I am saddened by the news that a highly respected author and apologist who has vigorously defended the Christian faith now has to defend his own reputation. He is embroiled in a personal lawsuit involving a married woman who sent nude photos to him. Admitting a lack of discretion and good judgment on his part, he concludes that he failed to exercise wise caution and guard himself from even the appearance of impropriety. He advises fellow Christian men to take extra precaution in their personal conduct and communications, especially with the opposite sex.
Boaz has awoken from a night of celebratory drinking to find himself in a potentially damaging situation, a situation that is ideal fodder for gossip and scandal. It is unsafe to send Ruth back into town alone and he himself cannot escort her home at that hour without inviting all kinds of questions. So he instructs Ruth to stay on the threshing floor until morning (Ruth 3:13). But he has to ensure that “no one must know that a woman came to the threshing-floor” (3:14).
As a man with moral scruples, Boaz does not take advantage of Ruth. Acting with great discretion, he takes judicious measures to make sure that no wild gossip tarnishes his own standing in the community (Ruth 2:1) or destroys Ruth’s honour and reputation (3:11). As a man of integrity, Boaz will also not let this midnight incident become an excuse for the other, nearer relative in Bethlehem to not exercise his duty as go’el for Elimelek’s family, even though that would be very convenient for himself.
Very early that morning, as soon as it is safe to do so, Boaz sends Ruth back home to Naomi. To keep their night meeting a secret, he does not escort her back to town. He then goes back to town by himself.
Naomi’s scheme to bring Boaz and Ruth together needlessly put them in a compromising situation. She was not “careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone” (Romans 12:17) and failed to “abstain from all appearance of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:22 KJV), but did “what was right in [her] own eyes” Judges 17:6). Boaz and Ruth, however, did what was right in God’s eyes (Acts 4:19).
As a man, I believe that I too am to be a moral leader in my relationship with the opposite sex. Naomi instructed Ruth to do whatever Boaz told her (Ruth 3:4). Had Boaz not been a man of character, the outcome would have been different. But Boaz took the high ground and assumed moral leadership. Christian men need to exercise prudence and protect themselves from even the appearance of impropriety. More importantly, they need to help protect the purity and reputation of the women with whom they associate. This is what true spiritual and physical manhood is about.
If found together, who would likely get the blame—Naomi, Ruth, or Boaz? Why?
Why must we be “careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone” (Romans 12:17)? Why is it important that we “abstain from all appearance of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:22 KJV)?