Sunday, May 7, 2017

Do Manfully (1)

What does it mean to be "emasculated"? We usually think of it as the same as being made "feminine"--as in one's mannerisms and tastes. Yet, that is only one possible aspect of emasculation, and not the entirety of it. When a man is losing his masculinity, he is not necessarily becoming more "feminine", but rather, he is becoming less of a man. What, therefore, does it mean to be a "man"? The definition here is fairly simple; a "man" is that which God designed it to be (contrary to the "gender identity" foolishness that is being touted by many today).

Let me explain. God designed men to be the protectors, the fighters, the guardians. This is why He generally gave them more physical strength, more muscle mass, deeper voices, etc. This does not mean that women cannot protect, fight or guard, but that they are not particularly suited to this by design. Being a man, means behaving in accord with what God has designed men to be. When a man refuses to do his duty as protector, he is abdicating his role assigned to him by God. When a man accepts his role given him by God, then he is behaving in a masculine manner. In the same way, women are "feminine" when they behave in the way that God designed them to behave (although it is not the subject of this post, the Blessed Virgin is the example of femininity).

Men can abdicate their role as men in various ways, but they basically narrow down to two categories: those men who do so by applying their inner strength to aggression and anger, and those men who apply their strength to softness and cowardice. The first we would call the bully, the second we would call the sissy. Every man has an "inner strength", and we are each responsible to apply it to the right areas in life. When we fail to apply our strength properly, we are only increasing our weaknesses, and every man will have a weakness in one of these two areas (usually depending on factors like upbringing, environment, etc.).

Generally speaking, most men today have been brought up hearing that "masculinity" is a bad thing because it is usually equated with aggressive and violent behavior (although sometimes aggression and violence are necessary, they are not the same thing as abuse). This aggressive violence that we see so often in the world today, is not masculinity. It is, rather, just testosterone without godly restraint. When men are fed a diet of this lie, then it is not surprising that many of them will gravitate toward the other form of emasculation, and often end up being tempted to behave in an effeminate manner and then often fall into sodomy.

There are also a few men who have been fed the lie that any form of tenderness or gentleness are to be equated with weakness and therefore they are to be avoided. These are the men who, if there is no godly restraint to their behavior, will end up as rapists and (genuine) misogynists. They actually believe that having an abusive personality is the proper way to be "a man". In truth, this hateful behavior is very "un-manly" because it is merely a childish form of a temper tantrum exerted in an adult. Being a man means avoiding childishness just as much as it means avoiding femininity.

Clearly, neither of these extremes can be equated with genuine godly masculinity. Yet, it would be foolhardy for us to imagine that a man is doing fine if he has not fallen into one of these extremes. There are many points on the scale that are between those extremes and the godly center that all men are to have as their goal. Each of us men needs to look at our own heart and determine (with the Holy Spirit's guidance) where we are at on the scale so that we can work on it; both for our good and for the good of our friends and family.

It is often said that admitting one's guilt is the most significant first step. What we cannot miss in this context is that admitting guilt is a very masculine thing to do. It shows bravery and a willingness to grow in holiness. The "bully" refuses to do so because he has been taught to believe that it is a sign of weakness (though nothing could be further from the truth). The "sissy" refuses to admit his guilt because his selfish fear causes him to want to hide in a shell and protect his sensitive feelings.

My brothers in Christ, I appeal to you to seek to "do manfully" and ask yourself these important questions. Where are your weaknesses? Where do you stand on the scale? Are you moving toward masculine holiness or away from it? It is not a manly thing to avoid that introspection that is so necessary for growth in the Lord. God is willing to help you if you will but call out to Him. Let us stand firm together; let us show what it means to be brave. Let us "do manfully".