Apr26WedApril 26, 2017
What makes a man? As a father of three sons, I think about this often as we play, talk, and experience life together. Whether I like it or not, their primary understanding of manhood will come from me – what I say, how I act, what I value, etc. Yet my goal, is to continue to lead them beyond myself and to Jesus and examples of Godly men in the Bible.
King David serves as one of the strongest Biblical examples of masculinity. Even his flaws remind us of human temptations. However, as we’ve been reading through 2 Samuel and prepare to conclude that book next week, I’ve been struck by David’s vulnerability to express his emotions publicly.
He was not a man who hid his emotions. 2 Samuel 18, from this week, tells us that the King was “deeply moved…and wept” over the death of his treasonous son. All of Israel knew about it (18:33-19:2)!
His weeping reminded me of Jesus’ tears over an unrepentant Jerusalem (Luke 19:42) and his deep agony in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:44) over the reality of the cross brought forth by the rebellion of mankind. Loud cries and tears (Hebrews 5:7) flowed from the Son of Man. Apparently, godly men pray and cry at the same time. Who knew!?
However, our culture often has a very different lesson for men. Well, not just for men but for women as well. We are taught be guarded. For men, it appears through the declaration that real men don’t cry. For women, it appears through the declaration that other women should never see the real you. "If you are vulnerable, you’ll be mistreated or rejected!" Therefore, as we grow, we are taught to keep our emotions to ourselves and rarely, if ever, be true faced.
This same attitude creeps into church life too. In fact, sometimes we can perpetuate it. In Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s book, Life Together, he describes that often Christians want to have communities in which masks are expected. “The pious fellowship permits no one to be a sinner. So everybody must conceal his sin from himself and from the fellowship. Many Christians are unthinkably horrified when a real sinner is suddenly discovered among the righteous. So we remain alone with our sin living in lies and hypocrisy.” This applies not just to our sinful tendencies but also to our weaknesses. A man crying in prayer or a woman who wears her heart on her sleeve can feel uncomortable in the church. Why? Only because our world tramples upon vulnerability. Yet a Godly person brings their vulnerability to the Lord in the context of Christian community. No masks allowed.
As you continue to grow in the Lord, I encourage you to ask Him to expose any areas of your life in which you remain guarded. Whether you are heading to the IMC Women’s Retreat, involved in a small group on prayer, or simply come to worship, be aware that God wants to minister to you…not the person you pretend to be. Likewise, real Christian community is built with true authenticity. That’s what I’m hoping to lead my children into. David and Jesus displayed this. Who am I to act any differently?