I was raised by an outstanding dad, I’m married to an outstanding husband, and I know a lot of really great men. I’m so grateful. We need them.
We need them to stand up.
So my brothers, this one is for you. Don’t view it as a correction that assumes you’re not already standing up about these things because I know many of you are. Consider this an encouragement to continue standing up and to do so even more.
Stand up against violence
35% of women will be victims of physical or sexual violence. Even if the statistics are better for those who’ve primarily been surrounded by godly men (like myself), it’s safe to assume that there are women in your churches who have experienced abuse. And it’s certainly safe to assume that there are women in your neighborhoods and workplaces who have as well. Men, we need you to stand up against violence. To not tolerate even a hint of it. To be vehement defenders of women. To raise up your sons to do the same.
My kids are still young, so pushing and hitting isn’t uncommon in our household. But anytime one of my sons hits their sister, Mama Bear comes out: “You are never, ever, ever allowed to hurt a girl. God gave you muscles to protect, not to hurt. There is never an excuse, God hates when boys use their strength to hurt girls…” They get an earful.
Men, don’t assume your sons don’t have this sick sin dwelling within them. We’ve all been corrupted by the fall. There is a deep thirst for power that’s plagued mankind and kindled violence all throughout history, and your sons desperately need God to transform their hearts. Teach them. Disciple them. Have a zero tolerance policy if they ever use their strength to hurt or intimidate someone weaker than them, especially a girl.
And keep your eyes open around you. I was on a plane once, when an impatient passenger asked a flight attendant to move. She was in the middle doing her job and asked him to wait one moment. Instead, he put both hands around her waist and shoved her to the side so roughly she almost fell over. The witnessing passengers expressed how sorry they were that she was treated in such a way, but nobody confronted the man. I was so angry. Where were the good men standing up? Eventually, I walked back and confronted the guilty party. He staunchly defended his actions since “he was a paying customer” and in exasperation I kept saying, “but it is never ok to shove a woman.”
Men, don’t just look on when these things happen. It doesn’t matter that the women wasn’t hurt in any significant way—a man used his strength aggressively against her. We need you to stand up!
Stand up against lust
(Yes, women lust too! But remember, I’m only talking to men right now…)
Lust is so destructive. Indulgent glances. Pornography. Strip clubs. Affairs. Molestation. Rape. It just gets darker and sicker the deeper it goes. I hate it so much. For the women it dehumanizes. The lives it destroys. The witness it tarnishes. The churches it damages. The marriages it breaks. The families it devastates. Lust is an unruly fire hell-bent on destroying everything in its path. It’s not something to be messed around with or tolerated.
By the strength of the Spirit, PUT IT TO DEATH in your life. And for goodness sakes, extinguish what you can in others. Don’t indulge any “boys will be boys” attitudes. Set the bar high for fellow men to respect women (and for Christians, to ultimately honor God). Don’t belittle “locker room talk”—God hates those wicked words. I don’t care how awkward it feels, if you hear someone making vulgar comments about a women’s body, shut. it. down.
Lust numbs us in the worst ways. Stay sensitive.
Stand up against sexism
Listen, I believe that men and women are equal in dignity and worth and yet distinct in our roles as image bearers of God. But we need a robust view of complementarianism that reflects the full gambit of Scripture.
Too often, sexism flourishes because Scripture is misused. Women’s opinions are dismissed as unimportant or uninformed, when they are in fact essential to the growth and godliness of the church. Women are confined by limitations and boundaries the Bible never set. Women who wish to steward their God-given gifts (in submission to His Word) aren’t encouraged to flourish.
The only way we can retain a healthy view of Biblical manhood and womanhood is if we put to death abuses of it. Brothers, listen to your sisters. Learn from them. Encourage them. Respect them. Support the use of their gifts. Invest in them. You both will be better for it. And when you see other men dismissing or disparaging or disrespecting women, call them out on it! Machoism isn’t godly masculinity. Jesus hates it, and so should you.
Real men stand up for women.
So will you please, please stand up.