Soon after a murderous rampage on May 23, 2014, in Isla Vista, California, opinions abounded as to what causes such brutality. Among the culprits are allegedly a corrosive culture, mental illness, Hollywood, violent video games, grievance grinding and guns. A few actually blamed evil.
A renewed focus on gender is also apparent in response to this atrocity. Maleness, in particular, is getting some blame. One article observed that out of 71 mass murderers over the past 33 years, 70 were men. I responded that none of them were real men. The word “man” means more to me than a biological appendage, whether you are born with it or add it surgically. There is nothing noble about being born male or “choosing” to be so because you don’t “feel” like a female. There is, however, much to admire about being a real man, a quality well defined in God’s word.
- Real men are not loners: “The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’” (Genesis 2:18). The original Hebrew word for “helper” was an honorable description for the woman since the same word is often used in the Bible for God Himself in relation to us. The term “suitable’ conveys equality. God made the woman beautifully different and completely equal in value to the man. Whether a man marries or not, his manhood is not independent of his relationships with the women in his life who receive his love, respect, protection and support.
- Real men brace themselves under the authority of God. “Then the LORD spoke to Job out of the storm: ‘Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’” (Job 40:6-7).
- Real men pursue moral integrity. The apostle Paul referred to his young protégé Timothy, as a “man of God” and immediately advised him to “…pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith.” (1 Ti4. mothy 6:11-12). Excellent advice for a man of God!
- Real men who marry must lead and love like Christ. Paul wrote, “For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church.” (Ephesians 5:23). They also love their wives “just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” (5:25). When a culture diminishes Christ-like masculinity, the integrity of marriage decomposes.
- Real men who become fathers, encourage, comfort and morally inspire their children. Paul compared his love for a church he planted to that of a father who “…deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging [them] to live lives worthy of God.” (1 Thessalonians 2:11-12).
- Real men develop virtue early. Paul encouraged young men to be self-controlled and to have “integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech…” (Titus 2:6-7). Today, male self-control seems to be in short supply and male adolescence extends well beyond the teens too often. Silliness is glorified. Young men should listen to Paul.
- Real men increase virtue with age. Paul exhorted older men “…to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.” (Titus 2:2). Clearly, self-control is a biblical mark of manhood, regardless of age.
- Real men overcome evil! The apostle John commended young men for being strong and because “the word of God lives in you, and you have overcome the evil one.” (1 John 2:14). Real men are humble before God and tough against evil.
- 9. Real men pray. Paul wrote, “Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing.” (1 Timothy 2:8).
- The character qualities of an overseer in Jesus’ church also apply to real men. Listen to Paul
Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect. (1 Timothy 3:2-4)
Real men have a God-ordained responsibility to respect, protect and provide for their sisters, wives, children, parents, community, churches and the needy. There is far less need for food stamps, welfare, subsidies, police work, jails, and orphanages when real men step up in greater numbers. And real men don’t hold their breath waiting for others to step up. They just do it, unselfishly.
Post script: The 22-year-old murderer in Isla Vista was reportedly able to be selectively polite and charming when convincing authorities and others that he was not dangerous. But deep inside, he felt that women who rejected or ignored him deserved to die. After planning and acting on that perverted feeling, four innocent men and two women were dead. He may have been one of the 70 males who murdered multiple human beings over the last 33 years, but he was no man.