Friday, 28 June 2013

The Measure of a (family) Man

Over the past several years I have given a great deal of thought to what makes a man a man.  Now it is common knowledge that “real men don’t eat quiche” but that just tells us what a real man doesn’t do.  My guess is that the definition of manhood depends on who you ask, the context of the question and the person’s life experiences.  The number of definitions could easily be in the hundreds.

Not too long ago I heard someone say that character, wisdom and the ability to love are at the heart of being a man.  The person went on to say that only God can bring forth the transformation we need by strengthening our hearts, enlightening our minds and giving us a greater capacity to love.  This definition works for me.

To me character would include such things a Integrity, virtue, honesty, courage, reliability, adherence to a code of ethics and a set of values that would bring glory to God, moral excellence, self-sacrificing, humility, patience, forgiving, loyal and a generous spirit.  This man would be above all things God fearing.

To be wise a man would need to be understanding, insightful, enduring, and exercise good judgment.

These characteristics and qualities would be capped off with a capacity to love, not only those he most cherishes but also show compassion to his enemies.

You will notice that power, prestige, and wealth are not among the qualities listed. 

So what’s the point?  Who could possibly live up to such a description?  The point is that divorce courts, damaged children and counselor’s offices are filled with men who did not experience a father who exhibited many of the qualities and characteristics listed.  And while I would not expect to find many men who would possess these qualities I believe Scripture calls us as men to be sanctified – a process where we are growing to become more like God’s Son.

As husbands we are called to love our wives in the same way Christ loved His bride the church.  How could we begin to do that unless we possess many of the attributes of Christ?   Are we raising our sons to have a Biblical vision of manhood, to establish a code of conduct that would bring honor to God?  Are we dropping our kids off on Sunday morning, hoping the church will instill Biblical value in our children? The book Raising a Modern Day Knight talks to fathers about their role in guiding their sons to authentic manhood.  Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters describes how the father is the most important man in his daughter’s life as you are called to teach her, protect her and defend her.

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