By Samuel Lam
Ever since the Act Like Men conference back in October, some of the men in the church have taken a serious approach in what it means to be a man of God. There was a lot of new information and approaches, that we followed up with meetings prior to service every Sunday.
During these meetings, we’ve been following through this book by Eric Mason. It covers the misconceptions of what some may think it means to be a man. It also enlightened us on how some of our previous ways were actually unhealthy in our walk with God.
One of the topics that was being discussed was the topic of sensitivity and pride. Men, for the longest time, have believed that asking for help or showing what they perceived to be weakness was not acceptable. Men had to be strong, hard and firm all the time. Ever since Christopher Columbus, men have refused to ask for directions because it made them feel inferior. Men try hold back tears because crying supposedly makes them soft. They had to be strong all the time.
That’s not true, but men believe it. All men at one point or another, have acted in such a way to save face. Here’s a PG-13 skit that captures my point.
OK. Maybe you’ve never met someone so pridefully stubborn. But maybe you have. But either way, that idea is what society has told us men for the longest time. Through movies, magazines, songs, you name it, we’ve painted a picture of men to be the kind of men who be manly, macho, heroic. Even men sometimes have to be too good to sit in a chair.
The false message of what we’ve accepted for so long has hurt our approach to life. And at many times, it has hurt our relationship with God.
The problem men face today is that they don’t know what it actually means to be a man. Sure, they can be a man according to what society tells them to be. So if we follow that, surely we’ll have our James Bond heroics, our Brad Pitt good looks and our Jay Z business successes. But we don’t follow that. We can’t. It’s impossible.
If these celebrities and fictional characters can’t be our role model for being good men, then who is?
Mason points out that we only need one role model to look at when we want to aspire to be great men. That role model is Jesus Christ.
Mason says that Jesus is the perfect example and the only one we should look to. And what Jesus did during His time on earth is completely different than the supposed men we’ve accepted as the standard.
When Jesus needed help, he asked for it. He wasn’t stubborn. He knew that asking for help is OK. Not asking for help actually makes someone weak.
The same can be said about being sensitive.
We’ve been told that we’re not allowed to cry, to show our “feminine” side or even take the time of day to even hug someone. Sensitivity isn’t manly. It makes you soft and men aren’t supposed to be soft.
I suppose Jesus was soft because he cried, he was scared, he took time to empathize with people. Naw. That actually made Jesus manlier.
I think what’s great about this current study the men are taking is that we’re learning so much about things that we already know, but never understood. Men have certain roles within their family, their church, their community and many times we take the wrong approach because we don’t know who to look for guidance.
The reminder that Jesus is our role model makes such a huge difference. It gives us men the push in the right direction.
The men of the church are continually working on being the men we are supposed to be. But what’s encouraging about the newfound approach and lessons learned is that for the first time in a long time, there’s a clear vision to what it takes to be a man of God.
At least for me, I finally have some idea of where I am and what I am supposed to be. I’m still learning, but I know that I have the perfect role model in Jesus. That’s a good start and I’m not afraid to admit that. Now that’s pretty manly.
If you’re interested in learning more about being a man of God, the men’s fellowship meets every Sunday at 9:30am in the parsonage (the house right next to the parking lot at 1921 S. Garfield). Feel free to join us as we pray, learn and grow with each other as men of God.