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“You are My friends if you do what I command you.
No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing;
but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father
I have made known to you.”
– John 15:14-15 –
As a man, I scratch my head early and often at just how difficult it is to create,
and more importantly sustain, friendship with other men –
there have even been times when I have felt as though I have leprosy –
there have also been times when I can spiritually discern this is a major active battlefield for Satan
and that forces far more powerful than simple physical contexts and life demands
are at work to tear us all apart.
While there may be foolishness in over-simplifying this issue,
we desperately need to be aware of the core causes behind men resisting life in authentic Christian community,
in costly companionship . . life in courageous concert with others.
While I could add many more,
here are seven reasons why men keep their distance:
- Fear – men will do anything to stay out from under the microscope of nagging and verbally critical wives, especially ones who betray confidences and humiliate in public. When respect for your man as a person made in God’s image dissolves, you will cease to function as a cheerleader, supporter and easily forget to create an environment where he knows unconditional acceptance and can grow through failure. We come into this world as flawed and prideful beings and commence a lifelong process of imperfect gratitude to God’s perfect love. When shortcomings in our husbands cease being a stimulator for shock and condemnation but rather a window to encourage, your guy won’t have nearly as many reasons (though there are never good ones) to run the other way . . including into the arms of another woman.
“When shortcomings in our husbands
cease being a stimulator for shock and condemnation
but rather a window to encourage,
your guy won’t have nearly as many reasons
to run the other way.”
– David “JB” Miller –
- Drive – men who think of themselves as achievers can easily slip into the mentality that being tethered too deeply to others as something that only slows them down. “Get ‘er done” was a life-mantra for millions of men long before Larry the Cable Guy came along. Becoming overly task-oriented means a far greater likelihood of those around us only seeing us as chasing the “next” finish line and never enjoying the journey. When Jesus returns, He will be far less concerned with the speed of our lives than the substance we invested in the direction of human capital.
- Distant dads – men can chain themselves to generational curses and blame their passive approach to people on their own uninvested and sometimes overly harsh and critical dads. Freedom begins when you grow up past rehearsing to yourself and others that “this is the way my whole family has always been”.
- Smothering moms – men who have been coddled as kids and raised in an environment where “they need mom”, especially a mom who sets the family social calendar, will often not thrive in their own marriages, depriving their own wives of marriage leadership that is defined by “it’s not about us”. When men make space for people to get on their relationship radar, the Holy Spirit can prompt us toward them and husbands gain the ability to hear “who” matters to their wives and invest with them in being Christ up close.
“There is always a great first step towards life
courageously lived in concert with God and others.”
– David “JB” Miller
- The local church – much of the 21st century church is about staffing programs where we often dumb down volunteer roles to bite size, nearly mindless chunks of responsibility to get more people involved, but in doing so, we have made church utterly boring at times and disengaged the soul of the warriors within. Men in pastoral and staff leadership have played it safe for too long and need to recognize the Holy Spirit’s call to first invite men into our lives, including our greatest adventures and challenges.
- Laziness – what is the shortest distance between two points? .. the straight line with no people in sight. Relationships simply take work with no guarantee on results . . those are things you leave in the hands of God.
- Pride – perhaps this seventh and last key is as much about true conversion vs. being a Sunday morning Christian. Signature to the cross being lifted up high over a man’s life is the diminished desire to simply pad one’s own resume or to climb one’s own ladder, no matter the cost . . because you have found the true life of Christ when you become consumed in helping others thrive in theirs.
This is David “JB” Miller noting that if you are that man
who has blazed a life long trail of self-achievement
at the expense of meaningful relationship,
know that God can redeem every step of scurry and self-protection –
He can give you a new heart and new life this very day.
If you are that man who has lived one day too many
bound by the hollow lies of fear, drive, laziness or pride . .
or hidden behind the flimsy excuses of imperfect parents and self-serving religion,
there is always a great first step towards life
courageously lived in concert with God and others.
Would you take that step now?
“Father, I desire to honor you by no longer doing anything out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.
Rather, in humility help me to value others above myself.
This is my offering to you today, the One true God who calls me friend. Amen”
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