In many places in Scripture, God shows special concern for widows and fatherless. That shows you He considers it vitally important that women and children have a man protecting them. For those who lack that man in their lives, God Himself fulfills the role of Protector—and with extraordinary zeal (e.g. Exodus 22:22-24).
Men: Are you zealous like God about the duty He gave you to protect women and children? Are you vigilant against any threat to them? Do you shield them from harm and injustice, even at risk to yourself?
To our great shame, our modern society sorely lacks this elementary mind-set of manhood. Men are confused about sex roles. Teaching men to protect women is not only lacking, it is condemned. God denounces our selfish society and men who don’t care for the needs of widows and the fatherless (Isaiah 1:23). He says providing a masculine presence and relieving their affliction is pure religion (verse 17; James 1:27).
For some of us, the false thinking of Satan’s world has rubbed off on us more than we probably realize.
Men: Do you look after the women in your life? Do you show them care, concern and honor? Are you the first to step up to a difficulty, a challenge, a threat? Perhaps you’ve never been taught to do so. Or perhaps you fear offending a “liberated woman” by intervening on her behalf. Much of the time, however, we men don’t step up simply because we don’t feel like it. We are being selfish.
Being a protector is not a list of rules to follow—it is a godly mind-set that manifests itself in specific actions. Your relationships with the single women in the Church give you a wonderful opportunity to practice it.
One single woman said, “We women with no men get hard because we aren’t being protected by anyone.” That is usually what happens when a woman has no protector: She starts to protect herself—and she becomes hard. Then some single men respond by saying, I’m not interested in her because she’s too hard! They simply write her off, without feeling any sense of obligation or responsibility toward her. Yet they may well be part of the reason she has had to harden and protect herself!
These women occasionally need a man’s help. This woman said she really appreciates one married man’s effort to look after single women as sisters and doing maintenance or yard work for them.
Single women: Work and fight not to become hard! Look to God as your Protector—and even to the men in the Church where possible. Be close to your minister. As God’s representative, he fights to protect the flock. Don’t harden yourself! Exercise faith and patience.
Single men: Be a protector toward the single women in God’s Family! This isn’t something you can wait to do until after you marry. Do this in your dating. Care for and look after the single women. Look for opportunities to step up and take care of them. Every time you do so, you make God’s women feel more secure—and you strike a blow at your selfish nature.
And realize this: When the women get no dates from the men in the Church, Satan notices—and often begins to come after them with men from the world. Those women become lonely and more vulnerable to that kind of temptation. You can protect your sisters from that by helping them to know that they are very cherished members of God’s Family!
Also realize: A godly man who is a protector will never push the boundary on a date. The woman should feel comfortable and protected, physically, mentally and emotionally. God commands that a man restrain and protect women from his own lust! He must be a trustworthy man of character in order to defend others from his own baser nature.
When dating starts moving toward marriage, the natural tendency is to loosen the standards. But at that point, it is even more important to uphold the woman’s dignity. You need to restrain yourself—in order to protect her! Many relationships start with the man taking advantage of the woman—even many relationships that lead to marriage. These are not built on a foundation of the man being a protector—but a kind of predator! That is a terrible foundation for a marriage.
“Fornication before marriage … puts a scar on the future marriage that can never be erased or healed,” Herbert W. Armstrong wrote in The Missing Dimension in Sex. “Many today commit fornication, and then marry the partner in fornication. I do not say such a marriage cannot be happy—it may, and ought to be. But I do say that scar will always remain! It has taken something away from the marriage. Even though happy, it might have been happier!”
Courtship is a crucial phase in a relationship. It is critical that the man be the protector of his bride-to-be. Never put her in a situation where she has to defend herself from you! If you are not serving as her protector, then she has to protect herself! If, during your courtship, you teach her that she has to protect herself from you, that will carry over into the marriage.
“‘We’re going to be married, anyway,’ argue many engaged people. ‘So what’s the difference?’ What’s the difference? It’s the difference between SIN and righteousness—between ruining the marriage, and saving it for a true God-plane relationship—between corroding and seriously detracting from this lifelong companionship, and keeping it clean, pure and full of joy” (ibid).
What a difference timing makes! Demonstrate character in courtship. Doing so is the difference between sin and righteousness, corrosion and purity. Men: Courtship is your opportunity to prove your trustworthiness, to show her that she can trust you and feel safe with you—that she can look to you as her protector.
Every man must protect women and children from his own worse nature. This includes curbing his anger, impatience, cruelty and mean-spiritedness. Simply treating women with dignity and honor is a form of protecting them. A man who demeans a woman causes her to feel defensive around him, when she should feel protected!
It is important to realize, too, that being a successful protector means you must protect your own mind first! Don’t get into material influences that you shouldn’t. A man who is satisfying his own lusts, failing to safeguard his own mind from the evils of this world, is seriously compromising his ability to protect others.
A man who becomes a protector initiates a beautiful virtuous cycle. As he fulfills his role, he actually grows in the respect, honor and love he holds for those he protects. And when they feel protected and loved, they grow in admiration and respect for him. When a woman feels safe with a man, she becomes more womanly and lovely. When children feel cared for, they tend to grow more humble and teachable.
Pray that God will help you think as He does. Pray He will sensitize your vigilance. Pray He will give you the right emotions. Pray He will steel you to your duty, wherever it surfaces. Pray He will prod you to right action. And pray for opportunities to step up and be a man—a protector.