Ladies, you know that I write for you, especially those who feel rejected, unworthy, or healing from trauma. My ministry is focused on encouraging girls and women to be who God called them to be. Secular movements like to encourage women by disparaging men because trauma and rejection often come at the hands of men. While I don’t do that here at Fruitfully Living, I don’t spend much time writing about how great men are either — because it is not my primary ministry. But because of a recent experience, I did want to take some time to remind us women of the need for biblical masculinity. God created two sexes for a reason and we should understand how much we need each other.
How Toxic Men Made Me Feel Unsafe
I have been blessed for the last several years to be surrounded by good men. Some are men who may not be Christian but display Christ-like qualities and honestly, it has been a very long time since I have felt vulnerable or unsafe. But that changed last week. I was on a solo trip with my eleven-year-old daughter and her best friend and a fear I had not felt for many years, came rushing in.
When we first arrived at the resort, we discovered that our cabin was feet away from a small pool. The resort also has a much larger pool, but it is much farther away so this little pool with hardly anyone in it, seemed like a great little perk. As soon as we put our stuff away, I took the girls for an evening swim. A grandmother was also there with her grandkids and a gentleman was sleeping on a pool chair. While knitting and watching the girls play when an older man walked in practically yelling “good evening” to everyone. He walked past my chair and I could smell the alcohol from about eight feet away.
Moments later, two other large adult men, walked in, also loud and boisterous with a bottle of hard liquor. All three sat together and at one point one of them jumped in the pool and started drinking straight from the bottle. Two of those men tried to talk to me, but I kept the conversation short for obvious reasons. In the few words that one of them managed to say to me, I learned he had spent time in jail, but now was “a good guy.”
What moments before had been a relaxing experience, turned into a very tense situation. Maybe these men were just there to have a good time and were happy drunks. It didn’t matter. The safety of two eleven-year-old girls was my primary concern. I was not about to take any chances, but I also didn’t want to alarm the girls or bring attention to the situation that might agitate the men. After all, my cabin was only a few feet away from the pool and they’d be able to tell exactly where we were staying if I made a big scene.
So I sat there in my chair running through scenarios in my head. I clutched the mace I had in my pocket along with my car keys, thankful that I had brought them with me. I smiled at the girls when they would look over at me, but observed them to make sure they stayed on the other side of the pool from the men. The two other adults in the pool brought some level of comfort, but these men were sitting closer to me than to them. My husband happened to call me at that moment. I mumbled in Spanish my situation, and he advised that I leave with the girls as soon as the grandma left. That is exactly what I did.
The Vulnerability of Women
Fear was the first emotion I felt at that moment. As I have mentioned, it had been a long time since I have felt that way. By God’s grace, I have lived in a bit of a safety bubble. Even during my travels to Guatemala for missions, I am with men and women I trust and I have not felt insecure or unsafe. But this recent experience, brought to memory all the times in my past when I was at the mercy of men who did not have good intentions (or where I was unsure of their intentions). Those were times were I became keenly aware of how just physically weak I was in comparison to the threat around me.
The Bible says in 1 Peter 3:7, “likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.”
God recognizes that women are the weaker vessel. Not weaker in intellect or spirituality, but physically weaker. That is just reality and why God instructs the husband to give the wife the honor that she is due. The word honor in Greek, timē, literally means “a fixed price.” She has a fixed price, a God-given value. Just like any son, she will stand before the Lord, worthy (through the work of Christ) of an inheritance. So in this verse, God is telling men, because the woman is weaker, that it is even more important for them to remember she has value before Him. God does not want men to take advantage of her physical inferiority.
In this broken world, because we are not as physically as strong as men, we are vulnerable and that is why God has instructed His men to take care of the vulnerable, that includes us women.
Women Need Biblical Masculinity
I am not a particularly “weak girl.” I work out regularly and can lift heavy things. But no amount of weight-lifting will ever make me as strong as my husband (and he doesn’t even lift weights on a regular basis). However, at that moment, at that pool, he is the person I wanted next to me because I knew that just his presence alone would have been enough.
For the longest time, I hated that. I hated needing men. Again, the abuse I endured at the hands of men made me despise my own weakness. But as I have grown spiritually, I have come to realize that where I am weak, my husband is strong, and where he is weak, I am strong (You can read about how I saved my husband’s life here). We are mutually dependent on one another, and God created us to be as such. It isn’t a competition, but we work hand-in-hand with one another, and in the end, we are both in desperate need of God.
It is not a weakness to need biblical masculinity and the reality is, that especially in this fallen world, women need it. Good men can bring safety and security to women. In I Samuel 30:1-20, the wives and children of David and his men were kidnapped. What chance did these women and children have against their captors who were seasoned warriors? What did their future hold? Rape? Slavery? All of the above? But their husbands rescued all of them. These women and children needed biblical masculinity and we still do so today.
Women need not be threatened by masculinity when it is biblical. Instead, we need to be secure in the worth and gifts God has given us. In “Untold Stories of Old Testament Heroes” I cover example after example of the great contributions women made in God’s story. These are strong, heroic, brilliant women who showed extraordinary courage in the face of incredible odds. We can celebrate their accomplishments while also celebrating what men bring to the table. But I understand why it is sometimes difficult to do that—because we tend to confuse toxic masculinity with biblical masculinity.
Toxic Masculinity vs Biblical Masculinity
Toxic masculinity is dangerous. But because of the damage brought about by toxic men, we tend to want to lump all masculinity under one umbrella. The truth is that they are two different things. Toxic men prey on the vulnerable — physically, emotionally, and economically. Biblical men protect, provide, and sacrifice. Both use their physical strength, but one does it for selfish reasons and the other for a purpose greater than themselves. And in a sinful world, we need biblical men to protect against toxic men.Toxic men prey on the vulnerable — physically, emotionally, and economically. Biblical men protect, provide, and sacrifice. Click To Tweet
Examples of Toxic Masculinity
- Men who physically or emotionally abuse their wives or kids
- Men who constantly put their wives and children down
- Men who put their wants and needs before those of their wives and children
- Men who will not work to provide for their families
- Men who seek only to please themselves sexually
Examples of Biblical Masculinity
- Men who will work hard to provide for their families
- Men who put the needs of their wives and children before their own
- Men who will sacrifice their own wants for the wants of their wives and children
- Men who will protect their wives and children
- Men who seek to please their wives sexually
It is okay to speak up against toxic masculinity. A few years ago, I confronted a man that would beat his wife and I would do it again. Protecting the vulnerable against men like that is biblical. But let’s also celebrate biblical masculinity because when you observe it in action, it is beautiful. Biblical men should not be berated for their strength. These men will not be perfect, just as women are not perfect, but they will be characterized by the impulse to protect and to provide. We can celebrate famous men who show extraordinary courage to save victims of war, abuse, or human trafficking, but, we can also celebrate the daily actions of our fathers, brothers, husbands, and neighbors that are sacrificial and loving.
This is a small sample of the numerous acts of Biblical masculinity that I have witnessed.
–While on the Metro in DC in my 20s, a man started to follow me, but another young man, stayed with me until the stalker finally went his merry way. I remember him saying, “I would not have let him hurt you.” Once he assured himself that I was safe and okay, he continued on his own trek, asking nothing in return.
–While my husband was deployed and I stayed home with our two young daughters, a neighbor would come to clear my very long driveway every time it snowed. He took care of me in a moment of need and vulnerability.
–My husband has taken up a second job so that I don’t have to return to traditional work and I can continue to write and encourage women with my articles, books, and illustrations. He daily sacrifices of himself, not just for me but for you.
This is biblical masculinity and this is worth celebrating.
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If you want to read about amazing warriors in the Bible, visit my other website BiblicalWarfare.com.
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