Maybe I sound like my parents here at the age of 31, but it seems like society paints this picture...
1. Wear less clothing
2. Money is everything
3. Drama with friends is exciting
4. Sex is a sport
5. Marriage is temporary
6. Average is not good enough
7. Do whatever it takes to succeed
8. Morality died with color TV
9. Justice goes to whoever can win the battle
10. Religion is dead
I don't know about you, but this is not the society that I want my child to grow up in... Its not the society I want to grow up in! Who is going to change it? Will we change or just accept where we're headed?
This coming weekend, I'm giving a talk to a few hundred middle school boys about what it means to be a man. I'm starting with two images, and they'll have to decide which is "manly" and which is not. here are some examples...
Barbells ----- Swimming
Chalk ------ Knife
Angry ------ Joyful
Humility ------- Powerful
Doctor --------- Fireman
Looking at these two things, Society probably paints a very clear picture of which one is more manly than the others, but could we say that's accurate? I think most people would say that things of power are more manly. Things that create fear such as a knife verses chalk is more manly. Why would anger be more manly than someone that is joyful? Why isn't humility a manly trait? Why do things have to be dangerous to be manly?
Which is stronger? A man of society or a man of Christ? I think a man of society would be stronger in the eyes of society. I think a man of Christ would be stronger in the eyes of Christ. I guess now which is more important to you?
|Man of Society||Man of Christ|
|Serve me||Serve others|
|Never show emotion||express ourselves|
|Constant entertainment||Be still and quiet|
|Dive deeper into the world||Get away from the world|
|Fit in||Be ourselves|
|Our appearance||Our soul|
|Being firm||Being compassionate|
|Being Right||Understanding others|
|Deserving respect||Respecting others|
Keep in mind, I'm made these ideas up, so they might not be complete portrayal, but it's the idea that counts. How do we know what is good, just, holy, and what God really intended for a man of Christ? The only way to know is to read scripture, and focus on the person of Jesus Christ. He was bold yet compassionate. He was kind and gentle but angered many with his firm stance. He overturned the tables in the temple when the people made it into a market and he defended the woman who was adulterous. He healed the sick, and he chased away demons. He calmed the storms, and he walked on water. He called people to hope and he condemned the wicked. He exhibited all the traits at the right times, with the right emotion, the right words and the right purpose. He knew exactly what to say so he didn't offend either side and challenged his challengers to decide for themselves which was the correct action. People were afraid of Jesus and at the same time were drawn to him. He did was was right in the eyes of his father, not what was right in the eyes of the world. This is our model, this is who we should strive to be like. We should all try to be men like Jesus.
When we fall short, reflect on the lives of the saints who lived before us trying to imitate the life of Christ. They too fell short. They were sinful, they were angry, they suffered from depression, they fell short many times. They fought the sins of lust, greed and pride. They were just like us but walked our walk before us. They're great examples we can relate to while keeping our eyes on the life of Christ with the saints walking before us.
Strive to be men and women of Jesus. St. Theresa of Avila says it best with "Christ has no body now, but yours. No hands, no feet on earth, but yours. Yours are the eyes through which
Christ looks compassion into the world. Yours are the feet with which Christ walks to do good. Yours are the hands with which Christ blesses the world."
You are "His Hands and Feet". Live like men - Men like Jesus!