Sometimes in life, one of the simplest questions can become one of the most confusing. I have two young daughters and sometimes a simple yes or no question can get an answer that includes a 5 minute monologue with at least 1 song from Frozen and 3 references to the most recent kids show they watched.
Sadly, I think a deeply important question that has a simple answer has been terribly confused, and made quite confusing or diluted at best. That question is, “what is a man?” Even the simplicity of the biological answer to this question is now being confused and muddied, but I don’t intend to tackle that today.
My friend has a great podcast on parenting called “Let’s Parent on Purpose” (check it out it is super helpful and has great insight). A while back he gave a great definition of what a man is that I think sums up the simplicity of the answer to the question of what is a man. In his blog post and related podcast he says this, “You’re a man. That means that God made you strong to take care of others.” It’s simple, yet accurate.
The reason I bring this up is because every day there are more and more stories of men not acting like men and taking advantage of other people. Some statistics estimate that every 98 seconds an American is sexually assaulted. One in five women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime. Odds are, you know at least one person who has been assaulted. With sexual assault becoming more widespread it tells me that men aren’t being men. Instead of using the strength God gave them to protect and care they are using it to abuse and take advantage.
Let me pause for a moment and just say, if you have experienced sexual assault my heart breaks and aches for you. The weight and brokenness of this sin committed against you is terrible. If you have not yet, please reach out to someone for help. Though I may not know you, I love you and my heart genuinely goes out to you.
Sexual assault is just one of the many disgusting symptoms of men not being men in our society. Broken homes, broken marriages, kids with no father figure, single moms trying to raise kids and work full time, and on and on it goes. So what do we do? How do we teach boys, and I don’t just mean little boys I’m also talking about the boys who can shave and call themselves men, how do we teach them to be real men?
As with all lifes questions the best place to start is the Bible. We all know the great commission, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations." That is where it starts. Individual Christians and churches need to begin pouring into these boys in discipleship and training in godliness. Through that discipleship they will learn what manhood means and their call to protect and care (James 1:27). They will learn that God has called them to justice and mercy (Micah 6:8) not to dishonesty and selfishness. They will learn that a man is called to lay down his own wants and desires and to sacrifice himself for the sake of his wife (Ephesians 5:25). Boys can’t learn these things if they aren’t being taught.
Like so many problems today, the answer lies not in politics, laws, regulations, or movements. The answer lies in personal discipleship; training boys to be men. We need men to take these boys under their wings and show them that a man is strong to take care of the people around him, not to take advantage of them.
If we want to see a change in the horrible statistics and we want to stop seeing prominent men, even pastors, fall into this pattern of abuse and selfishness we’ve got to take the problem seriously and look to the only remedy to sin. That remedy is the blood of Christ and people who are so consumed with a love for the God who saved them that they live their lives for Him. The way that happens is by the church, both local and universal, stepping out and fulfilling the great commission by making disciples.
Simple question, “what is a man?” Simple answer “a disciple”.
Matthew 28:19-20a “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”
-Richie Gibson, Youth Pastor