By LESLIE LUDY
Have you ever been frustrated with the state of today’s men? If so, I have some good news for you. As women, we have a far greater power over the course of masculinity than most of us realize. We can use our femininity to influence men toward strength or toward weakness. Unfortunately, most of us don’t use our feminine power correctly. We often nag, criticize, complain, and manipulate – hoping that our self-built techniques will somehow work some magic and turn a frog into a prince. But when selfishness is our motivation for seeing men around us change, we only end up fueling the problem and leading men into even greater weakness.
I remember a conversation that Eric and I had with some single young men a few years ago. We were on the subject of healthy guy/girl interaction, and I happened to mention that I felt today’s young women are disillusioned with modern guys’ behavior. My comment evoked an interesting reaction from the young men around the table. “I’m so sick of hearing that!” one of them spat angrily. “You can’t even turn on the radio these days without hearing women bashing men. Every TV show is all about the brilliant woman looking down on the idiotic guy! How is a guy supposed to showcase a different standard when every woman he meets has already labeled him a good-for-nothing deadbeat?”
Though this man’s reaction did not reflect the nature of Christ, I had to admit that his words did have an element of truth to them. Many modern women have attempted to cover their wounded feminine dreams with an arrogant, haughty disdain for all modern men. Too many have eagerly bought into our culture’s current trend of “men-bashing” jokes and attitudes. I once saw a man moving a heavy box as the woman next to me remarked dryly, “That’s the only thing that men are good for, you know.” It’s a cultural “joke” that is widely accepted – anything that puts men down and builds women up is deemed funny, clever, and true. Guys are expected to grin wryly and agree with any statements against their masculinity, or even participate in the “men being lower life forms” campaign. (Of course, if a man ever puts a woman down in a similar way, he’s likely to be publicly tarred and feathered!)
Arrogant femininity is a form of self-protection. When we as women don’t know how to deal with the disappointment of modern manhood, we often choose to cover our emotions with scorn. I have been in numerous conversations in which married Christian women sat around drinking coffee and bashing their husband’s idiotic behavior – laughing and joking with the “all men are hopeless so we might as well get a few laughs out of it” attitude.
But this attitude only traps men in their weakness. Once a guy has been labeled as hopeless, he has very little motivation to become anything different. I have talked to many single guys who have told me, “What’s the use in trying to change? Women will always just look down on me because I’m a guy.” Married men can easily fall into the same trap: “Why would I bother trying to be different if my wife is going to always see me as an unromantic, self-focused slob anyway?” All too many men who would have otherwise risen to a higher standard have become stymied and paralyzed by the attitude of women who don’t believe they can ever change.
No matter what disturbing trends we see in modern manhood, the worst thing we can do is participate in our culture’s scornful bashing of masculinity and label men as brutes who will never change. That arrogant attitude only creates guys who shrug and say, “Well if that’s all she thinks I can be, then why would I bother trying to be anything different?” But when women actually believe that men can become the heroic, Christ-built Warrior Poets that they were meant to be, we cause guys to actually want to change.
God calls us to respect and reverence masculinity, not to scorn and bash it. (See Ephesians 5:33; 1 Peter 3:4-6.) If you want the guys around you to start acting more heroic, don’t label them, scorn them, or bash them. Believe that they can become something more. It’s not having faith in a man, but in what our mighty, amazing, triumphant God can do in and through a man. Let your words bring life and encouragement, not sarcasm and disdain. James 3:8-10 says:
The tongue is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.
For three things the earth is perturbed, Yes, for four it cannot bear up: For a servant when he reigns, A fool when he is filled with food, a hateful woman when she is married, and a maidservant who succeeds her mistress.
Arrogant femininity is not Christ-built femininity. It’s a twisted counterfeit of our feminine power – using our words to paralyze and defeat men rather than set them free to become valiant Warrior Poets. As women, we are created to build men up, not tear them down. This doesn’t mean we lower our standards and accept mediocrity in masculinity. Rather, it means that we motivate guys to rise up to the standard of Christ through words and attitudes of encouragement instead of disgust.
So the next time you are tempted to nag, criticize, or complain about a guy’s behavior – pray for him instead. Ask God to transform him, rescue him, and shape him into the mighty Warrior Poet God intended him to be. Remember that God is not limited by a guy’s weaknesses – His transforming power is far greater than any human sin or weakness that resides in a man’s life. Ask God to build your faith in His mighty ways – and remember that He is even more interested in rescuing that man’s soul than you are.