I remember thinking, "I didn't just hear that... and certainly not from a woman." But I had just heard that. What in the world? Why would a seemingly educated and successful woman say such a thing? Is that what she likes in men? Is that what she expects from her boss or co-workers? Is that what she is looking for in a husband? She laughed, and the other women laughed with her and agreed.
Last week, Charlie Sheen came out with a sobering announcement. He is HIV positive. He has been for a while. He has been while having sex with multiple women. This isn't the TV show character. This is the real guy. It isn't really a shock for most people. Sheen has a party guy reputation. It wouldn't surprise many if life imitated art in his case... or if art was imitating life. Regardless, he was a drinker on the show with serious relationship issues, and a promiscuous lifestyle. That was true for him off-screen as well. People laughed their heads off as he played the character on the hit show.
But as his real life spins out of control, people are not laughing. They think it is a problem. What is a problem is that we celebrate such lifestyles on screen and randomly celebrate and judge them in the real world. Seriously, is it funny when men objectify women and treat them as their toys, or is it gross? We can't seem to make up our mind. But then when we find out an actor who won awards for being a womanizer is sleeping around with a sexually transmitted disease, we shift into Christian mode and talk about how wrong it is... even though we thought it was hilarious on TV. Here is how the public viewed Charlie's life on Two and a Half Men...
2002 Nominated Kids Choice Award Favorite TV Actor
2005 Nominated SAG Award Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series
2005 Nominated Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - TV Series Musical or Comedy
2006 Won Golden Icon Award Best Actor - Comedy Series
2006 Nominated Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor - Comedy Series
2006 Nominated Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - TV Series Musical or Comedy
2007 Nominated People's Choice Award Favorite Male TV Star
2007 Nominated Teen Choice Award Choice TV Actor: Comedy
2007 Nominated Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Character - Comedy Series
2008 Nominated People's Choice Award Favorite Male TV Star
2008 Nominated Teen Choice Awards Choice TV Actor: Comedy
2008 Nominated Outstanding Lead Actor - Comedy Series
2008 Won ALMA Award Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Television Series
2010 Nominated SAG Award Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series
Now, I'm not trying to pile on a guy after he finds out he has a horrible virus. If Sheen contacted me tomorrow and wanted to talk about spiritual reality, I would be glad to compassionately offer him hope. But look at that list of award nominations and wins. His womanizing, drinking, foul portrayal was praised by kids, teens, and people in general. He was one of America's favorite male TV stars. That is as telling as it is disturbing.
Women claim they are having a more difficult time finding the right man today, but many love a guy who is a womanizer. What in the world?
Well, the Bible actually talks about such things... a lot. One of the things we find in Scripture is the expectation of how men should act. The apostle Paul wrote this to the pastor Titus...
"Older men are to be level headed, worthy of respect, sensible, and sound in faith, love, and endurance. Encourage the young men to be self-controlled in everything." (Titus 2:2,6)
Now... that kind of lifestyle will not win you entertainment awards. It won't keep you on the cover of magazines as one of the sexiest men alive. It won't make you the heartthrob of fajita eating business-women everywhere. But it will put you in good standing with God. It will lead you into spiritual success. It will set you up for healthy relationships and the woman God has for you. It will likely keep you from falling into a life of substance abuse and sexually transmitted diseases.
I have prayed for Charlie Sheen today. He needs Jesus... in every area of his life. I know God has put people in his path to show him the right way. Sheen is no worse of a condition than many people. He is just famously lost.
Here is a suggestion for the men reading this today... Be men... real men.
Be level headed.
Be worthy of respect.
Be sound in faith.
Be sound in love.
Be sound in endurance.
Be self-controlled in everything.
Women... value these things in men. Celebrate them. Do not go after the 'bad boy' image. It is not the path that leads to healthy relationships or healthy men.
[Bible quotes are from the Holman Christian Standard Bible, unless otherwise noted.]
Find more of David’s work at Heart Of Ministry.