Comedian John Crist, an avowed Christian, has just canceled his tour, had his Netflix special put on hold and his upcoming book postponed because he was accused of sexual abuse by several women. He has admitted to “sexual sin and addiction struggles” and promised to work on getting his life spiritually healthy.
A few years ago, popular singer Robin Thicke recorded a song that sums up where John Crist and so many others have gone wrong. With catchy music and a clever rhyme, the song “Blurred Lines” had a hook with barbs on it: “But you're an animal, baby, it's in your nature, just let me liberate you, and that's why I'm gon' take a good girl, I know you want it…”
The writers defended the song as harmless entertainment and claimed it empowered women, but the blurred lines of the song are indicators of men’s blurred vision in an increasingly predatory culture—a culture that has produced alleged abusers like Jeffrey Epstein, Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, Crist, and countless more. People can’t see the subtle erasing of lines, but the results have left countless women in their wake.
Many men today imagine themselves as players, but beneath the slick veneer of a player is the spirit of a predator. It’s “boys will be boys” and “harmless fun,” until it’s your fifteen-year-old daughter that gets a DM from a 26-year-old player.
Our entertainment today is tainted by the pervasiveness of sexually charged settings, including pornography, an industry that blatantly exploits women and girls. In this atmosphere, integrity and righteousness are squeezed from the hearts of men. A seemingly successful man like John Crist is now leaving behind him a path of broken hearts, shattered souls, and bruised spirits.
From the beginning of creation, Adam and Eve are recorded in the Bible as “joint heirs.” Both were created in God’s image, inherited the blessing of God and had equal rights over the earth. Historically, society twisted that relationship and relegated women to a second-class citizenship.
Jesus came to make right what society got wrong. He redeems people from the curse of sin and restores us, and our society, to God’s original purpose: for man and woman to live as “joint heirs.” Jesus cut through the culture of his day and elevated women, honored women, befriended women. Jesus raised the bar on masculinity and became a model, the ideal of manhood for all time and eternity.
John Crist is a man claiming to follow Jesus but living in a world of blurred lines. His intake of sexual toxicity is indicative of what is happening to millions of men in the atmosphere of our culture today. I pray he will recover.
How can our society respect and elevate women as Jesus did, if men won’t adopt a different response to our culture? Men must take responsibility for change. We need a new generation of men who stand for truth and love. It’s men who follow the example of Christ, “men of God,” who are to be women’s best encouragers, strongest advocates, willing to do whatever it takes to elevate a woman’s dignity and highlight her position as a joint heir—exactly as she was created to be.
The courage of the women who stand up to reveal the abuse and pain must be matched by men of courage who will redefine true masculinity according to the bar set by Jesus. Real manhood and Christlikeness are synonymous. Men must embrace character and honor as worthy goals, far higher than a moment’s pleasure, a little fun.
Sexual addiction is akin to the body breathing in methane gas. While methane isn’t itself poisonous, it displaces the oxygen in a person’s lungs. A man inhaling methane gas smells no odor and is unaware he’s in a lethal situation, however, the gas chokes all the air out of his lungs, puts him to sleep, then kills him.
Similarly, sexual addiction slowly replaces the breath of life from a man’s heart. It displaces common sense, wisdom, energy and right relationships, in order to destroy. We live in an atmosphere that encourages sexual freedom and experimentation, but it contains the gaseous formulas of abuse and death.
The real tragedy today is the number of men who continue to choose the gas.
Paul Louis Cole is President of the Christian Men’s Network (CMN), a highly effective global movement of pastors and leaders dedicated to changing the hearts of men. Founded over 40 years ago by his father, Dr. Edwin Louis Cole, CMN has trained over one million men to be leaders in 138 nations to date. CMN recently launched an online training course, MajoringInMen.com, to help churches start a men’s ministry.