The LORD watches over the strangers; He relieves the fatherless and widow; But the way of the wicked He turns upside down.Psalms 146:9 NKJV
Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.James 1:27 NLT
In a poll of random acquaintances, I asked the question, “When you hear the term manhood, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind? I tallied the responses in the hope of identifying characteristics of manhood that are written in hearts, not what has been taught us in school or portrayed by the media. (See Man Alive: What is Manhood?) Responses covered so far include:
The fourth trait identified in our sample was “Protector.” The dictionary definition is quite straight forward: to keep safe from harm or injury.
I know that our current politically correct culture doesn’t particularly like any male characteristic that implies physical prowess, or any implication that the female of the species might occasionally need assistance in some way. That doesn’t change the fact that men are created with attributes that enable them to step forward in times of danger to protect the weak and the innocent. The same physical strength that enables men to exercise physical dominion over weaker people also allows them to step into the breach to protect. The desire to do so is a characteristic of manhood. If you are male and don’t have that impulse, you are deficient. Period.
Ezekiel prophesies harshly against shepherds, leaders of Israel, who have taken advantage of their position to enrich themselves. His indictment: “You have not taken care of the weak. You have not tended the sick or bound up the injured. You have not gone looking for those who have wandered away and are lost. Instead, you have ruled them with harshness and cruelty. (Ezekiel 34:4 NLT)” God’s expectation for leaders, those who wield power and influence, is that they will care for those who cannot care for themselves. That expectation extends to us as men. It is a mark of manhood to protect those who are weaker than ourselves.
In the home, we are responsible for the security and well-being of our family. The instinct to protect the clan is strong. In the workplace, this kind of manhood steps forward to protest injustice and abuse of power. We cannot simply avert our eyes when fellow workers are treated unfairly. Certainly, the man of God will step up to stop instances of sexual abuse or harassment. When we find ourselves in positions of power, we exercise authority for the well-being and enrichment of our charges, not ourselves. The Apostle James specifically enjoined Christians to be sure to care for “widows and orphans.” It’s the manly thing to do. A famous quote, variously attributed to Abraham Lincoln, Danny Thomas, and James Dobson reads, “No man stands so tall as when he stoops to help a child.” We know it’s true. It’s manly to use our strength to help the weak.
In nearly every account of mass shootings in our land, we hear about men who run to the scene to help. In El Paso, a young man runs in instead of out, and saves several children. He was not a cop. No one there was his family. Yet he risked his life to help get others out of the line of fire. That’s manhood. An 18-year-old in Denver confronts a shooter, slowing him enough that others can escape, and losing his own life in the process. Manhood. We hear of such incidents regularly, whether in combat or auto accidents or assault situations: men step up and protect others. When we hear it, something on the inside says, “Manhood.”
As Christians, our charge to protect is clear. God wants us to stoop to help that child, that widow, that orphan. He expects us to stand between the helpless and the threat. He created us for more than physical heroics. He has equipped us to provide spiritual protection as well. There is a spirit realm that is populated by disembodied personalities – some good, some evil. God has given us authority to use the Name of Jesus Christ to exercise dominion over evil spirits. He has also granted us the capacity to pray in unknown tongues and in so doing dispatch angels to the fray in protection of others. A man who prays for his family, his church, and his nation is exercising his manhood by building a wall of protection around them. As God said to Ezekiel, “So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one.”(Ezekiel 22:30 NKJV) Manhood prays.
- Can you think of instances where you have seen others mistreated or bullied? What did you do? Why? Why do you think we so such a problem with bullying in our modern world?
- Have you ever used your physical strength or your authority to exert your will over a weaker person? Why? How did you feel afterward? Hebrews 12:5-7
- If you have abused your authority or strength to hurt, intimidate, or control others, maybe it’s time to repent and ask God to help you. If you are a child of God, you should reflect the nature of your Father. Matthew 5: 43-48 / Ephesians 5:1-4 / 1 John 1:9
- Do you know any kids who struggle without a father? What could you do to give them a little assist? James 1:27
- How do you exercise your spiritual authority to protect those around you? Take 15 minutes a day for the next week to pray in the Spirit for your family, your church, and your nation. It’s the manly thing to do. Ephesians 6:10-18
If you see things in your character where you would like to be more of a protector and less of a predator, then let’s apply the process of change from Man Alive: Change Gonna Come
- Admit you need it. You can’t change something you won’t admit. 1 John 1:8-9
- Find scriptures that tell you what God thinks about it. Review these passages daily. Say them out loud. Psalm 19:7-11
- Go to the Lord and ask Him to help you make this change. Psalm 121:1-2
- Commit to a process of learning to listen and obey. God will guide you if you take a moment to listen. There is a place in your heart that knows what to do when you need to do it. Romans 8:14-16
- Address the root, not just the behavior. Trade in your ideas and values and prejudices for the thoughts of God. He is God. He’s always right. Get your mind in line with His. Romans 12:1-8
- Make a very specific plan for change and begin walking in that direction. What are you going to do and when are you going to do it? Write it down! Habakkuk 2:1-4
- Find someone you can trust and talk with them. Share the problem, share the plan, ask for input. Pray together and stay in contact to report your progress. James 5:16
- If you screw up, get up. One step in the right direction is one more than you made before. Process the lesson and take another step. Romans 8:31-37
OK, let’s do this! Your world needs you.