Men and Toxic Masculinity
“Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.” 1 Corinthians 16:13, 14
Issue: Men have been harried of late for their misdeeds and downright dastardly deeds.
Much of it has been warranted. Some of it has been too broadly brush stroked, seeming to implicate all men in the misbehavior, abuse, disrespect and arrogance of the few. So here is my perspective.
We’re all; familiar with the “me too” movement. Wikipedia defines it as “a movement against sexual harassment and sexual assault. #MeToo spread virally in October 2017 as a hashtag on social media in an attempt to demonstrate the widespread prevalence of sexual assault and harassment, especially in the workplace.”
Next, the American Psychiatric Association published a report, recently, distaining traditional masculinity; suggesting that … “parents and psychologists should think twice before instilling elements of “traditional masculinity” in men and boys. Traditional masculinity ideology – which the APA says includes elements of “anti-femininity, achievement, eschewal of the appearance of weakness, and adventure, risk, and violence” – can be psychologically harmful to men and boys’,
Then, this week, the Gillette Company added video fuel to the verbal fire by producing an advertisement that became an attention grapping, social commentary. The nearly 2 minutes portrayal of “boys being boys” seemed to bandwagon the issue of men generally behaving in poor taste, with a few notable exceptions. Their stated company goal was “If we get people to pause, reflect and to challenge themselves and others to ensure that their actions reflect who they really are, then this campaign will be a success”.
Finally, one of the contributors, to the APA report, Dr. Ryan McDermott, said this…” if we can change men, we can change the world”.
Response: What do I make of this? I say welcome to planet earth. Men have been playing good roles and bad throughout human history. God’s grace manifests in good behavior, sin in bad behavior.
That is why it is has always been my premise that if we can change men, we can change the world; for good – that is why I started this ministry and that is why our mission statement reads… “Our mission is to lead men to Christ, and disciple them toward maturity in Christ, so that they develop spiritually and become leaders in their sphere of influence.”
And our motto reinforces that“…“The focus is simple: we seek to inspire men to be real men as they follow the greatest man, Jesus Christ.”
BUT; thinking you can change men and create a better society by getting them to deny or modify their God given biology is not only unrealistic, it shows, fundamentally that these doctors don’t appreciate God’s design for gender biology and behavior.
Furthermore, it shows that the APA report contributors don’t understand the spiritual component of behavior either; that only God, through redemption, regeneration and sanctification can alter how a man acts out, migrating his behavior from bad to blessed.
No, social movements are not going to correct the problem of man or woman’s sinfulness. Social campaigns can highlight issues that need to be confronted but they cannot correct it – only Jesus can do that and His chosen method is through the gospel.
A final thought on men: God has chosen men, to change the world.
There was a man – the man Christ Jesus – who took twelve other men as His chosen instruments to bring life change to our world. Jesus chose to use men, to reach out to a broken and tortured humanity with the message of the love of God.
Perhaps what ails modern America and men especially is that we’ve let go of this high and honored calling. Fact is, and these social movements prove it, we Christian men haven’t been getting that message across clearly. And, perhaps we haven’t been getting that message across clearly because our neighbors don’t sense we love them genuinely?
Remember the two great commandments; Matthew 22:34-39?
#1 “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment.
#2 The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
My solution for this whole ugly mess is to get Christian men to live out their faith, in love. Men are to love God and others. Then we need to reach across the street to invite the hurting, confused, broken, marginalized, ignored or lost neighbors into a conversation about who God is, how He sent Jesus to take away our sins and give us an inheritance which will not fade away – all the while helping us to “grow up into all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ” – to be more like Jesus ourselves. Ephesians 4:15
Now that right there would fix society.
Action Step: Men we’re stepping into the second month of this year. Let’s all recommit to living a godly lifestyle that exemplifies what Jesus produces in a man who surrenders to Him. Then let’s pass along that “contagion” , through the gospel, to our neighbors. Thanks for being a part of this ministry that seeks to be solution oriented, helping men be more like Jesus so wives, children, coworkers and neighbors can experience the best from the men in their lives.
– Jim Cote’, President & Founder