Recently I heard a lie in a prayer, and it's something that our culture, including the church, almost universally accepts.
First off, let me say that the person praying this prayer is a wonderful Christian woman, a friend, and a prayer warrior. She meant no harm by what she said, and only repeated something that we have often heard and bought into. I hesitated to post this, and tried to write it without mentioning the prayer, but I thought I needed to point out how pervasive this is in the Church. I trust that if the lady in question recognizes herself, she will forgive me for bringing this up again.
We were praying for another lady who was pregnant and about to deliver her second son. The lady praying asked for God's protection for her baby boy, and her other baby boy, and her other baby boy, meaning her husband. There were quite a few chuckles in our group, and she continued on with her prayer.
But a hand grabbed my heart and squeezed. I know the husband in question. He's a young man compared to me (lots of men in that category), but he is unquestionably a man, a Christian man, and a man who is doing a good job of being the spiritual leader of his household.
Yet we called him not only a boy, but a baby boy, and most of us laughed.
This is a lie straight from the pit of hell.
Satan has done a great job with this one. You hear this all the time. Men are called little boys by their wives, by other women, and by other men. We all have heard, probably all have said, "He's just the tallest kid in the family." We laugh, and shake our heads, and we give credence to something that emasculates men, strips them of respect, and serves Satan's purposes perfectly.
Let's take a closer look at the idea that men are really just bigger boys. According to the Bible, Christ is the head of the church, and the husband is the spiritual leader of his household. (And if you don't buy into the Bible, it makes no difference. Everyone in that room where we were praying does buy into it.) Does it make sense, in light of that, to equate the leader of the household with a child? Does a woman who believes that really want a child as the leader of her household?
This idea comes from a variety of sources. For one thing, there are way too many men who act as if they're still boys. The Peter Pan syndrome is well known. There are reasons for that failing of men, and we'll likely discuss that at another time. Why, though, do we act as if all men are in that category? Even good, godly men who are doing their dead-level best to lead their families?
In part it is because we have decided that many of the things men like are childish. Most men are devotees of sports. Sports are games. Games are for kids. Therefore men are kids. It is faulty logic based on faulty premises, but how many of you really think it's true?
Men love sports because there are goals, solid outcomes, action, sacrifice, effort, talent, discipline, excellence, and teamwork involved. Men love all these things. And they are the things that help men in other arenas of life. Men want to be part of something larger than themselves. We live for that. And that translates over to business, to government, to family, and to faith. This is not to say that some men don't overdo the sports thing. Far from it. But we don't say that women are little girls because they like romance, and many women overdo the whole romance thing. Capiche?
Another reason we place men in the same category as children has to do with the differences in the way men and women think.
I can remember a class at church once where we were discussing marriage. When we asked what women got out of marriage, we heard such things as companionship, stability, relationship. When we asked what men got out of marriage, the answer was overwhelmingly, "Sex."
Now, Think about that for a moment. All men want out of marriage is sex? We don't have any desire for companionship, stability and relationship? Folks, that's complete nonsense. If all men wanted was sex, they could find it quite easily without marriage. And less expensively, I might add. Yes, I said that. It's true. Live with it.
It's true that men generally desire sex more than women do. So what? Does that mean men are inferior to women? Let's turn that around. Women generally desire sex less than men do. Does that make them inferior to men?
Neither question makes any sense. Both genders are made the way they are because God made them that way. Genesis 1:27 says, "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them." God created all of us as either men or women. We're different. Different does not mean either superior or inferior.
God also created sex and blessed it within marriage. But we have decided that the desire for sex within marriage is somehow inferior to the desire to be close without it. Sorry. Thanks for playing. Better luck next time. You won't find that idea in the Bible. Men typically express intimacy through sex. Men are more action oriented than women, and women are more verbally oriented than men. They're just different. Again, that says nothing about the superiority of one or the other.
Sure, you can have intimacy without sex. But can you have it at the level that a husband and wife are supposed to? Do you know many people who do? Anyone?
I don't either.
A third reason we place men in the same category as children is the real root of the problem. Just as women in Western culture were once considered vastly inferior in all matters outside the home, men are now considered vastly inferior in all matters within the home. This is the diabolical part. Think of who is happiest about ridiculing men because they are men, and about ridiculing women because they are women. Do you think God is happy with that? No! Satan is happy with that. It makes him chortle with glee. Satan will do anything he can to drive a wedge into a family, anything he can to destroy the image that God has placed in us.
The reality is that there is a seed of truth within this idea of the inferiority of men in the home. Women are naturally more nurturing than are men. Tell Dad you're sick and he'll give you medicine. Mom will rock you and hold you. (Some dads will, too, but we're talking about the overall trend here.)
But that seed of truth has grown into a lie in full flower. The qualities of a man—sacrifice, assertiveness, devotion to duty, risk-taking, even a level of aggressiveness—are just as important to a family. Just look at what happens to those who don't have fathers, or whose fathers are distant or uninvolved. It's a disaster.
Satan is most effective when he can base his lie on a bit of truth. That's how he works. And he has done a tremendous job with this lie.
So, if you want men to act like men, quit calling them children. And if I hear it, expect me to call you out. Gently, I hope.