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Published on December 6th, 2012 | by Nathaniel

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For Men Who Struggle…

Growing up, I watched a lot of action movies. I would memorize lines from Chuck Norris to Bruce Willis- thinking I was becoming more manly in the process. TV Shows like American Gladiator and Walker Texas Ranger conditioned me to think my strength equated to manhood. The more I could look like, sound like, and emulate them- the more I would be regarded as a real man. The only problem was that I was always a good 15lbs underweight, a little bit lankier than your average kid, and started wearing bifocals in the first grade. The definition of what I perceived to be a man, the ideal of what a man was, seemed light years from what and who I was.

We’ve allowed society to manufacture and so narrowly define who a man is that inadequacy becomes inevitable. We’ve tuned our minds to believe that a man is solely measured by his performance, whether it is athleticism or sexual. The more women we can add to our rolodex of “booty calls,” the more one night stands, the more random encounters, the more manly we are perceived. We’ve allowed the media to normalize our addictions to pornography, abusing women, and abandoning children that it becomes the standard. For a portion of my life, I seriously believed that looking at pornography was okay. I honestly thought there was nothing wrong with ogling over women, sexualizing them, and fantasizing about skewed depictions. It was just what a man did. And the sad thing was- I had no one to tell me any different so I went on for years believing that every man was secretly a porn addict. There was not a single man in my life who talked openly and candidly about becoming a man. I went on for years believing that I was only a real man when I was bench pressing 200 lbs, when I fantasized about a video vixen, or when I was on the basketball court.

It’s my belief that society’s narrow definition of manhood is what has led some men to overcompensate, and become rapists or murderers. It’s also my belief that society’s narrow definition of manhood has left some men feeling inadequate and thus turning to a homosexual lifestyle. And yet again, the sad thing is that the same ideals of who a man is haven’t changed from when I was regurgitating lines from Schwarzenegger movies. They haven’t changed from when I was addicted to pornography. We as men have a responsibility to be honest with our brothers and with our sons about who a real man is. And in order to know who a real man is we have to ask our creator.

What does the bible say about manhood? 1 Corinthians 16:13- “Be strong and courageous, stand firm in the faith, act like men and be strong.” Perhaps this doesn’t help too much when you first read it, but let’s dig a little deeper. Physical strength is only one aspect in of how strength is defined. Webster’s Dictionary also refers to moral power, influence, and mental tenacity. Yet we’ve chosen to only regard physical strength as true strength. What does it mean to act like a man? Jacob was dedicated to waiting for his wife Rachel (Genesis 29), Joseph forgave his brothers (Genesis 45), David sinned but then confessed to God (2 Samuel 11), and Jesus gave his life so that we could live (Matthew 27).

It’s time to get real men. 

1 Timothy 6:11-12 “But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight for what we believe. Hold tightly to the eternal life that God has given you, which you have confessed so well before so many witnesses.”

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