‘For the Lord does not see as man sees;
For man looks at the outward appearance…’( 1Sam 16:7)
‘The eye is not satisfied with seeing…’( Eccl 1:8)
Ever imagined what life would be like without the gift of sight? Visual Artists would’ve become extinct and we would have no need for ophthalmologists and optometrists. Without the eyes, there would have been no need for flowers, art exhibitions, or trendy sunglasses and contact lenses. Without the eyes, Hollywood, Bollywood and our own
Nollywood would be shut down for good. There would have been no need for flat screen plasma TVs. Sony and Samsung would never have to be competitors as Radios and Hifis would suffice for all and sundry. Alas! The eyes have come to stay and the sense of sight is such an amazing one.
It all began at a solemn assembly that held eons of years ago which was moderated by an unbiased umpire. Men and women were to choose between the powers of sight (eyes) and the powers of sound (ear). Since women loved the sound of music and romantic verses, they easily reached a consensus and chose to have ears while men, had no other option than to accept the use of eyes. How the women danced in jubilation, but unknown to them, the searing gaze of men’s eyes would become the source of their greatest travails in years to come. Many a heart-broken woman would trace her misfortunes to a man who has got eyes to see and gaze intently at her. More so, men are often deaf to the counsel of women because they “lost” their ears at that sacred assembly!
Aside minor anatomical differences, the eyes of a woman would do same physiological functions like the eyes of a man. But psychologically speaking, there’s something strange about the eyes of a man. It sees far beyond the reach of a woman’s sight and vision. A man’s eyes can see beyond the reach of a telescope, and can see what an electronic
microscope would not normally detect. It’s more powerful than the penetrating beams of an x-ray or a CT-scan, especially when its gaze is focused on a woman. It can see things, though unimaginable to the mind of a woman! I wonder why optical scientists have not been able to unravel this mystery that makes a man’s eyes and his mind, the most potent enemies of a woman’s soul and body. These two ‘villains’ have taunted women for ages!
The genius of a man’s eyes works optimally upon alighting a woman’s body. With his eyes, a man can conveniently strip a well-clad woman to the bare. She might be hooded in a black robe with the sight of her body contours shrouded. Yet the intent gaze of man can actually disrobe her within a flight of seconds. With his piercingly penetrative eyes, a man can completely disrobe and discomfit a confidently dressed woman, and even deflate her sense of worth. And for ages, women have been unwary victims of the roving eyes of men. For centuries, the hallowed and divinely sculpted bodies of women have fed the concupiscent cravings of men’s’ eyes. And not a few women had been trapped in between the lustful gaze of men that saw their bodies as objects of passion.
To appease the eyes of men, some women have wittingly embraced the warped mentality that says ‘if you’ve got it, why not flaunt it’. As a result of this ‘mental enslavement’, many women have broken their values and mores just to ‘bare it all’ for the eyes of ‘admiring men’. That’s why female hip-hop dancers would be stripped to the bare while the male rapper adorns a tuxedo from a designer. For a fee, she wouldn’t care a hoot to flaunt what’s hers while no man would do that! For a fee, female super models would starve to become asthenic and skinny while the male models eats the best of meals and grow some bulging muscles here and there.
The disapproving eyes of a man can make a woman hate her body for life. She’d endure the pain of aerobic exercises at a gym just to make her man feel she’s cool and sexy. Yet his eyes will not stop to stray when another pretty woman crosses his path while driving on the highway! The male pedophile will not punctuate his gaze until he sexually molests that little girl, thus scarring and marring her psyche for life. A rabid father would not relent in his gaze on his little daughter until his name appears on the ‘Incest Hall of Shame’. How many women have suffered abuse at the hands of trusted male relatives/friends? And it all started with that first gaze!
An upwardly mobile female banker went to ‘market’ a male client with a lucrative account. As a hard working young man with gentlemanly looks, he had painstakingly built his own enterprise. She was upbeat with expectation having succeeded in many others in the past for which she got promoted. Her eloquence and persuasion skills are undoubtedly sharpened. As she talked, her male client looked intently at her. She
thought she had his rapt attention and was about closing sales, but his eyes were riveted at a choice spot; the bulging cleavage on her chest. Lost in his thoughts, his hands moved reflexly. And in a flash he did the unimaginable. He touched the untouchable! It was an immodest touch that invaded her privacy. She felt so devalued and violated that tears streaked down her eyes for this was not her first experience. So sullen and downcast, she walked away depressed losing that plum account. And countless female secretaries and personal assistants to male bosses have tales they are too ashamed to recount. The victims of a man’s gaze are many and varied.
I thought there are super men who are immune from the powers of their eyes until I read the records of the most admirable King David. When he gazed at Bathsheba while she was showered, he was restless until he ‘forcefully’ slept with her. She became a widow instantly as Uncle Dave had to arrange her husband’s murder to cover his tracks. No
sooner, one of his sons, Ammon began to lustfully look at his half-sister Tamar till he developed a crush on her. He became so consumed with passion for that he hatched a perfect pla
n to rape her. Upon deflowering her, he asked his servant to forcefully push her out his room and bolted the door behind her. What a ‘reward’ for satisfying his fleeting passion! At the end, his consuming ‘love’ for her turned to an incurable hate after he had defiled her:
“Ammon hated her (Tamar) exceedingly, so that the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he had loved her” ( 2 Sam. 13:15)
Abraham nearly lost his life after Pharaoh’s gaze alighted on his beautiful wife, Sarah while they sort refuge in Egypt. Many pastors and clergymen have shipwrecked their enviable ministries and lives for just looking lustfully at female members of their churches.
Only wise men recognize and accept their relative weakness and enslavement to the power of their eyes when it gazes intently at women. No man is immune from having ‘roving and straying’ eyes including the patriarchs of old. For instance Job, the sage and wise man of old whose integrity shone brightly above all his peers battled with this “male sight syndrome”. To ensure sanity of his mind from being battled by lustful thoughts, he had to sign a “no aggression treaty” with his eyes which read:
“I have made a covenant with my eyes not to
Look with lust upon a young woman” (Job 31:1)
It took a different kind of Man to rescue women from the pervasively lustful looks of men. Jesus Christ was one man that was awed by this phenomenon and had to give it back to men. He revealed that looking at a woman lustfully was as bad as the physical act of defiling her. He condemned the act of lustfully looking at a woman in absolute terms.
Worse still, he advocated that it’s better for a man to lose his eyes than be led to sin by it!
He taught through his exemplary life that women are to be LOVED rather than lusted after. He treated women with so much regard, respect and dignity at such a time in history when women lived in abject subjugation. And he was emotionally sensitive to their needs. He ascribed value to them and listened to them with much empathy. His gospel of love and freedom liberated women.
His loving gaze reassured women and his was the most caring eyes that could ever alight on any woman. His gaze was as innocent and harmless, being as therapeutic as a soothing balm. When he looked intently at a prostitute, he saw the pain of sexual abuse, violation of their dignity, and the emptiness within. He rose in their defense and rescued harlots ‘caught in the act’ from the taunting chants and looks of hypocritical men. He freed them from the taunts, shame and anguish unleashed on their soul from the haunting memories of men that defiled them. He brought healing and restoration to the emotionally scarred in their search for true love. They saw in Him, a Man who treated them as WOMEN rather than objects of sexual aggrandizement.
Little wonder they loved and cared for him till the point of death. Little wonder they cried hysterically as he trudged under the weight of the cross. They despaired as their only hope, and the true prototype of the ideal man they had groped and searched for was to be crucified. They watched helplessly as he died a gruesome death. They fought foreboding fears, steeled themselves against all odds and matched to his grave to anoint him. How else could they pay him inspiring and painting the picture of true love in their hearts? For without asking, they have received and given love without facing the agony of unrequited love!
The disciples of Jesus had to change their worldview as regards women. Paul who saw Jesus Christ as his greatest mentor had to redefine his view of love as he contemplated on this MAN who truly loved and respected woman. Paul thus instructed his fellow men to treat women with dignity and utmost purity as they would treat their own sisters. If we as men would catch a glimpse of this paradigm shift, we would no longer be slaves to our eyes. And women would be on their way to receiving that true and untainted love, devoid of lust which they truly and deservedly yearn for!
Obi Felix is a Physiotherapist and writer based in Abuja. He is a member of the Association of Nigerian Authors, as well as Abuja Literary Society. The writer has written many articles, poems, short stories and essays which have been published in Nigerian newspapers and anthologies. He is the moderator of Cry of Adam Network, which is devoted to bringing emotional and spiritual healing to the wounded. He can be reached via EMAIL, or BLOG