“Weird”. “Ego-centric”. “Gay”. “Piggy”. “Stupid”. Those are some of the words that I would hear about myself. Thrown at me by different people – mostly in my young years in school. Admittedly, I wasn’t the most charming kid and I really didn’t know any better.
Looking back, I realize that those words are deep wounds in my soul that I’ve carried with me since then.
How can a guy haunted by a past like that possibly grow to become a man? To pursue the woman of his dreams? To love?
The Scorching Truth
“We’re a generation of men raised by women.” – Tyler Durden (Fight Club)
Most of the men in my generation today are raised by women. I know I was. My dad was mostly absent in my shaping years because of work and business. Granted, me, my mom and my siblings never felt the pangs of hunger but there was something sorely lacking, even wrong, in my manhood.
I was wobbly at best – unsure of what it really means to ‘be a man’. The little I knew of manhood was portrayed in the movies in scenes where the supposed protagonist acted of rising up, being angry or vengeful, winning the fight, winning the girl, getting the loot and riding off happy.
A picture that is tragically wrong.
A picture that I thought was what manhood was all about.
My Search for Identity
You can’t ‘man up’ when you have a skewed sense of masculinity in your life as I did. I had to find a point of reference. I had to have an example to follow. And I found the answer in the character of Jesus.
“So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!” – John 2:15-16
We rarely see men (sadly, especially men in church) take action for what they believe in as Jesus did in the temple courts in His time. I don’t mean to depict Jesus as a violent man. He was a man who the little children can run to and play with.
He was a man who broke bread probably more than 5,000 times (that’s tiring!) to feed 5,000 men. A man who saw the crowds of Israel and had compassion on them. A man who wept for His dear friend Lazarus only to resurrect that same friend some days later.
A man who rebuked the leaders and moralists and philosophers of his time by calling them hypocrites, vipers and snakes – which I think could be the most scathing thing Jesus could say publicly towards these people.
A man who answered gray area questions with such paradoxically deep and obvious facets of truth that the people trying to trap Him by questioning him were astounded and amazed.
The manhood of Jesus is something that is elusively mysterious. And that is because He is not just wholly man. He is also wholly divine. And that means an eternity of knowing who He is and following His example of what being a man is supposed to be.
My Pursuit of a Woman
There is something deeply wrong in a man’s heart when he has not found his answer for manhood. The tragic thing is, that we are naturally bent to find that answer in the pursuit of a woman’s heart.
And that is why so many women today find their hearts suddenly stolen from them, battered and ultimately broken. We are guilty.
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” – Ephesians 5:25
A woman’s heart is something that is very beautiful, fragile and precious.
And I wouldn’t have learned that by myself when the world kept telling me that women are for pleasure, fun and satisfaction.
God’s Word changed the way I look at women. She is so precious in fact, that I am called to give myself up for her.
It’s a hard thing to do. But by God’s great grace, I’ll learn to do it more and more everyday.
My Journey to Love
I got married last year. It was a wonderful, wonderful day for me and my wife. And as all married couples know, the wonder of that day can easily overshadow the lifetime of differences you will live by each other.
You can easily wear out, break down and give up.
So where am I to draw my point of reference the need for endurance, commitment, patience, and selflessness of being a husband and father?
“Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” – Matthew 16:24
Thank God that He has already defined what real love is – by embodying it on the cross.
Through Jesus, I have learned to truly love.
A Never Ending Journey
I believe that I have a very long way to go before I become a man like Christ. In fact, I believe I will not be able to become really like Him in everything until I see Him with my own eyes.
Exciting isn’t it?