"Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place." Psalm 51:6 (NIV).
"Dear Dick," a reader writes, "I am a single 38-year-old woman and many people ask why I'm not married? I tell them, 'I just haven't found the right one yet.' However, if I find someone like my dad who was warm and open and a real gentleman, I will have a change in plans. Such men are a rare find in these times."
Dear Jessica (name changed), I've taught seminars on relationships for a number of years, and one of the most repeated questions I am asked by both single and married women is, "Where are the men who understand my feelings and express theirs; that is, who can communicate at a feeling level?"
Sadly, our Western culture has by and large conditioned men pretty much to be in denial regarding our inner self (our feelings and motives). It happens to a lesser degree with women, but we certainly need a totally different view of what true manhood and masculinity is. For a starter, regarding men my belief is that one of our greatest strengths is to admit our weaknesses (then we can do something about them), and that being macho (pretending to be strong) has nothing to do with masculinity. Being macho is a symptom of being out of touch with our inner self (feelings and motives), and is one of our biggest weaknesses, and a cover-up and denial of our insecurity.
Genuine masculinity and true strength start with being ruthlessly honest with our inner feelings and motives. Admittedly, this can be like learning a whole new language, but learn it we must if we want to communicate effectively with our wife, children, and close friends and therein greatly enhance our relationships.
Masculinity also involves being courteous, kind, loving, warm, gentle, non-controlling, exercising tough love when called for, and just plain being real. In other words it means being like Jesus. We can learn a lot about him by studying the Gospels and noting how Jesus related to others; how he dealt with people who ripped off others, and with hypocrisy, which he condemned vigorously. One thing is certain, Jesus was always real.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me in all of life to speak truly, deal truly, and live truly so that I will become more and more in every way like Jesus—an authentic Christian gentleman. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
By Richard (Dick) Innes of ACTS International