A common argument in the Twittersphere is over the notion of manhood. What is a man? What is the difference between healthy and toxic masculinity? How does the Bible’s view of men differ from the world’s view? Blah, blah, blah . . .
To be honest, this conversation was part of why I took an extended break from Twitter, and honestly, it is why I regret going back. The sides are intractable, and some of the extreme views are so noxious as to make your skin crawl.
So why bring it up? Because this week I have the opportunity to witness biblical manhood in action.
A little background . . . my mom has Parkinson’s. She recently had surgery to provide some relief. Unfortunately, the promised relief is not immediate. Mom is in pain, which of course, is heartbreaking to watch as a son.
However, through all of this, I have the opportunity to watch my dad care for his wife of over fifty years. It has been humbling to watch. The other night as he massaged her feet with lotion to help ease her pain, I couldn’t help but think of of John 13 and Jesus washing the feet of His disciples. The love and compassion my dad has for my mom is only a pale reflection of the love and compassion Jesus has for us.
In my mind, this is what Biblical manhood (and womanhood for that matter) is all about. Any vision of masculinity that does not look like Jesus is a false and therefore toxic vision of masculinity. The Jesus of the Bible is a man of deep compassion, extravagant love, and even scandalous level of kindness.
Of course, theobros like to point to Jesus flipping tables to paint a portrait of a hostile and angry Jesus. This becomes their excuse to bully, harass, and in general be jerks towards other people. What fascinates me about those who are fans of table-flipping Jesus is that they never think that it is precisely their tables that Jesus would most likely flip.
It was the religious elite and the gate-keepers of worship who drew Jesus’ ire. They were the ones who rejected and opposed the kindness of Jesus towards the hurting and broken. In fact, they were often the ones breaking the very people Jesus showed compassion towards.
Bottom-line, Jesus is our model for humanity, both masculinity and femininity. The humble, kind, servant who loves and forgives. This is who God is, the God in whose image we are made and whose character we are striving to imitate.