I recently saw this promo and it blew me away. It’s intense, but it demonstrates a problem we at In the Beginning Ministries have been fighting for a long time. Take a look below (Note: this video contains some mature language and material and might be considered NSFW. Watch at your own discretion).
It’s a lot to take in, isn’t it? But it’s true. The fact is, our culture – and particularly Conservative Christian culture – has wrecked the definition of masculinity. Even to say the word “manly” now brings to mind negative qualities like false strength, pride, anger, severity, and insensitivity.
We bombard boys with phrases like, “be a man!” and “man up” and we tell them that it’s not manly to feel or care or be vulnerable. We’re so afraid of “sissyfying” our boys, or worse, making them gay, that we push them away. Fathers keep their sons at an arm’s length and I challenge you to find a youth minister who’d feel as comfortable talking to boys about maintaining self-esteem as they are with girls.
|Yes, this is a real ad|
One of the biggest lies that the world sells us is that masculinity is something to be achieved. Keep this in mind the next time you go on Facebook or head to the grocery store and I think you’ll see that I’m right. The magazines and the pharmaceuticals say, "Buy this and it will make you a man!” The movies say "Act this way! Girls will like you!" and the exercise machine commercial says, "Work out, work out, work out! Somebody will finally love you if you work out!" and all of them say, "This, THIS will finally make you a man".
|No, GOOD men still do this. But|
he's still a man, even if he doesn't.
Even the Christians - you’re youth ministers, your pastors, you parents - often sell this lie. They say, "Act this way, treat women this way, pray this way. That'll make you a REAL man!"
I see graphics on the internet all the time saying “Real men still do…” this and that. These kinds of posts are generally advocating some chivalrous behavior or virtue, and while they're certainly well intentioned, they unfortunately miss the mark completely.
Now look, I’m not trying to shame those that have spoken or written this way. It’s an easy trap to fall into.
But here’s the God’s honest truth. Men, are you listening? I’m going to be frank with you.
You're already a man. You can be a better man, you can be a stronger man, you can be a holier man. But no matter what you do, God made you a man. You were born a man and you are a man. You are manly. Just by possessing a man’s DNA, you are encoded with God’s spiritual and physical gifts of masculinity. Gifts like strength in weakness, vulnerability, empathy, leadership, wisdom, and all of the rest. Can you grow stronger at living out these gifts? Of course. Will you be working on bettering your ability to live out these gifts for the rest of your life? Yes, but that’s what life is all about.
The fact is, no matter how sinful you become or how badly you fail or how much you struggle, nobody can take your manliness away from you. Your masculinity is something planted deep within you, and while it can always be utilized more intensely, nothing you can do can make you lose it.
So don’t ever say “I’m not a man” or “I’m not manly”. And people, let’s stop telling each other to “man up” or to “be a man”. Whether you’re a man or a woman, God created you with either masculinity or femininity deeply encoded in who you are. Embrace what makes you you. Love it. Praise God for it. But never doubt it.
Jacob Popcak is a founder and writer for In the Beginning Ministries. You can learn more about him or contact him via his contact page at InTheBeginningMinistries.com