Real men, we are repeatedly told, do not make their career their idol. Real men do not bully. Real men do not watch porn. Real men do not abuse women. Real men do not live at home after college playing video games in their parent’s basement. Amen to what real men are not, but what, then, is a real man? Can we not say more than just a male who doesn’t do bad? We need men who not only avoid evil but embody what is good. There is a profound difference.
I heard it again the other day for what must be the hundredth time. “How would I describe him? Hmm. Well, he’s a nice guy.” In other words, “Meh.”
It would be one thing if she had just met him, but she had been in his small group for a while. They shared countless fellowship times together, countless Bible studies together. She saw him in dozens, if not hundreds, of interactions, and heard him speak and pray many times. Yet all she could muster was “nice guy.”
Perhaps the fault was hers. Maybe she had overlooked the contours of his godliness hidden in the quietness of a humble life (1 Timothy 2:2). But are we to believe this is the case every time? How can some men in the church be so nondescript, so unremarkable, so saltless? It is a question I’ve asked myself recently, in part, because for years I might have been the guy nearly impossible to describe beyond “nice.”
Now, do not mistake me. Men of God should “avoid quarreling, be gentle, and show perfect courtesy toward all people” (Titus 3:2). Men ought to be genuinely kind (Galatians 5:22; Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:12), which some might label as nice. But should this be the chief — and often, the only — name to describe a man of God?
When did the lineage of men, once aflame with purpose and passion, sizzle into something so pedestrian? What person — in the first century or since — when asked what Jesus was like, would have answered, “Hmm. Well, he’s a nice guy”? Whose image are we being made into?
Messiah’s Motley Men
I am not saying that every Christian man needs to be extraordinarily gifted, powerful, or brilliant. I am not talking about popularity contests or beauty pageants. Our Savior himself “had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him” (Isaiah 53:2), and he was outvoted in favor of Barabbas.