Men It’s Time We Step Up
This is a post I have been attempting to avoid for quite some time. There is two reasons for this; the first being that its not very nice, and the second because a good majority of it is stuff I’m still working on. So in reading this, please do not think that I have somehow mastered all of this. I haven’t I am a work in progress like everyone else and in need of just as much grace (if not more). This is a post about what it means to be a man (within the context of marriage). Now this does not mean that this post is only going to be useful to married men, its not, if you are a single guy looking to get married someday then pay attention and start working on these things now. I am going to rattle off a list of things that we as men need to be doing in order to protect our wives, protect our homes, honor God, and serve others.
An Apology To Women
Before I begin I think its appropriate to apologize to every woman who reads this. On behalf of every man who ever hurt you, abandoned you, misused and abused you, I am sorry. I am sorry we have failed to be what God has called us to be. In our weakness we have withdrawn our protection and become selfish man children, engrossed in our own wants and needs. We have become the abandoners of children, and families, the despots and spiritually broken. We have handed over the heads of our homes because we are negligent and lazy. I have been all of these things (well most of them) and for that I truly am sorry. It breaks my heart to see a woman spiritually, emotionally, or physically get abused by some sad excuse of a man…it needs to stop and it needs to stop now.
Integrity is Key
Men, your integrity is perhaps the most important aspect of what it means to be a man. In the ancient world this was referred to as honor, virtue, ect. Integrity appears to now encompass those qualities and more. It is doing what needs to be done without anyone watching. It is keeping your word even when you don’t want to. Being a man of integrity makes it easier for your wife to love and respect you, to follow and trust you. If your wife is not following you, it is not just because she is rebelling (women have some palpability in disobedience as well as men) but because you are not doing your job in being a man of integrity. You have not earned her trust by keeping your word, or by doing the little things that need to be done without being told. Now, before I move on there was a reason I put this one first, it is without a doubt the area I struggle with the most. I have in the 7 years (I’m only 2 weeks away from year 7 so I’m rounding up) of marriage to my wife been much less than I should have been and much less than she deserves. It is on this public forum that I think it would be appropriate to apologize to her for this and repent to God for this failing. As a husband I am duty bound to reflect Christ to my wife and I have failed miserably at doing so. Her patience with me has been beyond saintly and I am grateful to her for her continued belief in me even though I am far less than deserving of it. Men, do better here and in so doing honor God and your wife.
How could I not touch on this topic? Without a doubt this is the most ignored topic within the church…mostly because SO many are guilty of it. In fact about half of the men sitting in your congregations struggle with habitual pornography usage. Next time you sit in church, think about that a moment. While we make big deals about issues like abortion, and same sex marriage, we have half of the men in the church who habitually violate God’s image. Kind of makes you think that the church should literally be looking at its own plank before attempting to pick the speck out of someone else’s eye doesn’t it? Single men, when you view this you violate the person you are viewing and your future spouse and in so doing sin against God. Married men you sin against the person you are viewing and your wife and in so doing sin against God. Sex is meant to be something experienced between a married couple, not to be viewed for your entertainment or pleasure. Looking at porn is to partake in lust which according to Jesus is adultery. So in viewing porn you become an adulterer, you cheat on your wife with another person and you violate yourself in the process. Sexual sin is perhaps the most damaging of any sin that a man can commit, it harms the person they’re viewing, the people producing what is being viewed, your family, and yourself. It has collateral damage on a scale that not even a nuclear bomb has, effecting hundreds of millions all over the globe. You might as well go and have an actual affair at that point, not only because that is essentially what you are doing anyway but because viewing porn will hurt your wife every bit as much as an affair would. There is no faster way to tear your wife to pieces than by doing this. In that action you state that she is not enough for you, that she is lacking in some form or fashion. For women who have a predisposition to depression or a poor self-image it is especially destructive.
WAKE UP!! Men you are commissioned to protect, but instead you inflict grievous pain, all because you are incapable of self-control. You slam your wives to the ground and shout in their face every inadequacy that they already see in themselves in taking part in this action. Enough is ENOUGH!! Hitting puberty does not make you a man, getting a woman pregnant does not make you a man, having a 40 hour a week job doesn’t make you a man! A man puts other’s needs above their own, they care for and protect their wives. They resist the urge to be selfish and in so doing honor God and their wives. Talk to someone, get a group of men around you to help you in those moments of weakness and be real about it. When you feel the urge busy yourself with something or be with people. Whatever must be done, break the cycle of addiction and abuse so that you can begin living in a way that is healthy and righteous. There are also ministries that help with this like xxx church, however as good as these ministries are (and they are great) they can never substitute the love, support, and accountability of a living breathing fellowship where you live. I have been through this and go through it every day…this is not going away; it is something that you must be aware of and on guard for 24 hours a day. This kind of vigilance takes time, but through it and with the help of a loving faith community the cycle of behavior can stop and your marriage can be healed.
A Quick Note to Women
His addiction is not your fault. You are not inadequate, you are not less than. You are the wife of a broken man…patience, grace, and prayer is what will win out here. Keep him on track; keep him accountable (with his accountability partners). Do not allow yourself to be stepped all over and abused by this behavior. Lovingly rebuke him and if necessary get the church involved in the discipline process. You are a daughter of the Most High God, an adopted princess of God’s Kingdom, a person who literally wields the word of God as a sword and has dwelling within them the very Spirit of God. You are not lacking, he is. If he refuses to repent lovingly cut his legs out from underneath him with God’s word and in prayer, if he is already on the ground, do not kick him (I mean that). Help him up and fulfill your purpose in being a partner and helpmate to him just as God was to Israel so many times within the Old Testament.
Leading is Serving
I’ve heard many say some, interesting things to their wives. Things like, “I am the head of this house you will do what I say,” or, “submit to me,” and other idiocy related deals. Now many feminist theologians will go off about mutual submission (which is in text) however that is talking about brothers and sisters in the faith outdoing one another in Christ. This is not in a section of husbands and wives specifically and therefore is not the best use of the text in question. Women would be much better off reminding their husband of how the husband is to embody Christ and serve his wife just as Christ served the church and gave himself up for Her. See men, leading is about responsibility, not about power. The God of the universe shows us this in the Gospel when He sends His son who instead of saving us in power and by force does so through service and humility, subjecting himself to the punishment that all of us deserve (death). This is what we as husbands are called to, which will in turn make women WANT to follow. You see men, we are in need of a serious wake-up call. We are called to self-sacrificial service to our wives, we are not to lord our authority over our wives but exercise it in humility with our wives as our partners, not our underlings. This is true biblical marriage, man and woman side by side working together towards a common goal, not man above woman.
For men this is probably a hard read. We have a tendency to be creatures who want what we want and we want it now. Many times that puts us in bad place where we act less that we should. To give women a little hope let me share this tidbit with you, both married and single ladies. Your husband (or future husband) might not want to get up and take out the trash or have a conversation while the game is on, but in that moment if someone were to barge through your front door, know that your husband would be the first person between you and them. We literally will take a bullet for our spouse, so while he may be a pain, and he may need a lot of work, he needs some grace, because when it comes down to it, he literally would lay his life down for yours, just a thought. Peace and Blessings and again thank you for reading.
In Christ’s Love
Justin (AKA The Nerdy Theologian)