The Myth of the Macho Man

To hear most folks tell it, there are only two kinds of men:
girlie men (confused, frightened, feminine versions of men who have
been set adrift from an understanding of authentic masculinity) and
macho men. I don’t know too many guys who would want to be called
girlie, but I do know some who wear the title

macho

with pride.
To hear most folks tell it, there are only two kinds of men: girlie men (confused, frightened, feminine versions of men who have been set adrift from an understanding of authentic masculinity) and macho men. I don’t know too many guys who would want to be called girlie, but I do know some who wear the title “macho” with pride.

To me, it seems macho men are every bit as confused as their softer counterparts, but they choose the opposite response. In their fright and insecurity, they try to convince the world they are prime examples of raw manhood.

Like terrified little boys in grown-up bodies, they seek to erase all doubt about their maleness. So, they dress and drive, curse and chew, fight and fornicate … like “real men.” They flaunt their power, property, muscles and sexual prowess while doing all they can to conceal any trace of self-doubt, fear or vulnerability.

And guys, be honest, we all get caught up in the macho thing on occasion. We do foolish, even frightening things to flaunt our masculinity. Some of us boast of sexual conquests; some of us drive cars or motorcycles at high speeds; some of us dominate and intimidate employees, coworkers, wives and children to prove we’re in control.

The macho model, like the effeminate male model, misses what God calls men to be. What does it mean to be neither girlie nor macho, but genuinely masculine?

Here’s one answer: “Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love” (1 Corinthians 16:13-14).

The Apostle Paul tells the men of Corinth they need to act like men, and he gives them four aspects of what true manhood is all about:

n First, men are to be “on the alert.” Why? Because Satan prowls the earth like a lion, looking for men to devour (1 Peter 5:8).

n Second, he says men are to “stand firm in the faith.” We need to develop and maintain a vital relationship with God.

n Third, he says men are to “be strong.” He’s talking about strength of spirit, not a gym membership.

n Fourth, he tells men to “let all that you do be done in love.” You don’t try to prove your manhood by being macho; you realize that “real men” love Jesus.

And you allow this to carry over into all your other relationships… you learn to mix strength with sensitivity, toughness with tenderness, and leadership with submission.

Authentic masculinity is an amazing thing to see. It produces a “divine elasticity” in men: They can lead with firmness, then submit with humility.

They can challenge with a cutting edge, then encourage with enthusiasm.

They can fight aggressively for just causes, then moments later weep over suffering. This is the model God had in mind when He created man, and it’s these kind of men who are a positive influence on their colleagues, friends, wives and children.

Men, apply these principles to yourself and ask some hard questions:

n If you are married, what kind of mark are you leaving on your wife? A woman longs to be loved by a truly masculine man – not a weak-willed, effeminate man void of energy, spirit and confidence, or a macho cowboy who uses cheap bravado to prop up his insecurities – a God-honoring man who is secure enough in himself to be divinely elastic. This man can be both strong and sensitive, freeing his wife to respond with respect and love.

n If you are a dad, what kind of mark are you leaving on your children? Do you realize your little boys are watching you like a hawk, trying to figure out what maleness is all about? I pray they see in you a deep and uncompromising love for God. I hope they see both toughness and tenderness.

And your little girls will also benefit, because they will grow up with a clear vision of the kind of men who make godly husbands.

What kind of mark are you leaving? Authentic masculinity is intensity and drive, but it’s also love and spirituality. It’s balance and completeness.

Henry Harris is lead pastor of Rolling Hills Community Church, 330 Tres Pinos Rd. in Hollister. If you have questions or comments, please visit the church Web site at www.rollinghillsfamily.com, e-mail [email protected] or phone (831) 636-5353.

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