There are a number of misunderstandings about Manhood. Different people have different preconceptions on what qualifies a guy as a man. I’m going to address a few of those briefly.
- A man is a certain age. This couldn’t be more false. The reality is a guy could die of old age and go to his grave as a boy. The way a guy handles different situations in his life defines his manhood. Does he take on his responsibilities or run from them? Is he willing to make the sacrifices necessary to defend and provide for his family? These characteristics point more to manhood than age does. Just because you’re 18 or 21 or older and can grow some facial hair doesn’t mean you’re a man. If you would rather run from your problems and live in a fantasy world, then you’re just a grown boy with a mustache.
- A man has to love the outdoors. I have heard and read before that a guy isn’t really a man unless he has shot a deer or caught a fish and on and on. This is nonsense. I have never killed a deer, but just because some other guy has, that doesn’t make him any manlier than me. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against hunting. I’ve killed birds, squirrels, snakes, and other animals and I love the outdoors, but not one time did that action turn me into a man. One doesn’t automatically become a man when he shoots a deer or any other kind of animal. Jesus, the measurement of manhood, never went deer hunting. So if killing a deer or other wild game qualifies manhood in your book, than Jesus isn’t a man. It’s time to rethink this one.
- A man knows how to work on a car. For some reason some people think that working on a car makes a guy a man. How does fixing an engine turn a boy into a man? I think it’s awesome if you can and I’m very jealous of you, because I sure don’t have a clue. I can change a tire, so I have that going for me, but replace a transmission? No chance. I’m sure with the right instructions and tools, I could learn to do it, but I work hard at my job and budget my money in such a way that if the transmission in my car goes out, I can take it to someone that knows how to fix it and I will pay them to do so. Even though I can’t fix it, I can still get the problem solved.
- A man is good with his hands. Another area that I’m not sure I live up to all the time. I’ve done some wood work in my time. I’ve help construct a building, a very small building, but a building none the less. I know my way around a hammer, a screwdriver, a drill, and better yet, a nail gun (cue Tim “The tool man” Taylor’s grunt.) But none of that experience made me a man. Have I learned from it? Sure, but it still doesn’t make me a man or anyone else in that case.
- A man is athletic. There are those that look at athletes and say they represent true manhood. That’s crazy talk. Being able to hit a baseball, as hard as it may be, doesn’t make you a man. Throwing a football and shooting a basketball does not have some special power that transforms a boy into a man. This should be very obvious to us, considering recent news. For example, look at Ray Rice. He was one of the better running backs in the NFL, but a real man NEVER hits a woman. Playing and/or watching sports does not make a guy a man. Just because you have some God-given talent for athletics, doesn’t automatically make you a man. It’s how you use them and how you allow yourself to be identified that makes you a man.
- A man has to dress a certain way. I hear things like “real men wear boots” or “a real man will never wear skinny jeans.” Now I don’t understand why anyone would want to wear skinny jeans. I don’t wear them or any other kind of designer jeans. I buy Wranglers from Wal-Mart. They are durable, comfortable, and I like them. That is about as much thought that goes into my shopping. But just because some other guy cares about his outfit, it doesn’t make him any less of a man than me. As long as he isn’t running around in women clothing, I don’t think there is a problem here.
- A man can’t cry. “There is no crying in baseball!” or manhood. Right? Wrong. Some believe that a man can’t be sensitive. It’s actually the opposite. A real man is in touch with his sensitive side. He is not controlled by it, but is aware of it and not afraid of it. He is able to sympathize with those that are hurting. A real man isn’t cold hearted. Think about Christ when he received the news that his friend Lazarus had died. He cried, even though He was going to raise Him from the dead soon after. One of the shortest Bible verses reads “Jesus wept.” John 11:35, coming from that story. I’m not saying that you have to cry to be considered a man, but because you show emotions and have a sensitive side doesn’t mean you’re not a man.
- A man has had sex. This is a popular one in movies. In the “coming of age” films, we hear lines like “tonight, I become a man.” as some boy tries to sleep with his girlfriend. Sex doesn’t make a boy a man. Now there is this sick mentality that having multiple partners makes you more of a man than others. A real man loves one woman and is faithful to her for his whole life. By the way, Jesus died a virgin and He is the creator of manhood. At 27, I’m still a virgin and as strange as that may sound to many around me today, it doesn’t make me any less of a man than any other. I’m saving myself for my wife, because even though I haven’t meet her yet, I love her and I know she is well worth the wait.
I share these with you, because there is a manhood crisis in our society. In trying to correct it, we have made the problem worse. People have created in their mind what a real man should look like and in doing so they have taken hobbies and sex and turned them into qualifications for manhood. How do we fix it? Only the Gospel can. Jesus is the measurement of manhood. He created and designed it. To be a man is to look and live like Christ. Our identity isn’t in the things of this world, but in Christ. A man understands how to love, how to handle their responsibilities, how to make sacrifices, how to live a life of meekness, how to humble himself, and how to take a stand and protect what is right and those that he loves.
Ladies, stop using these standards and others like them to figure out if you’re with a real man. Too many women do that and they just end up with a grown boy who can shot a gun or fix a car or wears a certain pair of jeans. Then they marry him and he bails out on his responsibilities as a husband and a father and they realize quickly that they were fooled. Here is a quick way to figure out if you’re with a real man; does his life look like Christ’s? Not saying that he is perfect, but the Word of God should be the guiding light of his life. That’s the kind of man worth having, ladies.
Guys, stop with the games. It’s time for us to grow up and Man up! When you make a decision, be prepared to live with the consequences. Stop running from your problems and man up and handle your business. Stop looking for the woman in your life to “take care” of you. Grow up! But here is the good news; Christ will change the boyish heart you have and turn you into the man he created you to be. I’m in that process now. Stop living for the things of this world, because they will never fill you or give you purpose, only Christ can. True manhood is found in the Gospel. It’s found only in Christ. MAN UP!