A couple weeks ago a friend of mine casually mentioned that he has “no satisfactory examples of what being a man should look like today.”
- He’d crossed off the caveman/hunter/Rambo model.
- He wasn’t impressed by the Christian Wild A Heart “Warrior” model (i.e. the youth group for grown dudes).
- And he felt like today’s economy and culture don’t enable the old 1950s business/family man model anymore.
“So what’s the path forward?” he asked. “Right now the only people whose character and emotional intelligence I admire are women. Maybe it’d be better if I was one.”
Wow! I thought. Things must be seriously lacking in the male role model department.
But this conversation got me thinking: What SHOULD it mean to “be a man” today? And you might think this is a copout, but it didn’t take long before I settled on a simple answer: Jesus.
Religion aside (if that’s possible), Jesus was a patient and invested teacher of his disciples, he was a stern (but not cruel) critic of those abusing power, he was kind and welcoming to children, he was gentle and compassionate and even defending of the oppressed, and (knowing what he was about) he led others with his whole life. He was a crier. A hugger. A prayer. A creator. And a friend. But most of all, he was someone willing to limit his own power so he could connect with others, and he was willing to lose his own life (his status, his reputation, even his physical existence) so others could find theirs.
Now that’s a man for yuh. A good man. But I’ll be honest and say that his example is what a good woman should be also, because really he was just showing us what it looks like to be truly good human beings.
So to my friend, there is a path forward, and his example invites you to push into the fullness of who you were beautifully created to be. Human, loving other humans. And very, very good.