I read with interest a recent article published by a woman author describing a generation of middle class men without purpose and hope, disillusioned by failed marriages, cultural marginalization and unfulfilling careers. Despite the silly and unflattering generalization about the male gender which a feminist would scorn if the tables were turned, the article raised some serious points about the current state of men’s hearts and minds.
In a world where there are no absolutes, where truth is relevant to each person’s individual experience, many people are lost trying to discover who they are. Where anything goes, anything is accepted and anything “works,” men and women lurch from crisis to happiness and back again without any sure foundation. No one knows what to expect of themselves or others. Every belief, every emotion must be accepted and honored in the face of a cry of bigotry, intolerance and “hate.”
Men have long been a target for cultural and social experimentation. Told they are too strong, men tried to become “feminized” yet then found rejection by women uninterested in another child to raise, but instead seeking someone to admire. Studies and polls issue conflicting information. Ultimately the results attack men as less intelligent, less thoughtful, less serious, less mature, less committed, less compassionate, and with lesser parenting abilities. Authors of serious articles have claimed that families don’t need men, and that men bring little to the family unit other than financial support. Of course this is all obnoxious and untrue as a proposed definition of an entire gender.
As men attempt to follow the changing cultural and social landscape, trying hard to meet the latest expectations about who they should be, they are understandably lost. The caricatures of gender, for both sexes, are no less harmful and insulting than those offered up for race, ethnicity and other class designations the world has created to marginalize the human being created in God’s image. The Bible informs us that God is no respecter of persons…there is no one in a protected class, or a special class when it comes to God’s love and judgment, yet the world establishes descriptive buckets and then places people in them from whence they often cannot escape. Men feel trapped in a bucket not of their own choosing and for good reason.
As with most personal crises, the solution is found not in the world but in the Word of God.
God created an order to things. As the Creator He not only Had that right, but He was the designer who knows what is best for us. We have instead substituted our own design, based on our selfish, self-centered sense of superiority that has resulted in more and more violence, instability, confusion, anger, bitterness and disillusionment such as that experienced by the men interviewed in the article I mentioned. We are so often told “do this” and “change that” and the world will be better for everyone, and yet despite the trillions of dollars spent, the tens of thousands of social programs, the thousands of government agencies, and the hundreds of current political leaders, nothing ever changes. Why? Because humans can never change their fallen nature without the intervention of God, and the further we push ourselves away from Him the further we get from true and lasting peace and joy.
To truly “find themselves” men need to embrace the role God created for them: leaders in faith and in the home. Men must make God first in their lives, and then their wives and their children. Decisions about the home, about the workplace, and about their future must and should be made only upon fervent and humble prayer and with knowledge of the Word. Humility, obedience and commitment begins first with God, and then this relationship will foster the kind of strong marriages, strong families and strong communities that can really make a difference. Knowing your place with God will also firmly establish a strong and immovable foundation for life that will shelter and protect you against any storm of life. One of my favorite photographs depicts a man standing at the door of a lighthouse perched upon a large rock formation as huge waves drive the surf up and over the supporting ground. The lighthouse remains unmoved by the forces of nature and then man relatively dry and unafraid. He knows that even the worst gales of a hurricane will never topple the lighthouse from that rock. A relationship with God is like that: trust, faith, strength and confidence in who you are as a child of the Creator.
I have met with many crises in my life to date, both personal and professional. I was able to survive them all because I know who I am and I know my Father in Heaven. I remain humble to His power and glory, and abide in His Word in matters of my family, my personal life and my career. After all, who do you really want to follow? The latest public opinion poll or social study, or the blueprint for life given to us in love by the Creator of the universe.
Men be strong. Take charge at home with humility and patience in a relationship with God. You were created in His image for a purpose. You are loved and not cursed. You are defined by His Words and judged by His expectations, not what the world insists for you. You are highly favored and blessed. Know yourself as God knows you and the rest will fall into place.
God bless and keep you!