Some men may speak less, but do a better job at this act of truth-telling. In the life of action, there is a deeper wisdom, than in a life of word without this action. It takes a manly courage and a sense of humility before God to persist in this truth-speaking in the home, in the church, in the work-place. It is only by the power of the Holy Spirit that we can persist in speaking the truth in love. Act as men. Speak the truth and speak it in love.
In my last blog post, I spoke about facing giants, and acting like men in doing so. I focused on a lot of personal or internal characteristics of a man who acts like a man in battle: prayer before God and the destruction of idols of the heart (selfishness, pride, self-pity). But what does that look like in the real world? It seems that certain visible skills must be cultivated.
I want to focus on what acting like a man looks like in the realm of truth-telling. This is one of the primary battlefields for the modern Christian man.
There are many issues in the culture, in the church and in the modern family. But how can men in the church begin to effect the change that they want to see in the church and the world? The assembly is under attack. A Biblical and creational understanding of man and woman is under attack. Pornographic material saturates the world and weakens men spiritually and morally. The inherent dependence on government weakens men in their responsibility to work hard and provide for their families. We look to the government and to leaders for solutions, rather than accepting this core truth: I must take responsibility to serve God fearlessly and boldly within my own spheres of influence.
That responsibility begins with speaking the truth to myself and then within my environment.
In I Corinthians 16:13-14, a man is commanded to let all that he does be done in love. The truth is under attack in our culture and in our homes, just as when Satan crept up on Adam and Eve in the Garden: did God really say? Adam as the head of the home bought into the lie, when he should have laid down his life for his wife. Of course, even this truth-speaking must be done in love: “Rather, speaking the truth in love.” (Eph. 4:15)
This is one of the hardest parts of learning to be a man. It is easy to veer into one of two ditches. Either we promote a spineless love that is unmoored from the truth. Or we present the truth in ways that are less than upbuilding. For example, a man must tell his wife the truth and lead his family in truth, but he does so recognizing that she is the weaker vessel, and having patience with the immaturity in his children. He does so to build her up. It is done in selfless love.
I have seen an issue in the “manosphere” that at times when men want to “tell the truth” so to speak, they do it with filthy language and insults. Somehow dropping crass language makes it more courageous. I am not saying that there is no place for strong language. For example, Paul tells the Judaizers in Galatia essentially that they should castrate themselves (Gal. 5:12). But it was well aimed along the lines of their beliefs that that they could only fellowship with those who were circumcised. And so Paul is telling them to just circumcise themselves from the Church if they want to got that far in their practice. But the vast majority of what is arising in our culture is simply filthy language that does not build up but tears down. Much of it does not make sense within context and so it is not truth-telling, but simply filthy language.
Back to the ditches. Fear of consequences, can make a man harsh in telling the truth on one hand, or make him compromise in telling the truth on the other hand. Both responses are a symptom of fear. It takes courage to speak truth in love in a culture where, the consequences might put you in a place where you are without a job.