One day an oncologist came home from another long day of work. She noticed her husband asleep on the couch, pale and lethargic as usual. She also noticed he has lost an extraordinary amount of weight. He woke up upon her entrance to the living room, the television providing the background noise.
“How was your day, honey?” He managed to groan out through what seemed to be a pained face.
“Long, as usual, ” the doctor replied, “How about yours?”
“Well, I have an enormous pain in my abdomen, all my joints hurt, I feel out-of-breath all the time, and my skin itches all over.”
“Listen, your complaints have gotten worse and worse over the past three years of the forty years of our marriage,” she changed the tone quickly.
“Yes,” the husband responded, “my pain is feeling considerably worse now.”
“I think I’ve figured out the problem. You complain all the time, sleep all the time, and have been loosing far too much weight.” The doctor deduced.
“Okay, so what’s my problem?” the husband inquired.
“You’re a complaining, lethargic man with a poor diet.” The oncologist concluded.
“What about my fever?” challenged the husband.
“That’s just from not taking care of yourself.”
The oncologist’s husband died 3 weeks later from Stage 4 Leukemia.
This morbid story of misdiagnosis is allegorical to our day. The APA has been living around men and boys for 127 years. They are supposedly an expert into understanding the human soul (psyche). They watched men’s rates in suicide and jail time stay consistently higher than women for years and finally diagnosed their problem. “The main thrust of the subsequent research is that traditional masculinity—marked by stoicism, competitiveness, dominance and aggression—is, on the whole, harmful.”
Any Christian reading that would completely agree that those traits are harmful. Although we might find it hard pressed to impose such definitions in a postmodern world. They argue that “masculinity” is a social construct and that there are multiple definitions. So it would be out of necessity an error to define the term “traditional masculinity” in the singular for two reasons. First, “traditional” is an elusive term. How many years back does this “traditional” understanding go? What are its roots? Second, biblical masculinity has been diametrically opposed to these traits since Adam was in the garden.
The previous articleprevious article covered the origin of masculinity according to the Bible, this is taught by God and originated from God. Deviant from this ideal is any of the “masculinities” man comes up with to exalt himself. Just as the oncologist only diagnosed her husband’s symptoms and did not get to the root cause, so also does the APA only diagnose the symptoms and does not diagnose the real disease: sin. A misdiagnosis in the problem leads, out of necessity, to a misdiagnosis in the solution.
What’s the Solution to Masculinity?
Again, continuing with the worldview analysis, the new APA guidelines answer how they will resolve the symptoms they’ve recently picked up on: education. Their guideline six reads, “Psychologists strive to support educational efforts that are responsive to the needs of boys and men.” In fact this may require some sort of “evangelism.” The article says after explaining the need for creating re-socialization services, “Some of this involves outreach.”
Years ago very early on in my marriage my wife and I were in the car. I felt like my wife was nagging and nagging and nagging me. And nagging me some more. Finally, she made a remark about my driving. “I just want to do what I want to do!” I shouted back in my pride. Now, say at this moment some psychologist tapped on my window with some outreach pamphlet to educate me on the patriarchy. You know what I would have probably replied in my flesh? “I don’t care.” Why? My aggressive domineering attitude was not a result of my lack of knowledge on sociology or psychology. My attitude was not because I felt I was the alpha male who needed to dominate over women. My behavior was the result of sin, namely my pride. You go educate the devil and what will he say? “Great! Now, the better I can destroy you.” Education may by placebo alleviate the symptoms like getting your Leukemic husband to exercise and eat better, but it will never destroy the disease of sin. Only the gospel can do that.
Where is masculinity headed?
The article on the new APA guidelines states their end goal quite bluntly, “Indeed, when researchers strip away stereotypes and expectations, there isn’t much difference in the basic behaviors of men and women.” So what is the APA’s new goal for your manhood? You’re really not any different from a woman. Here’s a verse I wrote from the APA version of Philippians 2:
Have this mind among yourselves which is yours in the American Psychologist, who, though he was in the form of a white male, did not consider equality with patriarchy a thing to be taken advantage of but emptied himself by taking the form of a woke individual, being reborn in the understanding of masculinities. And being found in woke form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to re-educate men, even religious men. Therefore the whole world has highly exalted him and bestowed on him a name that is above every name, so that at the name of psychology, every masculinity will bow on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess “there’s really nothing different from being a woman.”
The biblical view is much different. As mentioned in the previous post, the end goal is the glad assumption of sacrificial responsibility. The supreme example of this is Christ himself. Christ was given a responsibility that was the greatest sacrifice of all and He took it on for the joy that was set before him. This is the real version of Philippians 2:
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant,being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
So what does this mean for the biblical man? His life is not to be marked by aggression, stoicism, and dominance; rather, his life is to be marked with sacrificial responsibility. His wife should be able to look at him and say with confidence in work, in play, in devotion, in Word and ministry, “He gave his all for me.” His children should say, “Dad gave his all for us.” If this man is single and without a family his sphere of influence should even be able to say, “that guy gave his all for us to bring us to Christ.” And what a beautiful epitaph indeed, “the man who gave his all;” which is epitomized in Christ. Let us follow his masculine example.
Give it All
That means aggression, stoicism, [unhealthy] competitiveness, and dominance must be cast aside with every other sinful weight that holds us back so that we might run the race with endurance. The book of Proverbs says, “A man of wrath stirs up strife, and one given to anger causes much transgression” (29:22). Paul was no Stoic, notice the exhortation he gives the Corinthians after a plea filled with emotion, “We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians; our heart is wide open. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your own affections. In return (I speak as to children) widen your hearts also” (2 Cor. 6:11:13). When James and John tried to compete to have dominance over the other apostles Jesus taught them a lesson, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”(Mark 10:42-45). The symptoms the APA just discovered, God dealt with thousands of years ago.
Just dealing with the symptoms is not enough. The root of all these symptoms is the same sin of pride. Men become angry, withhold emotion, and domineer over others only in order to exalt self. There was once a woke black lesbian who was speaking at a political activist rally. She raised her hands to the heavens and cried out, “Thank God I’m not like other people, oppressive, aggressive, stoic, and domineering. You know, like Grumpy Trump!” The crowd roared at the virtue signaling name drop. Meanwhile, a white republican, pro-life, pro-wall, and pro-gun man was in a church sanctuary by himself. He could not even lift his eyes to heaven but cried out through his tears, “God have mercy on me, a sinner!” Which person left justified before God?
My point is not that one needs to adopt a certain political identity to be justified; but rather that pride is a sin ready to pounce on anyone no matter their color, sexual identity, or political affiliation. To limit these 4 main symptoms to “traditional” masculinity gives everyone else a free pass to claim they’re free from their harm. The Bible paints a much different picture, “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” You see, the APA’s strategy to identify the main form of negative masculinity and then compete with it and dominate over it is self-defeating because the strategy has to take on some of its own declared vices to win. The true strategy is to proclaim Christ’s self-sacrifice. Men, humble yourself, take your responsibility, and give your all.