Those 15 dark hickory wood steps stood as a grand mountain commute to my in-home desk job at the age of five. Memories of racing my 3 year old brother up and down, accidentally peeing myself at the top cause I couldn't hold it for the long daunting trek to the bathroom at the bottom. Standing there in my own puddle as my older brother laughed hysterically at me. Memories of sitting at the bottom trying to lap up my quickly melting ice cream cone.
There are also some dark memories to those wooden splinters.
When I think back to my childhood, I can't remember why a lot of the things that I did happened. But I remember them happening nonetheless. One afternoon my mother and step dad had gotten into an argument. I couldn't tell you why, I could only assume that it was along the same lines as my brother and I fighting over our lego rug city. As I watched my parents arguing I thought to myself, if I gave them my slinky it will make everything better because, who doesn't love slinkies?! But before I could react I saw my mother be tossed like a horseshoe down those 15 hickory wooden steps.
As she was lying there at the bottom, a fit of rage overcame me. A sense of, "I must defend my mother." With slinky in hand and my new plastic police helmet on my head, I threw down my visor with the intent to defend. I marched up those steps yelling, "DADDY, WHY?! WHAT DID YOU DO?!" No sooner had I reached the top, the door frame rebounded off my forearm, and then closed shut again as the "Man" in the household stood guard as a coward behind its fortress. With tear swelled eyes I went screaming to my mother still at the bottom. I had forgotten what had happened to her because I was too focused on my pain. Curled up in her arms she was the one comforting me.
I made a sub-conscious promise to her that day, a promise that I will be the man. That I will stand up for those who don't have someone standing for them. For this I would strive with all my might.
We need men to take a stand. We as men understand very well why that little boy of 5 had a sense to defend his mother. We know that men are innately defenders who want to bare their chest when we see the weak being taken advantage of. We know that we are supposed to go up against the "Big Meanies" of this world. Even if we know that we will loose, we are still called to stand up for the Least of These. (Matt 25:40)
So why have we lost sight of this innate sense? They are not hearing the commission that God needs a man who will go before the vulnerable.
I have been reading and listening to material by Eric Ludy; a man who is encouraging men to take a stand. Much of what he says resonates with me. You can find out more about Eric Ludy by visiting his church website. (http://ellerslie.com) Mr. Ludy talks about 8 types of men who will not defend the weak because they either can't see it, comprehend it, or hear it.
The "Unfeeling Man" will not go because he simply does not care. He can hear about 148 million orphans, 127 million slaves, but it doesn't phase him because it isn't his personal problem. There is only one way he can care, and that is by allowing Jesus to give him His heart, but he has to set down his pride and allow it to happen.
The "Guilt Ridden Man" will not go because the enemy has performed his specialty. He gets him to trip, to compromise, and then he holds it over the man. And when the challenge to defend comes, this man disqualifies himself and says, "I am not good enough." NONE OF US ARE GOOD ENOUGH!! God died to redeem our weakness.
The "Tired Man" will not go because after he comes home from a long day at work or wherever, he says “I am too tired to do anything else.” It is genuine tiredness but there is a spiritual dimension to it.
The "Work-aholic Man" will not go because he is too consumed with the idea that providing for his family is the only thing he needs to do. The end destination is not going out and providing provision for your family. The duty of a man is to see and nurture Jesus Christ into their souls. If a man is constantly away at work he can't nurture that need. Men will escape the problems of this world by saying that they are providing for their family. Instead they are living for themselves because they don't know how to deal with their family, or a crisis at home. They leave it to the mom.
The "Distracted Man" will not go because he gets so wrapped up in the distractions of this world: sports, statistics, science, food, school, politics, friends, etc. He becomes wrapped up with these things and misses the calling. He is looking for something to distract him because he loves to have noise. He doesn't want to feel the weight of the lost, hurt, and weak. Sometimes he is even distracted with good things like church. He is distracted by the study and forgets about the real need of his family and those around him.
The "Addicted Man" will not go because the distracted man and the addicted man are interchangeable. He is addicted to sports, politics, school, food, etc. If he is so focused on what he thinks he is entitled to, he will not go. If he is holding onto things more precious than Jesus Christ, he will not go because it will cost him everything to go.
The "Polluted Man" will not go because he is lost in his own sin. His mind is the workshop of Satan. He is about himself and his own pleasure.
The "Anxious Man" will not go because a man who is riddled with fear will not take a stand. An anxious man doesn't put his full trust in God to take care of things, and without faith we are nothing.
For the Body of Christ to fully function we need men to be strong when then need to be strong, and soft when they need to be soft. It does not mean that we do not need sensitive men, the problem is that men are soft when they need to be strong and strong when they need to be sensitive. We have it backwards. When a man is a man then a woman can truly function as a woman.
When I say that someones needs to be the man, I am saying that there needs to be someone who will be the first to bare his chest against difficulty and harm. We as men need to show to the congregation what it looks like to be a man so they can follow.