Friday, May 31, 2013

Careless Words

Sometimes I am a fool. Yes, just sometimes. A recent post I made on Facebook proved that point. I carelessly tagged someone in linking to a blog before I had even read the blog or considered the possible outcome of my actions. After receiving a much-deserved rebuke, I removed the post and sought forgiveness for my sinful actions. Forgiveness was graciously extended and I was reminded of the beauty of Christlike character shining through a brother and sister in Christ.

The issue was referring to one’s wife as “hot.” The blog item by Barnabas Piper spelled out several reasons why this is not wise, though the comments on my post and the blog were mixed on the issue. This phrase seems to have been popularized lately by all of the seeker-sensitive megachurch sermons on “Seven Days to Hotter Sex,” “Sexperiment” and the like.
You can buy a sermon kit and even get a billboard to announce that your relevant and hip church is going to be offering advice on the topic.

For me, hearing a man say this is a bit problematic. And I am sure it is for many others, as well. But there are surely also some for whom this whole topic seems a bit silly. They might think, “So what, a guy is communicating that he finds his wife attractive! Are you a perv or something?” Well, actually . . . 

I am grateful to God that there are many men who have never been engrossed in pornography. Sometimes I wish I was one of those. But then a message I heard from Voddie Baucham comes to mind—remembering your sin is a grace of God. 1 Corinthians 6:9–11 demonstrates this. I cling desperately to the truth of the gospel in Paul’s words because I am in that passage—both the before and after.

For those who did not grow up in the vulgar and debauched way that I did, I can understand how extolling your hot wife could seem very innocuous. Your wife might even appreciate the announcement (as was evident in the comments on Piper’s blog). But if she does, I would suggest that she fails to grasp the depravity of the minds of many men who may hear the announcement as an invitation to discreetly evaluate the claim. I can see no good that can come from such a statement, though I have no “slam dunk” Bible passage that says so. It is simply a matter of wisdom and prudence. According to recent surveys, somewhere between 45 and 60% of men who attend church view pornography at least monthly.

Several people in the comments referred to Song of Solomon as justification for the practice. Solomon talked about his lover in explicit terms. So is that book a prescription or license to describe your wife for others in the way Solomon did? You may use that justification if you like, but know that it will only heighten my (and others’) struggle in continuing to uproot the sin that I had so meticulously cultivated for decades. And, I don’t have the opportunity to check out Solomon’s hotty. If you tell me how hot your wife is . . . how, exactly, would you like me to respond to that? A bit more than awkward if you ask me.

To be quite transparent, in the days when I was scouring the internet for images to gratify the lusts of my flesh, “hot” was one of the best words to use in the search. That is exactly how many porn sites describe the women in the images they display, not to mention the Disney channel. To me, and to most of our American culture, “hot” is a word of lusty ogling. When used in an advertisement for clothing and makeup, or by a gawking man (or boy), “hot” is intended to communicate sexual attractiveness, not simply a beautiful woman. When guys sit on benches in the mall, they are there to scope out the hotties, not look at beautiful women.

And this isn’t just a man’s perspective on the issue. In a blog linked in the comments of the blog that I developed this blog from (are you following me?), Amber Van Schooneveld writes

Sure, “hot” has become a common colloquialism that has crept it’s [sic] way into most of the under 45′s vocabulary (thanks a lot, Paris), but let’s not kid ourselves, it means one thing: sexually attractive. When you casually say during a sermon, “My wife is so hot,” we all know it’s shorthand for: “I find my wife sexually attractive.”  Or when you use the ubiquitous “My wife is smokin’,” all it tells your congregation is, “I really want to have sex with my wife.”[i]

Words are not things to be slung around carelessly. I know what damage they can do, and I am sure that you do as well. I am afraid that social media has only catapulted our ability to use them in a flippant manner to new heights. So, all I can do is ask you to consider my thoughts in light of your understanding of Scripture and choose which course of action is most fitting for you. And whatever you choose, I am not your judge, just your brother. In absence of a command, you have liberty in Christ to tell us how hot your wife is. But whatever you do, do not stop extolling your wife to others. My wife is an amazing woman who loves God and serves others with a humble spirit, I am pleased to let you know that and I hope that doesn’t offend you.

Please leave a comment or a reaction and let me know if I need any correction.

[i] Amber Van Schooneveld, “Pastor: Stop Telling Us How Hot Your Wife Is,” This is not an endorsement of anything else she has written. This is the only item of hers I have read.


  1. I haven't really had to think about this issue before (no guy that I'm familiar with uses the term "hot" to routinely describe his wife in public), but I appreciate your perspective on the issue. I would think that those who *do* use that term for their wives would be wise and Christ-like to extend grace to you and those like you by refraining when they're around you. Thanks for being transparent.

  2. Roger, thank you for this post. While I appreciated the topic originally, I appreciate your humble response and correction to your misstep even more.
    Ephesians 4:29 exhorts us to 'Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.'
    Blessed are those who have never lived a life that was vulgar or debauched leaving them with memories and images that resurrect themselves regularly without invitation. But just because a believer may not carry that baggage does not mean they should be ignorant of the depths of depravity that are the norm in this fallen world, and conduct themselves as models of a better way.