Standing Up for Men in a World Where Society Doesn't
"22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and the two will become one flesh.”
Is it just me, or are you sick of guys getting constantly brow beat by our society? I'm no expert on social affairs, but seriously, you'd have to be blind not to see the obvious demeaning attitude our society has taken towards men. Media is chalk full of men bashing, 'women empowering', and gender confusing propaganda. Why is it that almost every sitcom on tv has a stupid, fat, gross or uncaring male figure? But of course, the women in previous said sitcom are beautiful, powerful, caring, nurturing, giving and overall good role models. Its not the fact that women are portrayed in a empowering light, its that women are lifted up while men are shoved down into the ground. Media shows men as the problem, and women as the cure. Men are the butt of society’s jokes. Since when did it become ok to bully men? If we treated gay people, children or African Americans like we treat men, heads would roll. Yet somehow we've made it okay to berate an entire sex. The male gender has been bent, mistreated and misrepresented for all long as I can remember. We have the Edward Cullen characters who although may be good with the ladies, are brooding, sickly lowlifes who almost barf when they smell a pretty girl. There are the Jersey Shore guido’s who drink, womanize, cheat and fight to display their ‘manhood’. There’s the classic "King of Queens" man who burps and mis-communicates his way into 'loveable' antics, which really, in the end, makes him look stupid and his wife the smart hero. How about the Michael Scotts who are so clueless and sexually perverse that everything they say and do destroys everything in their path. Or the 'Every Man' who is so sex-crazed he cant control his eyes, hands or umm...pants.
Tell me, what happened to the Mr. Darcy- who though flawed and broken, can admit his wrongs, asks forgiveness and bends his pride to be the man? Where are the Mr. Ingalls who cares for his family, and works hard to not only provide food and shelter, but teach his children right from wrong? Where is the man who stands for what’s right, fights to protect the weak and loves his wife, children and friends with a passion that spurs him to selflessness? We women want our men to be our knight, yet everywhere we turn, men are portrayed as anything but a knight in shining armor. Is society right? Do those men no longer exist?
When my husband and I were first dating, we both read a book called "God's Gift to Women; Discovering the Lost Greatness in Masculinity” by Eric Ludy. Although the title seems a little narcissistic, the idea is that God created men to be the heroic, loving and selfless leaders- what every women wants their man to be. Eric talked about how men are designed to be a reflection of Christ, and used the term "Warrior-Poet" as an ongoing theme to define Christ-like manhood. Eric recounted a quote from the movie ‘Braveheart’ where William Wallace in a narrative said "In the year of our Lord 1314, patriots of Scotland, starving and outnumbered, charged the fields of Bannockburn. They fought like warrior poets. They fought like Scotsmen. And won their freedom.'' The term "Warrior-Poet" is a simple way to remember what men we're made for- a Warrior protects serves, guides, and leads. A Poet freely expresses love and gently cares for those around him. God's plan is not for men to be cowards who shrink back, slobs who melt into a world of video games and football, or overbearing jerks who throw their weight around in order to rule their home. God created men to be a direct reflection of Christ. “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her..." (Ephesians 5:25) A Warrior-Poet understands that meekness is strength under control. He freely serves by leading and giving himself for the good and welfare of those around him.
Christ is a perfect example of a "Warrior-Poet". He paved the way with strength, justice and mercy. He sacrificed everything so those he loves (you and me) could have life. He was God incarnate, and had all power, yet he didn’t throw it around just to prove a point. When he could have condemned, he forgave. He deserved to have his feet washed- yet he washed the feet of others. He had perfect meekness- strength under control. His love for us is perfect. Everything he did, from his first breath, to his last, was a love letter for his Bride, the church. Just as Christ leads the church with a tender, yet firm hand, so are men to lead their families, churches, workplaces, and society. " For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church..."(Ephesians 5:23) Christ is the perfect example of what men are meant to be...and what men CAN be.
So you're probably saying right now, well that’s nice, but the men in my life don’t act that way. Well, I hear you. It is a man’s ultimate responsibility to live his life according to the standards God has put in place. No women can force them into it. Yet, we as women have the great opportunity to encourage men to greatness. We as women can flex our God-given role of helper, and spur the men in our lives to Warrior-Poet status. By bashing, humiliating and deflating our men, we're stripping away every ounce of will they have to become the men God created them to be. Just as a child can be bullied and beaten into a reclusive shell, men can be beaten into society’s stereotypical mold. If we stop the constant nagging maybe our men would finally have a chance to show us and the world the amazing leaders and lovers they can be.
Society is wrong. Dead wrong. Men are not the stock character who always mess everything up while being a jerk, low life or miserable sot. Yes, there are men out there who are all of those things, and probably worse. There will always be bad eggs. Yet, the men I know; my husband, my Dad, my brother-in-laws, my pastors and my friends, are not. And I promise you ladies, most of the men in your life are not either. They may be a work in progress, but God designed them to be more then what society tells them they are. I think it’s our job as women to lift our men up and make sure they know we believe in them. We need to be their cheerleaders. We can’t fall into the pitfall of bashing the men in our lives. We have to spur them onto greatness- by responding and respecting them like God designed us as women to do.
So, men, don’t be the stereotype. Choose to be the Warrior-Poet. Be the man God created you to be. And women, maybe its time to stop being such feminists. We (I’m talking to myself here!) forget that God created both men and women for equal, yet different roles. Allow your man to be who God created him to be- the servant-leader of your home. Build them up. How can we expect our men to be something that we constantly tell them they aren’t?