By Chris G
"All men are the same. Now I remember why I don't date. (no offense, women have plenty of faults too)" ~Recent tweet by a Porch-going woman
Comments and tweets like that started the ball rolling on this post, which is part 2 of "Men, We Are Men.", but it's just a little piece of where we'll be going in this segment, so don't sign off if you're a knight in shining armor or simply disagree. You'll have something to apply here (I do!).
As a brief reminder, the goal of this little series is to stir up the men who follow Christ at The Porch and elsewhere to recognize that we are indeed men (no longer boys) and to live accordingly. So, without further adieu, let's get back on the trail and see where the Word leads...
"Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity." ~1 Timothy 5:1-2 NIV
In this letter, Paul (older guy) is writing to Timothy (younger guy) about how to interact with people in the church he is leading. Picture Timothy as a guy around 30 years old (give or take a few years), so probably like a lot of us. In his daily life, he interacts with older guys, younger guys, older women, and younger women, and Paul gives him some pointers on how to honor Christ in those relationships. For this part, we'll hone in on the "younger women" (your female peers) part.
What are the two key words associated with "younger women"? That's right: "sisters", and "purity". And not just any flavor of "purity", but "absolute purity" (Paul doesn't leave us much gray area here, does he?). So what are some of the thoughts that come to mind when you think about your sister(s), or even what the world tells us about how a big brother and his (little) sister? My favorite is the image of me beating up some punk who even thinks about disrespecting my sister (that hasn't happened yet, but I secretly hope it does, so I can swoop in, kick his butt, and rescue my sister). Isn't that what brothers are supposed to do?
If that's the case, are we treating the women we're around (and interested in) like that punk I want to pound, or like the knight I hope to be (protecting and saving her)? It seems like at least a few in our midst (is it us?) are being punks. Now maybe you're not insulting girls or openly trying to seduce them, but are you pushing the limit on how far you can go physically in relationships? Maybe you think you love the girl. Maybe you've even talked marriage. Until you stand in front of a lot of people, swap metal bands, and say "I do.", it really doesn't matter what you think or say. She's your sister, and "absolute purity" is asking for a beating from any of her brothers who stand for her honor and Christ's. I know. It's a hard stand to take, but it's time to man up.
We have a few more steps to take before we break for part 3, and this piece hits me. When I was in college, it was just easier to develop friendships with the girls than the guys. Invest an hour in conversation, and all of a sudden, you have a new set of friends (girls). With guys, though, it took more time, sometimes just doing nothing, watching TV, or gaming. Eventually, the bonds forged and brothers were made. How do you grow to become a more godly man? Hang around other men pursuing Christ. If I look at your life and you look at mine, will we find more time spent with guy friends or girl friends? It might feel good (and be neutral/fine) to spend more time with the ladies (even those with no romantic potential), but I'd throw us all a challenge to seek out the guys and forge some bonds. Men, we are men.
In part 3, we'll hit some practicalities of being men running hard after Christ. Think "spiritual IronMan" (I hear the IronMan is no piece of cake...).
"Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men , be strong."
~1 Corinthians 16:13 NASB