Real godly men attack sharks, not each other.
An article written several years ago by Peggy Noonan told the story of a man who was killed by a shark. The husband and his new bride were enjoying their honeymoon in the South Pacific. Without warning, as they were swimming in the ocean, a shark attacked the woman. To defend her, the man began punching it in the head. He successfully distracted the shark, but the beast didn’t retreat. Instead, with his razor-like teeth, the creature turned and killed him instead.
The author’s point was that the world needs real godly men who can “deck the shark.” I agree with her. Popular culture is bent on putting the masculine heart in a blender and pushing the puree button. But the world needs us more than ever to be the leaders, husbands, and fathers God has called us to be.
Being a strong man doesn’t have anything to do with machoism or chauvinism. Real godly men can be scrawny or brawny and can hold any occupation. They needn’t don the bulging biceps of Vin Diesel or Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Likewise, it’s not the size of his shoulders that count but the size of his heart that matters. The Lord agrees: “But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature…For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart’” (1 Samuel 16:7).
Godly men are on a mission in the world to bring God’s Kingdom to earth. They fight for the marginalized, take care of their families, start businesses in low-income areas, and stand-up for biblical principles. True godly men have integrity. They aren’t required to be miners, mechanics, or ironworkers. The only iron men need is in their spines.
Biblical masculinity lifts up their sisters, but toxic masculinity pushes them down. Real men don’t catcall a lady but encourage her to catch bigger dreams. We seek to embody love as it “protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” (1 Corinthians 13:7, NIV).
Strong men punch sharks.
MEN ARE SUFFERING
The numbers are startling. Regarding incarceration, ninety-three percent of those in prison are male. Educationally, guys attend college less than their female counterparts. Men live shorter lives compared to women by a full five years. Concerning emotional health, men are also more prone to depression and are three-and-a-half times more likely to commit suicide than women. Furthermore, “Men commit 90 percent of homicides in the United States and represent 77 percent of homicide victims.”
Reread those figures—it’s staggering. Sound the alarm! Men need help.
Men have been paddling upstream for several reasons. Endless commercials seek to emasculate the male spirit and make men look like buffoons and doofuses. Some secular groups would rather see that ocean predator gobble up that man’s wife rather than allowing him to defend her.
We need to take our fair share of blame for our predicament. Some of us have replaced our God-give dreams with big screens. Xbox’s replaced our toolboxes. Instead of saying I “fought the good fight” of faith (1 Timothy 4:7), some have escaped to man-caves or aerie offices. Sundays for men are for fantasy leagues, not for attending church. It’s no surprise that, statistically, men attend church less than women. We have traded our strength for sarcasm, pornography for purity, and listlessness for leadership. Instead of decking sharks, we are decking each other.
Sin has caused our muscles to be misguided. We might have struggled with our earthly fathers but we primarily forgot our Heavenly One. We also forgot about His Son and the work He did for us on the cross.
THERE IS HOPE
Our gender and unique gifts are needed more than ever in this world. There’s no reason for us to be shy or sheepish. The Apostle Paul commands us to “be men of courage.” That was 2,000 years ago. Our homes, work, and the church need our courage as much today as they did in Ancient Rome.