March 3, 2014Thoughts from Mark
I love men. Real men. Men with backbone and gentleness. Men with violent passion and incredible self-control. Men who love deeply, in understanding and in anger. Men who glory in their strength, yet are unafraid to be weak.
Today’s culture is unwittingly stifling the power of what it is to be a man, vilifying the strong attributes of manhood in the name of sensitivity and so-called tolerance.
I say “unwittingly” because I believe so many do not realize that our structures and methods are weakening our men.
Let me give you an example….
Bullying is one of the most focused-upon issues in our public school system. You cannot walk through a school hallway without seeing an anti-bullying campaign slogan or poster.
And therein lies the problem – the message to students is anti-bullying. Stop the bully. Crush the spirit of the bully. In my mind, the pendulum is stuck in one extreme.
Most of the programs direct the bullied, when victimized, to immediately tell an authority. There is a hidden, unspoken message here….”Don’t fight back. Don’t stand up for yourself. Have someone bigger and stronger than you fight your battle for you.”
Since my subject is men, I am directing the following comments toward boys at this point. I know that bullying exists among females as well. I would much like to address that subject in a later writing.
At the risk of sounding insensitive (no pun intended), the bully is calling forth the man within the bullied boy. If the system encourages a victim’s response, we perpetuate the predator-prey model. A young man who is not encouraged to respond from the burgeoning manhood inside of him will believe that strength and assertion is evil.
And hence, at a young age, manhood is dealt a death blow.
As well, a bully is often a boy responding to the roar of manhood within in him, void of right authority in his life. Fatherless boys are, by nature, insecure. The most common response to insecurity is control, force and manipulation–bullying.
There is a promise deep within every young man crying out for fulfillment. It is put there by his heavenly Father, creatively wound throughout the helix of his DNA.
A father–a strong, confident, committed and caring adult male–will create an environment where that promise is properly realized. Without him, the promise can be unrestrained and may run amok.
Just like Jezebel bullied Elijah into a 40-day away cave on a mountain, one “ruling” without a father will pressure many would-be men into shells of who they really are.
Scripture does not tell us to change the enemy of our soul. Instead, it teaches how to stand against him. Grace empowers the human to overcome. For the bullied, grace comes to strengthen him to stand in his manhood. For the bully, it harnesses the wild ass, creating a mighty stallion.
You see, both the bully and the bullied are, well…bullied. Outside of a fathering relationship, outside of divine grace, this promise to rule, dominate and subdue, is perverted and victimizes both of them. The spirit of the world cages the bully and keeps the bullied one weak. The earth cries out for both to be released into true masculinity.
Stand up against the bully–inside of you, or without. It takes as much masculinity to constrain the oppressor within as it does to cause your inner victor to arise.