THE ABIDING LIFE
For My Christian Brothers
By Gwen Sellers
My Christian brothers, I am deeply saddened by the lies our society speaks about you. They portray you as buffoons, perpetual frat boys incapable of seriousness, clueless lovers unable to truly understand a woman's needs. Should I believe that you are stupid, driven solely by sex, and that you will be unable to care for me? Should I believe that I should be your mother, your secretary, your demanding girlfriend, your sex toy? Should I expect that you will always be wrong, that I will always be able to do it better than you? That you are good for grunt work or for money, but not for relationships? That you will be pleasing to me only if I whip you into shape?
Likewise, should you have to cow-tow to me, to swing with my moods and accept the blame even if you've done nothing wrong? Will you merely use me for pleasure? That is what I am toldóthat I must run the world and the family in order to get anything done. Men will either get in my way or provide pleasant distractions when I need them.
But this is not what I want.
That is not the kind of woman I am. I am not attracted to the men I see in commercials. I don't want to bear the weight of running the world. I don't want to be the queen bee who always gets her way.
What I am attracted to is real men. Men of courage. Godly men. Men who have fun, but who are not buffoons. Men who sometimes don't understand me, but are willing to try. Men who do not immediately assume they are stupid, but who have some self-respect. Men who appreciate me and cherish me. Men who take the lead. I am attracted to men who bear the weight of responsibility; who establish boundaries that protect me; who are willing to risk, willing to listen, willing to be a strong tower but also admit to their own needs and fears. Women want menóreal men.
My dear Christian brothers, please stand up as a real man. Be a leader. Adventure. Take pleasure in conquering. Have fun. Be serious. Be silly. Risk love. Be willing to make mistakes and admit to them. Be willing to admit that women make mistakes, too. Refuse to believe the mistruths society has spoken to you. Go for something deeper than the guy on the commercial.
Respect yourselves. Respect women. To lead is not to control. To lead is to take back your rightful positionóthe position God made you forówith a woman as your helper, equal in worth but different in role. "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth" (Genesis 1:28). Be the man God created you to be. "Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her" (Ephesians 5:25). Risk it. Give yourselves up for the benefit of another. "Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity" (1 Timothy 5:1-2).
Respect me as your sister. Teach me. You have valuable things to say, and I want to hear them. Listen to me. Be willing to learn from me. But realize that neither one of us is always right.
Protect me. Honor me. Be willing to lead. Don't be afraid to show me who you are, to tell me about your desires, to tell me that you have something in you that wants to protect, to lead, to adventure, to risk. Don't be afraid to be a man. Our churches need you. Our world needs you. Be who you were created to be, who God says you are. Man of God, stand up and be counted. We're ready for you.
Image Credit: Bobby Hitt; "Scarborough Rennaissance Festival 2011 — The Joust"; Creative Commons
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Published on 1-28-13