Last week’s post laid a foundation for what iniquity means in the development of sexual predator impulses for men and women. This is where we are diving in today.
Most readers would probably think the term “predator” only applies to people who are in San Quentin. Years back I remember reading an article that talked about a woman in the bus station. A man attempted to rape her but another man saved her from it. Then the writer commented, “They were the same man.”
Predatory impulses are not a rare and strange thing that happens to just a few people. Everyone is wired with sexual predator impulses; that is normal and automatic; it’s easy to do. No brains required. Anyone can feel this reaction.
Look at it this way: If you see somebody that you want to get close to and you are already of a sexual age, the least imaginative way is to think about having sexual contact with them. It is the first thing that presents itself to your mind. There is nothing creative about it. The predator impulses are wired into your brain to look for the easiest, simplest way to get something you want to consume.
So, when you look at fruit on a tree, your little predator circuits are going to conclude that the stem is the easiest place to break and that is where you break it to get that fruit. You look for the weakness to exploit in order to get what you want. That is wired into everyone.
You look at situations; you see weakness and think, “I can exploit that weakness.” You see someone about to bend over at their desk and you think, “I could exploit that weakness to look at what they are doing.” You see someone is feeling lonely, “I could use that to get close to them.” You immediately go there. Humans are wired to look for the weakness and to see it as the way to get what they want.
The sexual predator impulses are in everyone. They look a little bit different for men than women. Cultures have shaped women to think, “For me to have power, I need to attract predators. If I can get people to look at me; if I can attract all those impulses to look at me I am going to be a very powerful woman.” That is normally how women think and what they expect. Clothing today is designed to make people think they are about to get a peek at something that normally should not be shown in public.
Men play the same game, just the other way around. “Since women have all the forbidden fruit, if I can somehow gain access to the thing that is being forbidden me or being hidden from me or almost hidden from me then that would make me powerful.” But both end up feeling that it should be pleasing to them and pleasing to the other person—that is the thing that makes us fool ourselves most easily. Men think “This will make us both happy if I let my predator responses find a way through your defenses and get what I want.”
While the predator response is wired in, the protector response is not—it is learned. It is acquired from more mature people who look at weakness and say, “Oh, I know how to protect that so it isn’t exploited.” It is very easy to see a weakness and exploit it; it is much more mature to see a weakness and while seeing it and seeing how to exploit it, you want to learn how to protect those conditions.
Why do sexual sin and its predatory attributes become so appealing for men and women? The answer to that is an odd answer. It is so appealing because we don’t have an alternative to it. If it is the only thing you know, you have no image, no sense that you want to protect somebody, and consequently, all you see is what you want.
The question comes up, “Why can’t I have what I want?” It is increasingly the case that just because the Bible says, or your pastor says, or Christians generally say you can’t have what you want, “What do I care what they have to say? That is their opinion and my opinion is that I should have what I want as long as I’m not hurting anybody and as long as it is tasty for everybody, then everybody should have what they want.” That is becoming the global mindset.
The interesting thing is that it never occurs to folks that the thing they really want is a permanent relationship. There is a blog titled, “Why should I not live with my boyfriend?” The answer is one of the more popular issues on the site. The reason to NOT live with the boyfriend is that it does not lead to permanence.
If what you are after is a permanent relationship, living with the boyfriend is a lousy plan. This is inevitably the case. If you want to have a long term relationship with someone…let’s say you want to have a long term relationship with your neighbor and his wife. However, you see your neighbor’s wife as “tasty.” As soon as your neighbor discovers this, that long term relationship with them and whatever closeness you were going to have is over.
The same is the case with the men who want to be close to their step-daughters. If the desire to be close to your step-daughter is a sexual one, that is not going to lead to a permanently good relationship. It will give you exactly the opposite result and a lot of misery. Many leaders have discovered a miserable outcome for what they thought was tasty to begin with because it never occurred to them at the time that what they really wanted was love that endures.
The more hopeless you feel about the desire for love that endures, the less you know about creating enduring relationships, the more likely you are to take what you can when you can get it. It is sort of a desperation response. No alternative. “I am the guy, or I’m the gal that is missing out on all the fun, all the power, all the appeal because I’m the only one who won’t.” That is kind of how they think about it rather than, “I am the one who is building for permanence here!”
If you are protective of other people, they will love to stay around you even if they have weaknesses. They have no reason to be afraid of you.
The same kind of thing would happen if we lived in a protective environment. This is what life should be like as we form churches and life together. We come together not because we are the odd people who don’t have predator impulses but we are the odd people who know something more than predator impulses—we know how to protect others. The mature answer is to learn a better response.
The Joy Starts Here book is trying to introduce how a lot of these iniquities, these deformities are not only getting into society, but are spreading in larger numbers. Deformities, when you are talking about sexuality, are not so much something wrong with us as it is something that is missing from us.
Christians need to reintroduce into culture some things that are badly missing. This is a wake-up call for us in this country because it doesn’t take much looking around to see that our society is quickly becoming predatory. We should be the ones who reintroduce that new way of life back into the culture around us starting with our own churches and families.
Resources — To order click here!
And that brings me to that Joy Starts Here book.
Pastors, this is a great way to introduce this training (relational brain skills) into your church, staff and family. Joy Starts Here, the transformation zone, unpacks a lot more. I highly recommend this resource as a next step.
Vol. 30 of the JimTalks is a companion resource to The Joy Starts Here.
Thirty Days of Joy, exercises to build joy for busy married couples.
To learn the brain skills that buildenduring relationships, click here: http://www.thrivetoday.org/
Join us again next week for more insights and resources on starting joy in your family, church and community. If you have questions or comments please drop them in the comment box below and we will respond!
May your joy be full!
Chris & Carol
Chris Coursey, MA Theology — Author, Speaker and Thrive Trainer, www.thrivetoday.org
Carol Brown, Author of The Mystery of Spiritual Sensitivity and Highly Sensitive www.fromgodsheart.com
This post was developed from a talk by Dr. Jim Wilder for Pastor’s Weekly, Oct. 31, 2013