Christian men to strive to value and celebrate the virtues of courageous women. These virtues, of course, begin with innocency. Without innocency, courage devolves into vice. Attila the Hun demonstrated courage without innocency. Courage follows the duties, responsibilities, and fidelity required for each person in their respective stations. We demonstrate proper courage when we obey God at personal cost. We demonstrate proper courage when we keep our promises even at personal loss. We demonstrate proper courage when we sacrifice our own safety to protect another. Innocency demands we fight for right over wrong, truth over lies.
In every description of the virtuous woman, we find a woman dedicated to her personal convictions. She knows God and follows Him to the end. She also demonstrates industry, fulfilling her responsibilities with determination and timeliness. She engages her relationships with loyalty and fidelity.
Christian men ought respect and admire these qualities even though they may not "feel" attraction. As these qualities grow in our estimation, they rise in the hierarchy of our factors of attraction. We ought to strive to promote the virtues of the "virtuous woman" until they achieve supremacy over factors determined by fads or vogues.
This not only applies as the biblical method of spouse selection, but it also operates as our duty to foster proper biblical virtues in others. As men value biblical virtues in women, women may also seek to develop those virtues within their own persons. While this works both ways, men face and additional challenge due to their particular susceptibility toward visual stimulae. As such they bear particular responsibility to combat their unique temptation. Men must learn to subject the visual to the virtuous. Only in doing so will Christian men fulfill their duties and discover their courage.