A Man Should…

These days, boys all across America are being raised without a clear understanding of what constitutes manhood. This has helped lead to higher crime rates, worse treatment of women, more dependence on pornography, a weaker sense of character, and poor fathering, among other things. The goal of this article is to provide some framework for what a man is supposed to be or do. It is meant to wet the appetite and inspire further reflection and research. An astute reader may notice that not all of my points are only relevant to men, but to women as well. This is because a large part of being a good man is being a good human being in general. My main source of information is the Bible, this is because I have personally found it to be the most impactful in life. However, I have also read many other books, both Christian and secular, that aspects of my thinking have been influenced by. If you are not a Christian, please, do not judge my source based on the God behind it. Instead, focus on whether or not the message is a positive and constructive one for boys and men. With that being said, let’s get started!

Be Of Strong Moral Character

“Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity.” – Titus 2:7

“Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” – 1 Timothy 4:12

“But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, let your ‘yes’ be yes and your ‘no’ be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.” – James 5:12

A man should concern himself with what is right and wrong. He should then do what is right while shunning what is wrong. I know that everyone will have a slightly different view on what constitutes each, for example, I consider it wrong to have sex before marriage but many do not. Even within the Christian faith, which I practice, there are many disagreements. My neighbor, who describes himself as a Christian, believes that abortion is a woman’s right. However, I adamantly believe it is not a woman’s right. The issue of what is truly right and wrong isn’t what is being explored here, that is a separate issue for a separate article. One’s worldview plays a great deal of importance in discerning what is morally right or wrong, but no matter his worldview a man should be steadfast in adhering to what he believes is right, while refusing to engage in what is wrong.

Strong moral character is good to possess because it helps you to be a reliable person for those around you. If a man does not have a strong sense of morality, and adhere to it, then he is susceptible to falling victim to his impulses and whims. Instead of going to work and earning the money his family needs he might stay home and play videogames all day. A man that does not stick to a strong sense of morality might believe it is okay to be harsh with his wife or children. Also, a strong sense of morality helps those around you to know where you stand and to trust you. They know that you will not be easily swayed to go against what you believe is right. We have all seen a politician go back on his/her word or switch their position at the drop of a hat…don’t be like that politician. Think on what is right and wrong, then with discipline do what is right.

Unafraid Of Challenges

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9

“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” – Proverbs 27:17

“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” – Philippians 4:13

When the going gets tough, the tough face the issue, analyze it, then work to overcome or correct it. A man should look at a challenge as an opportunity to test his skills, intellect, emotions, and ideas. Much like steel, which is tempered and refined in fire, men need challenges to temper and refine themselves and each other. This does not mean we need to be unnecessarily hard on one another or intentionally make our tasks more difficult. It is perfectly acceptable to pursue a more sensible or safe way to accomplish a task or use kinder language when addressing other men.

Another facet of this is in the challenging of ideas. A man should be open to learning more in an effort to refine his thoughts, opinions, and positions. He should welcome information, even if it contradicts his current position, and then dedicate thought and effort to discerning the validity if the information received and how it might change his opinion. God intends for us to ask questions and to challenge our presuppositions in an effort to find truth.

Place His Family Above Himself

“But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” – 1 Timothy 5:8

Something that sticks in my craw is men who do not seek to care for their family. It doesn’t matter if it is his wife, children, brother, sister, mother, father, etc., a man needs to look out and care for his family. The method of caring can look different depending on who it is that is being cared for. A man can care for his wife by helping with tasks, providing income, and listening to her needs and opinions. However, when it comes to showing care for a his father a man might focus more on showing respect, placing value in advice, and offering help with projects.

If a man fails to care for his family, then he not only hurts them, but himself as well. Relationships need care and attention, they must be nurtured in order to grow and survive. Believe it or not, but every man needs relationships. They help to fulfill him, giving him added purpose in life. Likewise, as a part of the relationship, men help give purpose and value to the lives of others. It is proven that when a man is invested in the lives of his children they are less likely to end up in prison or pregnant as a teenager. This is just one of many illustrations of how important it is for a man to take his role in the lives of others seriously. No man makes his way through life without coming into contact with others and therefore affecting them, after all, no man is an island.

Be Strong

“Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.” – 1 Corinthians 16:13

The statement, “act like men, be strong,” might reek of toxic masculinity in the nostrils of many social justice warriors, but that would only be due to their ignorance of what it means for a man to be strong. It isn’t strictly about physical strength or toughness, in fact, that is a rather small aspect of manly strength. True strength for a man comes in the form of mental and emotional fortitude. Staying calm in the face of intense situations, being patient, enduring criticism in a respectful manner, these are better measures of a man’s strength. A strong man doesn’t lash out physically or emotionally when his wife airs her grievances, nor does he roll his eyes like a petulant child when his boss corrects him. A strong man can admit when he is wrong, no matter who might feel superior to him when he does it. A strong man does his best to be objective and fair when weighing different positions and views, seeking truth and honesty despite whether or not it hurts his own position. Constancy is another mark of a man’s strength, because it makes him disciplined and reliable.

Value And Teach His Children

“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” – Ephesians 6:4

“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” – Proverbs 22:6

“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.” – Psalm 127:3-5

Children bring a needed light into the world. They provide laughter, humor, unabashed love, curiosity, and purpose. A man should be more than willing to raise his children up according to what he values most. Why wouldn’t a man want his children to model what he believes is right? If a man values his children as he should, then it is his duty to instruct them to the best of his ability. After all, we nurture and care for what we value.

Be Dedicated To His Wife

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” – Genesis 2:24

“Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.” – Colossians 3:19

“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her,” – Ephesians 5:25

The union between man and wife is a special one and should be highly respected by the man. He should make it a point to be available for her emotionally, mentally, and physically. If he does this the marriage has a much greater chance of being a long-lasting and happy one. All too often we see examples of men who put work or playtime above the needs of their wife. A man should value his wife to the point of intentionally giving her his time and attention, even when he would rather be doing something else. This doesn’t need to happen all the time, but it should be a consistent practice. In doing this the man, in a sense, gives himself up for his wife, which is an act of love. Another act of love which reflects the dedication a man should feel toward his wife, is that of being tender with her. With every relationship there will be problems and arguments. However, a man should not grow unreasonably angry with or act harshly toward his wife. Doing so runs the risk of hardening her heart and damaging the relationship, possibly to the point of failure.

In Closing

Our current society is full of mixed messages when it comes to manhood. Many of these messages stand in direct opposition to many things men are naturally inclined to do or feel. We need a clear guide to help our boys and men to be productive and willing members of society. Demonizing them for holding doors open, defending women, or for wanting to be the main breadwinner will not help accomplish this goal. Boys and men need to be encouraged to embrace their natural inclinations that are good for relationships. The desire to solve problems, fix situations, and assist women are all things that should be promoted in a healthy way. It is my sincere hope that we can begin to reverse the direction we are currently heading, which is one of shaming boys and men for being boys and men. It is ludicrous to think chastising males for something as innocuous as holding a door open is going to result in a better society overall.

I believe the best measure for helping boys and men to embrace their healthy inclinations in a positive way, is the example of Jesus Christ. He is the only perfect man to ever live, responding perfectly to every situation. His life was one of sacrifice, even before He was hung on the cross. A life of sacrifice is something every man should aspire to live, sacrifice for the benefit of those around him and for the Lord.

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