What Makes a Real Man?


Audio Transcript

Suppose two young adults, say they’re twenty years old. It’s Sunday morning and they’ve just been in class together, walking to the sanctuary are talking to each other, never met each other before, and he likes what he hears and what he sees. And as they approach the door of the sanctuary, he says, “Are you sitting with anyone?” So they sit together.

They notice how each engages with God, and they like what they see. When service is over, they’re leaving, and he says to her, “Do you have any lunch plans? I’d love to treat you to lunch.” Now at that point, she’s totally in charge, and can send the signal No, and don’t ask anymore, or Yes, and she would say in the first case, “I do, but thanks.” And her body and her tone of voice and polite “no” would be “thank you anyway.”

Or, she might say, “I do, but may I make a phone call, and I think I can probably change them because I would enjoy that very much.” That’s another signal.

So she does that, and neither of them has a car. He suggests, “Why don’t we walk down to Maria’s Café about ten minutes from here, and then we’ll figure out a way to get back.”

On their way, in the conversation, he finds out she has a black belt in martial arts. In fact, he finds out she’s one of the best in the state. And then, two men accost them with ominous expressions and say, “Pretty girl you’ve got there, fellow. We’d like her purse and your wallet.” And then they say, “In fact, she’s really pretty. We’d like her.”

Now, the thought goes through his head, “She’s got a black belt in martial arts,” but instead of stepping behind her, he takes her elbow with a firm grip and just eases her back and says, “You touch her, it will be over my dead body.” And he tackles them both. And while he tackles them, he says, “Run.” They knock him out cold, and the next thing they know, they’re both on their back with their teeth bashed in.

A little crowd gathers, and the ambulance comes. They put him in the ambulance. She gets in the ambulance with him, and as she’s riding to the hospital with this man, she looks down at him and says to herself, “This is the kind of man I want to marry.”

Deep Dispositions Written on the Heart

Okay, that’s my sermon. Here’s the point of the story. The point of the story is that the deeper differences between manhood and womanhood are not superior or inferior competencies. That’s the point of the story. They are, rather, deep dispositions or inclinations written on the heart, albeit often very distorted.

He Takes Initiative

I’ll point out three things from this story. First, he took the initiative and asked her if he could sit with her, and then, if she would go to lunch. He suggested the place and how to get there. She saw what he was doing. She responded freely according to her desires, and she joined the dance. When a man and a woman dance, if they’re both very good, he’s generally taking the initiative, and she’s following, and nobody even thinks about that because the coordination is beautiful.

He Treats and Provides for Her

Second, he wanted to treat her to lunch. He’s paying. This sends a signal. I think my responsibility in this relationship, in this little drama right now is that I not only initiate, but I provide. She understands that. She approves of that. She supports the initiative, graciously accepts the offer, and this says nothing about who’s wealthier, nor does it say anything about who’s better at making a living.

A Matter of Manhood

Third, it is irrelevant to the masculine soul, as God made it, I believe, that a woman he is with has a greater capacity for defending herself than he does for defending her. That is irrelevant to his soul when this danger appears. He’s not expedient. He’s not calculating. He’s a man. “Over my dead body you’ll touch her.” That’s what he says. That’s what he always says. It’s a matter of manhood, and you know it’s not a matter of competency. She took them out in the end.

Never About Superiority or Inferiority

Do you get the message here? This is not ever about superior or inferior competencies of leadership, competencies of provision, or competencies of protection. It’s never about that. It’s always about what’s in the soul of a woman, what’s in the soul of a man to be man and to be woman.

At the heart of mature manhood is a God-given sense, disposition, inclination that the primary responsibility — note the word primary, it’s never sole responsibility — that the primary responsibility lies with him when it comes to leadership initiative, provision and protection.

And the heart of mature womanhood is the God-given sense or disposition or inclination that this doesn’t say anything about her inferiority, but is a beautiful thing to come along side of, gladly affirm, gladly receive his leadership, his provision, his protection, and join in him the enterprise of life.


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