Today’s perception on what a real man is so obscure because of culture and media. When you talk about a real man, one would think of a typical half naked and unbelievably buffed model you see in EDSA billboards (are they really men to start with, me thinks). To others, the picture of a real man is one who is fierce, stoic, can take in a lot of alcohol and ready to jump into a brawl. Whether the image of a real man is one who has sculpted abs or a beer belly, our society has a twisted image of what a man should be and for us men, we seem to be clueless on how we should act, think and behave.
In a radio show I co-hosted (as a fill-in), we had a guest who had an incredible story. He is your classic rags to riches story and against all odds, even on the brink of death, our guest survived, thrived and became very successful. He seems to be a nice person, kind, generous and willing to share his knowledge and even his wealth to better the lives of those around him. He truly is an admirable fellow and it was really a pleasure conversing with him. No person, no matter what he has achieved is perfect. This nice guest of ours has an incredible story, besides his rise to success. He is a father of 14 children with 14 different women. While many were amazed at his life story, more were impressed upon his virility and people started to call him ‘idol’. While I do not judge our guest, I am saddened that many will find his ‘adventurous romantic episodes’ as something to be admired and worse, emulated. Well, I guess it’s ‘to each his own’, I suppose.
If society has conflicting views and many of us have settled for less than what a man ought to be, the last 3 weeks have made me realize that God expects his men to be more than what society can ever define. Here are 3 critical learning on the role of real men I picked up from church.
1) Provider: lead financially.
While there is nothing wrong with women working and helping their family financially, the role of the man of the house is to provide for the needs of his loved ones. Man should go out and work for a living and provide a comfortable life for his family as best as he can. Providing doesn’t mean that men should give his family an ostentatious lifestyle that will make him a slave to work and be an absentee father as a result. Having a stable home and providing for such a home will always be the responsibility of the men. It is sad to see many women work hard and their husbands are left at home. Call it the modern family and call me old-fashioned but I believe there should not be reversal of roles in this case.
2) Warrior: lead physically and emotionally.
In the family, the man is the head of the family and he should act as such. There is a reason that the men were created to be sturdier, stronger and maybe even less emotional as the women. Men should not abdicate his role as the leader and hold the family together. Being a warrior does not mean he can be insensitive and push his weight around, that’s a sign of weakness. A real man would know when he should acknowledge the wisdom of his wife, accept his limitations and yet stand firm for his decisions. I don’t think women would like their men to be a push-over, indecisive or cannot take his responsibilities seriously.
3) Pastor: lead spiritually.
While our faith in the Lord is an individual concern, the real man should act as the spiritual head of the family. As a husband and a father, the Lord has bestowed upon me the spiritual covering for my family. It is imminent for us men to pray for our loved ones regularly and with intensity. Our faith in the Lord is something our children can emulate, not from lengthy sermons but from what they actually see in us. I once had a friend who got concerned that his young children decided not to go to church; I gently reminded him his children only copies what they see from him and since he is infrequent in going to the church, they started to think they shouldn’t as well. The good news is my friend started going back to church regularly and is now walking with Christ. Our children read their bibles not so much because we tell them so, but more so because they see us read, especially me. Filipina women have traditionally been more pious but let me tell you that when the men exhibit a close relationship with the Lord, it is a totally different ball game. As the spiritual head, we can actually intercede for our loved ones and I am certain the good Lord listens to all our prayers.
Further, and more importantly, the real man submits to the real authority. He submits to the authority of Jesus Christ who is the real master of his life.
Whew, writing this blog has overwhelmed me if I am to be totally honest. The burdens of being a man, and a godly man at that, is not easy task nor for the faint hearted. However, it is also only by the grace of God can we do all these. Apart from Him, I can’t really do much. “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” – Philippians 4:13, NLT
Be a man according to culture or society? Or be a real man in the image and likeness of the Lord? The choice is ours to make.