[from Matt Hudson, 6.13.18]
Father’s Day. Some might say, “What an outdated, sexist, and patronizing idea in the year 2018. It’s not just laughable these days, it’s a down right trigger-warning requiring safe-spaces everywhere!”
Just last week The Washington Post published in their pages an Op-ed entitled “Why can’t we hate men?”. It was written by Suzanna Danuta Walters, a professor of sociology and director of the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program at Northeastern University. And it will come with very little shock that her piece in the Post reflects everything one might imagine would be expressed by someone with that kind of job title.
She writes with absolute seriousness to the men of the world,
“Don’t run for office. Don’t be in charge of anything. Step away from the power. We got this. And please know that your crocodile tears won’t be wiped away by us anymore. We have every right to hate you. You have done us wrong. #BecausePatriarchy. It is long past time to play hard for Team Feminism. And win.”
As shocking as her words are, I think Dr. Walters pretty well sums up the attitude of many toward manhood in America. And, while her prescription will only make things immeasurably worse, the painful truth is that many men have completely forsaken their sacred trust as men. They’ve neither protected nor provided, but wounded and taken. That is wrong. And, it is sin.
Yet, hopefully it’s plain to us all, bad men don’t make manhood bad. In fact, manhood is God’s perfect, gracious, and brilliant plan. As is womanhood.Broken people do not bring guilt on their Creator, but on themselves for living against His loving and wise design.
This Father’s Day, it may be tempting (and easier) to downplay manhood. To just pretend that nice people are nice people, and gender is an irrelevant construct that’s passing out of style. But to do that would be to hide the truth, and to hurt ourselves (not to speak of the coming generations).
So, in honor of God’s good design, let’s highlight three basic standards that God expects of men. And while this is not everything men are, if they aren’t striving toward them, they are giving the world every reason to hate men.
Men have a specific call when it comes to love. Husbands are called specifically to love “as Christ loved the church”. That’s sacrificial. That’s a love that costs. It spends it’s energy, it’s time, it’s sweat, and it’s blood to secure the best possible outcome for those to whom it is given. Men love. Men love the good, the right, and that which is truly beautiful.
For years you’ve probably seen bumper stickers with phrases that begin with “Real men love”… and then they have some noble (or silly) object of that love. The truth is, learning to love is hard. Emptying yourself is painful. Saying no to your flesh to your pride and to your laziness takes work. But, love is work. And love works.
Love is displayed by Christ. Love is defined by the Word. Strive for nothing less than Christ-like, Word-defined love.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” John 13:34
Bitter men betray their master. I mean that in two ways.
First, you know who is a man’s master if he is bitter. He is controlled by something other than the Prince of Peace, the One who stands as the eternal sacrifice for our forgiveness. Clinging to the sins of others is not what the forgiven do. Men forgive. We will be sinned against. He promised that. So don’t get indignant, forgive.
And second, bitter men betray their Master, Jesus. He commanded that we forgive. Coming to His forgiveness, we gave up every right to demand vengeance. Every right. We deserve nothing, He gave everything. So, when our master anticipates our wounds and commands us to forgive, we are left without other options. We forgive or we betray.
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32
Grunt. Grunt. Is that what you expect when you hear the word lead? Forget it.
Leadership is running toward the problem. It’s accepting tenderhearted responsibility and expressing it through gentle, consistent examples. It’s not issuing commands. It’s not giving orders. It’s deciding that everyone else’s good is your highest call, and living in patterns and choices that show the way.
If you want to see leadership, study Jesus before Generals. Look to the Father-Shepherd leading His sheep before you look to Quarterback throwing the touchdown. Lead the way you’ve been led by your Father and His Son. Lead by His Spirit, not your ego.
“Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus…” Philippians 2:4-5
Finally, a word of exhortation to our sisters. Where you see men loving, forgiving, and leading, thank God. Literally. Praise the Father for that mercy. And, as appropriate opportunities arise, bless and honor those men for their faithfulness. Where you see men struggling in these graces, encourage, bless, and forgive. Show God’s grace to us as we stumble. You know that there has only ever been one Perfect Man. And He has the only Perfect Father.
People are not interchangeable. Men and women are not interchangeable. We need women. Lord, how we need gospel-saturated women. And, we need men. Christ-like men. We need them. Our children, our church, and our world need them.
This Father’s Day, pray for men in your life to love, forgive, and lead in the way they have been loved, forgiven, and lead by God.