Love Is Manly

When I was growing up, I always thought of love as girly. Our culture portrays love with big red hearts, warm fuzzy feelings, and physical displays of affection. These are all things girls are generally more easily drawn to. Girls like to draw little hearts on their school books, and more readily enjoy romance in movies or books. “Love” and being “manly” seemed to be diametrically opposed. This is a big reason why my young self vowed to never marry.
 –
Love in our culture is shown as being soft. Being nice. Not hurting anyone’s feelings. This is the kind of love that comes more naturally to females.
 
Certainly, this feminine side of love is real, and important. However, this is not all love is. Love is also masculine. Love isn’t always elegant, nice, or pleasurable. Love is sometimes harsh, tough, and uncompromising. Love is manly.
 
This of course doesn’t mean that all women are tender whereas all men are hard and uncompromising. On an individual level, people—men and women—differ and vary quite a bit. In general, however, there is a distinction. There are two sides of love, one side women more readily express, and the other side men more naturally express. We all need both.
 –
However, in the church today—and the culture as a whole—the masculine side of love is often ignored and even demonized. Frequently, this “manly” side of love is criticized as being “unloving” or “un-Christ-like” and this is because we only see the feminine side of love as being legitimate. It’s just fine to tell men to “get in touch with your feminine side,” but you don’t so often hear women being told to “get in touch with their masculine side.”
– 
We need to all embrace the fullness of God’s love, both the masculine and feminine aspects.
 –

By forsaking the masculine side of God’s love, we now have a church that would rather over-look sin than address it. It’s isn’t Christian, it isn’t Christ-like, it isn’t loving for Christians to oppose homosexuality, or divorce, or abortion. The list goes on.

As Eric Ludy describes, “We have so fully embraced the side of God’s love that is most often and most naturally expressed by women that we have excluded the possibility of anything else.”   – The Bravehearted Gospel

Love becomes hate; and hate love

Many of the actions of Jesus and Paul would be called un-loving or un-Christ-like by many Christians today. There are a lot of things Paul and Jesus said that make a lot of Christians, including myself, a bit uncomfortable. This is because we are used to the thinking of love only in feminine terms.

 –
When discussing a sin “of such a kind as does not exist even among the Gentiles” committed by a believer in the Corinthian church, Paul says:
 –
“For I, on my part, though absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged him who has so committed this, as though I were present. In the name of our Lord Jesus, when you are assembled, and I with you in spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus, I have decided to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” – 1 Corinthians 5:3-5
 –
Wow. That’s pretty harsh. Paul says that he has judged him. Judging others is a big taboo within the church today. Not only that, but Paul says he has decided to deliver this sinning believer to Satan for the destruction of his flesh! How is this loving at all? How is this Christ-like? Paul needs to get in touch with his feminine-side and show more mercy and compassion! Right?
Actually, no. While harsh, and seemingly cruel, Paul understands what is more important—our souls. It would be better for this believer to suffer physically and therefore be urged to repent than to be allowed to continue on in sin and allow his soul to spiral further and further into darkness. Love is willing the good of others, and sometimes, what is good for someone isn’t always what they want, or the most comfortable thing.
– 
A little later in 1 Corinthians Paul clarifies:
– 
“But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.” – 1 Corinthians 5:11
 –
Wow. Again, this does not seem very Christ-like at first reading. If these words did not come from the Bible, if they did came from someone else, I would probably instinctively think that such a person is not very loving or Christ-like. Again, this is because the modern church and our modern culture has over-emphasized the feminine side of love, and demonized the masculine side of love.
Paul is telling us in 1 Corinthians that the loving thing to do for those who claim Christ but live in unrepentant sin is to not associate with them. Don’t even eat with them. Again, this is for their benefit. We must not encourage sin, or make others believe it is okay for them to be in sin. Sin is harmful. If someone had knife stuck in their chest, you wouldn’t invite them to dinner and try to “accept them” and be gentle with them. You would want to take them to a hospital to get medical attention immediately! This is a life or death situation.
Okay, so Paul could be harsh, but certainly not Jesus, right?
 –
“If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.” – Matthew 18:15-17
 –
This doesn’t sound all that Christ-like… yet Christ said it. This is very similar to what Paul said in 1 Corinthians. If a fellow believer sins against you, yet they will not acknowledge their sin and refuse to listen to you and the rest of the church, we are to treat them as a pagan, as an un-believer. Wow. Why?
 –
Again, it’s because they are not behaving as though they are in Christ. They do not wish to repent, and it is such an attitude that endangers our souls. Yet too frequently in the church we lead others to believe that sin isn’t that bad.
 –

Jesus: He wasn’t always a nice guy

Indeed, Jesus wasn’t always very nice. After calling the Pharisees hypocrites in Matthew 15, the disciples said to Him,
 –
“Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this statement?”
 –
This statement by the disciples makes me laugh, since it sounds so much like our society today. One of the worst things you can do today is offend someone. The ultimate trump card is to say, “I’m offended.” If you offend someone, that automatically means you lose, and whatever you said that was offensive is no longer valid, and no one has to give what you said any consideration at all—because it was offensive.
– 
Jesus offended a lot of people. He still offends a lot of people. In fact, He hurt the Pharisee’s feelings so badly they got Him killed. I think it’s safe to say the Pharisees were pretty offended. Of course, they were offended because Jesus was right. He was right about them, and they didn’t like it. Their pride and greed blinded them, and Jesus didn’t care that He offended them.
 –
“But He answered and said, ‘Every plant which My heavenly Father did not plant shall be uprooted. Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit.’”
 –
In fact, He cared so little about offending them, that He had no problem elaborating on the hypocrisy of the Pharisees later on. In Matthew 23, Jesus has many lovely things to say about the Pharisees.
 –
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites,”
“you will receive greater condemnation,”
“You make him twice as much a son of Hell as yourselves,”
“You fools and blind men,”
“For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness,”
“You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell?”
– 
Again, these are not very nice things to say. If a Christian today used this kind of terminology to describe similar hypocrisy, they would no doubt be branded “hateful” and “un-Christ-like.”
Jesus’ words weren’t the only way He acted harsh at times. He actually made a whip to drive all of the livestock and money changers from the temple. He scattered their coins and overturned their tables. That’s not very nice.
– 
John 2:15, “So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables.”
 –
It’s hard to reconcile this image of Christ with the frequently feminized form of Jesus we have come to know. Of course, Jesus did often express the more feminine form of love. In our quest to reclaim the more masculine aspects of love, we must not forsake the feminine. Such an outcome would not be very desirable. We must understand and practice both sides of love.
 –
We need balance. Sometimes we need to be tender, and compassionate. Other times, we need to stand firm, and call out sin for what it is. Neither of these forms of love is superior to the other. We need both, and I find it fascinating that God has chosen to make one half more appealing and natural to women, and the other more appealing and natural to men—in general, of course.
– 
Love is girly, it’s true, but that’s good. Love is also manly, and that is good too. We should not demean or diminish either form. God is love, and God possesses both masculine and feminine aspects. He created both the male and female in His image.
In our feminized world, we must not forget the manly, masculine side of love.

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.