We live in a world of lies. We are constantly under a barrage of deception. It’s often difficult to discern between truth and error. Men are not immune from this attack. Godly men should beware of two common lies that are often dangled before their eyes and are sadly often embraced by men who call upon the name of the Lord.
Masculinity Is Not Toxic, But Feminism Is
One of the prevailing lies of our culture is that masculinity is toxic. Wave after wave of the feminist movement has led many people in our culture to believe that masculinity is toxic and therefore harmful to our society as a whole.
In the beginning, God created man and woman in the Garden. In God’s good paradise, Adam was masculine. He worked in the garden. He was to provide and protect his wife Eve. Those are masculine qualities and characteristics that pre-date sin. Just as work pre-dates the fall, so does masculinity.
We live in a day of weak men and confused women who seek to feminize everything—including manhood. We can see this agenda in cartoons like Scooby-Doo where an agenda to press the LGBTQA+ and feminist movement is presented to children. If you thought the cartoon brand was about the lives of four teens and a talking dog solving mysteries—think again! In one episode of the Mystery Incorporated cartoon, Velma describes the actions of a man in a particular scene as being that of “toxic masculinity.” In another episode, Fred is depicted as a man who is coming to his senses regarding his own toxic masculinity and is only comforted when Scooby sings him a song. Cartoons talking about toxic masculinity to children is a common thing in our day and another means of brainwashing and cultural discipleship.
Men leading and women submitting to robust masculine leadership should never be seen as oppressive and harmful for women. The strongest and most capable Christian women feel most secure and free to use their gifts in the life of the church when they are led by strong robust men who take the life of the church seriously. The feminist movement perpetuates a lie that it liberates women, when in all reality it leads to more and more bondage. If you look at the world, the places where women are the most liberated and free is where the gospel has taken root and the fruit of Christianity results in masculine (dare I say patriarchal) leadership is prevalent in the sphere of the home, the church, and the culture.
Owen Strachan writes the following in his book, The War on Men:
Here is the truth: we are in fact at war. The great campaign we seek is right in front of us, even if it is often invisible. As he did long ago, the evil adversary still battles to take men—called by God to leadership in home, church, and society—down. The antichrist spirit speaks through many outlets and individuals today, demanding that men lean back, that they accept the truth of their inherent “toxicity,” that they embrace low expectations and abandon their innate aggressiveness. Tragically, many men comply. Once, they had a role to play; once, they were daring and bold; once, they sought to embody authority in love. But no longer. Now, men must predominately become soft men. 1Owen Strachan, The War on Men: Why Society Hates Them and Why We Need Them, (Salem Books, Washington, D.C., 2023), 182-183.
We are in a war indeed. This war is not against flesh and blood. It’s a war that is very much spiritual. However, this spiritual war results in real and tangible realities in the physical world around us. This is true with regard to politics and the health of the family. The aim for Christian men is not weakness, but meekness. The goal is not merely rugged masculinity alone. You may hold a coral belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, be able to bench press 300lbs., climb a mountain, skin a deer, and shoot class 3 weapons like a champ, but if you don’t know how to lead your wife and protect her physically and spiritually—you’re not a biblically mature man. That’s the aim in the Christian life.
Masculine Men Weep
Another lie that men often believe that flows out of a secular God-denying culture is the idea that real strong men who embody sincere masculinity do not weep. This is not true of Godly men. We must look at manhood through the lens of Scripture in order to see the true definition of biblical manhood. While there is a need for men to resist the cultural influence that insists on weakness and femininity, men must likewise be led by the Spirit of God which will at times result in tearfulness.
Weeping as a Result of Joy
When was the last time you were brought to tears because of the truth of the gospel? In his book, A Picture of a Godly Man, Thomas Watson observes:
I once knew a holy man, who was walking in his garden and shedding plenty of tears, when a friend came on him accidentally and asked him why he wept. He broke forth into this pathetic expression: “Oh, the love of Christ! Oh. The love of Christ!”2Thomas Watson, The Godly Man’s Picture, (Section 8: A Godly Man Weeps).
It is true that all men are not the same and that we should not press the point to extremes. A true Godly man will be moved with sincere waves of joy that can result in tears when the height, depth, and width of the love of God is taken into consideration.
Weeping as a Result of Sadness
When I was a young boy, the children of the church were being awarded with a summer trip if they memorized a verse of Scripture and recited it. Seems pretty simple, but I was a young unconverted boy who was going to church with my grandparents on Sunday at the time. When all of the other children were reciting Genesis 1:1, they made an announcement that we had to pick another verse. I scrambled to find the shortest verse I could to quickly memorize. I chose John 11:35, “Jesus wept.”
However short that verse may be, it’s filled with truth about the human nature of Jesus. In Jesus’ human nature, he was moved with sadness and grief at the death of his beloved Lazarus. We should see in Jesus the truth that weeping is not weakness nor sinful. When we are going through seasons of grief such as the death of a loved one, weeping is an acceptable response and proper display of sadness—even for strong men.
Weeping as a Result of Conviction of Sin
As we read and survey Scripture, we find that men weep when they are confronted with their own sinfulness. While we should resist the idea of being overly sensitive and weeping at the drop of a hat, we should likewise resist the idea of becoming calloused and unmoved by our sinful flesh. Paul wrestled through this in Romans 6-8 as he looked at his own struggles in the body of sin (Rom 6:6).
When Jesus prophesied that Peter would deny him three times before the rooster crowed, Peter denied it. However, upon the arrest of Jesus, Peter was presented with opportunities to stand with Jesus, but he refused time after time. When he heard the rooster crow, he remembered the words of Jesus, but more importantly, he was face-to-face with his rebellion. He could see the darkness of his own flesh. He could see clearly through the fog that what Jesus said was indeed true. He had sinned against his Lord and Savior. He had denied Christ. At that very moment, the text says that Peter “went out and wept bitterly.”3Luke 22:62
We must resist the spirit of the age that seeks to pull men into two different ditches of error. One seeks to make men weak by denying masculinity while the other seeks to make men strong by avoiding tears. Both are errors to avoid. Both lies are dangerous.
We are to aim for Godliness in Christ and never apologize for masculinity or tears.