week 25

When I hear the phrase “toxic masculinity” I just want to scream:  TOXIC MASCULINITY IS AN OXY-MORON. THERE IS NO SUCH THING!  Masculinity was created by God, and He said it was good. 

Men were created in the image of God and throughout the Scriptures, we learn what real men are, how they should act. A man that lives according to the examples and teaching of the Bible is wonderful. God told men how to be men, and He told women how to be women. 

Unfortunately, not every boy grows into manhood. Not all men are gentlemen. Do you not just cringe with me when violent offenders are referred to as gentlemen or as a lady? Those two words denote appropriate behavior, generally good manners. 

I got to thinking about masculinity this past weekend. It was Father’s Day. I considered my own Father and my girl’s father. We had “daddy’s.”  As I looked through Instagram posts, I was blessed by scores of women posting pictures of their own fathers. Good men.

I thought of a quote and went searching: A father does not live for himself, but for that dear family gathered around him. Charles Spurgeon.  The pictures I saw on Instagram prompted me to search the Scriptures to remind myself why good men are who they are. 

A good man is strong and courageous; he knows his God never leaves him. Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.  Joshua 1:9.     

A man can be talented in the arts, yet also a man of war, all in the same person. I did not know David, but I know men like him today.A time to be gentle and a time to make war.  Then answered one of the servants, and said, Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, that is cunning in playing, and a mighty valiant man, and a man of war, and prudent in matters, and a comely person, and the LORD is with him.  1 Samuel 16:18

Then, David instructed his son: I go the way of all the earth: be thou strong therefore, and shew thyself a man;  1 Kings 2:2

This verse and the next were an admonishment to Job; God was preparing to speak with him and he wanted him to receive His words “like a man.” We all know what that means; the meaning is innate. Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me.  Job 38:3

Gird up thy loins now like a man: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto meJob 40:7

Proverbs is rich in instruction for men and women. Many of the principles apply to both. Men are called to be diligent in their business. A wise man is strong, because his knowledge has increased. 

Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men. Proverbs 22:29

A wise man is strong; yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength.  Proverbs 24:5

Praise God for Fathers that teach their children to work when they are young!   It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth.  Lamentations 3:27

Why do men need man caves? Just asking. If we have a man cave in our homes, are we the reason for the need to get away? Again; just asking.   When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.1 Corinthians 13:11

Mature men understand and seek understandingBrethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men. 1 Corinthians 14:20 

When I think of men, perhaps I think this verse comes to mind first. It is short and commanding. Men are supposed to be like men: Strong.     Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong. 1 Corinthians 16:13

But notice the next verse …  Let all your things be done with charity.  1 Corinthians 16:14.     Masculine strength is filtered through charity love.

If we are not careful, we can become discouraged today. Do not “buy in” to the idea of toxic masculinity. This is a derogatory phrase often used to refer to strong men, real men. 

I cannot be sure but I suspect a woman that uses this phrase has never known the love of real masculinity, from her father or from  another man.

Not quite on the flip side, she may also be a woman that is so cynical she cannot believe such a beautiful thing exists. She cannot receive or nourish it. 

C.S. Lewis wrote about the destruction of relationships and proper perspectives between men and women many years ago. What he said is frightening and prophetically true:

We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.

“[the difference between the old and the new education being] in a word, the old was a kind of propagation—men transmitting manhood to men; the new is merely propaganda.

We must return to foundational thinking and truths. God created the family. Men are good. Masculinity is good. God’s plan is that men should be the leaders and protectors of the family. Nothing is toxic about that; it is good and it is true.

Back to my observations about all the dads and husbands I saw being honoured over Father’s Day weekend: There are very good men leading families today; how encouraging. It is sad that many men never learned to be men and sometimes through little fault of their own. 

Encourage your sons to be strong and wise and loving men. And ladies, if you have men like this in your life, be thankful and let them be what God intended them to be. My husband died two years ago this past week. He was strong and wise and loving. Ladies, we do have great power in a relationship. A man can be a great leader; he was created to lead. His greatness can be magnified if he is married to a woman that will let him lead. 

CRUMPETS:

A personal note today: My husband loved “tea-time” with his girls. As soon as school was done, Lois and India joined him at the table for what was usually Father/Daughter tea time. Tea and Chapati. Tea and a quick bread. Tea and a biscuit or tea and crumpets. It was not about the tea and the crumpet; it was about the ritual of it. This was a special time for all. Daddy sitting in the middle of his girls discussing the day or whatever came up.

It is never too late to start making memories, or to begin making better memories. Honor the man in your life by serving him at least once each day and make it special. Sometimes, as school wrapped up, Harry would make the tea and I would prepare the table. His tea was probably better than mine anyway.

It takes so little to show you care.