Are today’s men many enough? I wrote this piece a few days ago on my Facebook timeline and it went viral. It was based on some teachings I learned from my friend Boniface Nyoike, a few years ago, and some from my own quiet times with the LORD. I decided to give it more flesh today. Male irresponsibility in our time is something to worry about. Many male humans not only seem to lack a responsible nature, but they also seem to shun the possibility of it. Proof of it showed in some of the men who responded when this was first put up on my Facebook wall. One man said that the post was written by a woman but posted by a man; perhaps trying to invalidate its power; perhaps not. Another man claimed that this was the 21st century and everything goes, so no need to address manhood. It is this particular type of behaviour that seems to be worrying our female counterparts.
It seems like 30 is the new 18 for most men today. An average man in our generation wastes his twenties and sobers up when he reaches third floor. Often by that time, several relationship mistakes, sexual errors, financial flops and health hazards have been incurred into the account of his life. But you must hear me well, Beloved. I am not talking of male responsibility as having lots of money in your bank account, being married by 27 or having built a tiny empire with your name on it. You can have all those three things and still fail to be man enough. By responsibility I mean the most basic definition of it- good stewardship of one’s life. Pop culture is screaming at our men giving them all the wrong definitions of manhood. Often, the word tells the man that he is only man enough when he has sexual trophies (girls), lots of toys (gold) and lots of fame (glory). It’s a crazy world of sex, money and power (women reduced to sexual objects, money seen as the source of happiness and social dominance seen as the mark of superiority). The pursuit of girls, gold and glory, whilst seeking to accumulate them, has not made our men manly; it has emasculated them. And it has made them irresponsible. I identify with this because I have personally fallen into the trap of girls, gold and glory through porn, love of money and a poor identity in what people think of me respectively. Only by God’s grace do I stand today as one who has overcome and is overcoming daily. However, we won’t expound the 3Gs today. Today I want us to analyse the anatomy of male irresponsibility. Male irresponsibility can be classified into four categories, based on 4 biblical examples:
THE BLAMERS: ADAMS
Genesis 3:9-12 But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?” He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” (NIV)
When Adam was confronted by God for eating the fruit, his classic response was, “It’s the woman’s fault!” The premier sign of an irresponsible man is failure to own up to his mistakes. Our world is full of Adams. Adams often blame the evil outside of them for the things they do wrong. But Adams fail to understand that the evil outside is only magnetic to the evil inside of them. Adams blame the guy who sent them the porn link. Adams blame the economy. Adams blame the lady who kept coming over to their house dressed in a short skirt. Adams hit their girl and then blame the girl for making them angry. Adams blame everyone but themselves. And this is classic male irresponsibility. Adams must know that their behaviour reveals a lot more about themselves than their situations and circumstances.
THE OVERREACTORS: CAINS
Genesis 4:8-14 Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him. Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” “I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” The LORD said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground. Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.” Cain said to the LORD, “My punishment is more than I can bear. Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.” (NIV)
When Cain was confronted by God for killing Abel, his brother, he acted nonchalant. When the curse for his sin was meted out, he laments by saying, “My punishment is more than I can bear”. Cain then exaggerates God’s words and pulls a self-pity card on how he will suffer and how people will kill him. Cain’s irresponsibility is expressed in being a drama queen. Deceased Abel is the victim here but somehow Cain throws a tantrum to make it all about him. Cains overreact to draw attention away from their mistakes. When they are busted by their girlfriend flirting with another girl on Whatsapp, they get into a fit saying something akin to this: “Why are you going through my phone’s privacy!” Yet in truth, it’s not about the privacy; that is but a convenient smokescreen to avert attention from the cheating. Not only do Cains play victim to distract attention from their offences, they are also averse to correction, they constantly feel judged and compared to other men and ultimately they are sorrowful because they are caught not sorrowful because they sinned.
THE DON’T CARES: SAMSONS
In the book of Judges, we see Samson living an immoral life and far from his calling as a nazrite. Eventually he got himself in the lair of Delilah, a woman bent on destroying him. Like a deadly black widow spider that kills her male partner after mating with him, Delilah clearly tries to destroy him twice but he foolishly remains in her presence and eventually loses his strength, his eyes and God’s presence. Judges 16:20 Then she called, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” He awoke from his sleep and thought, “I’ll go out as before and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the LORD had left him. (NIV). Samson lives recklessly for as long as he has his super powers. He does not seem repentant until the end of his life (Which lands him in the Hebrews 11 hall of faith, by the way). However, Samsons think that their strength in one area in life compensates in their weaknesses in other areas of life. “I’m a gambling addict but at least I am faithful to my wife.” “I’m masturbating but at least I pay all my bills.” It is a don’t-care attitude at the end of it all and it is classic male irresponsibility.
THE COVER-UPS: DAVIDS
In 2nd Samuel 11 we learn that David took another man’s wife. He slept with her and got her pregnant. To cover up the pregnancy, he had the woman’s husband come home from duty in battle to sleep with her so that he may think the baby is his and not David’s. When it fails, he gets the man drunk. But the drunk husband has more sense than David in his sobriety. He doesn’t go home to sleep with his wife. He goes to work for the night shift. When all attempts fail, David kills the man and then comforts the wife for the loss. Davids go to great lengths to cover their mistakes. They commit greater evils to cover their reputation. They want people to think they are righteous. Davids give their girlfriends money to abort the baby born out of wedlock so that they can look like good Christians. Davids backstab their partners in crime and even act disgusted when the crimes are mentioned (See David and Nathan in 2 Samuel 12). But the cover up tactics of David only reek of male irresponsibility.
Our society is full of Adams, Cains, Samsons and Davids. But there is hope, forgiveness and grace for these men to be like Josephs, Calebs, Josiahs and ultimately like Jesus. Male irresponsibility can be cured by the Gospel of Christ and our men can be redeemed from and forgiven for their mistakes. God, through the person of Jesus, confronted the struggle of male irresponsibility successfully on our behalf. How? Jesus is the better Adam who took the blame he did not deserve when he was sentenced to death. The first Adam failed the test in the garden of Eden while the last Adam passed the test in the garden of Gethsemane. Jesus is the better Cain who took the correction he did not need when he was mocked for his faith. Jesus is the better Samson who took initiative and lost his glory when he faced the sin he did not commit on the cross. And Jesus is the better David who exposed the sin he never committed and willingly took the blame for it. The path to male responsibility must start by submitting to the better man, Jesus. A man starts being responsible when he admits that firstly, he is not responsible, and that secondly, responsibility is not second to nature to him. Such a man will realise he cannot do it on his own. Part part of being a man requires admitting that you are not the hero everyone (including you) thinks you are. This is humility. He will also be motivated by love for the Saviour who laid down his life for him. This is passion. This passion and humility will let him see the most glorious truth; that while he was still an irresponsible male sinner, Christ Jesus willingly took up his punishment. Passion and humility will always keep a man going even when he fails here and there.
However, the alternative is to ignore the person of Jesus and focus on correcting areas of male irresponsibility on one’s own effort. And while that may work well for a month or two or even three to six, the man will eventually burn out and default to his true north. Why? Because his motivation is in trying to show he is bigger and better than most men (pride) and in dread of being seen as an irresponsible man (fear). Pride and fear twist your heart to act but passion and humility melt your heart to obey. Lasting change in a man starts when he focuses on the eternal not on the immediate. The eternal will feed the immediate. But the immediate will only feed the past. And a man who is focused on where he has been instead of where he is going will not last too long despite his most sincere efforts. Are you ready to be counted among the men?