“Don’t cry, don’t be afraid, and don’t show weakness.” Are these the universal rules for manliness? Often it gets lumped into one rule: “don’t show, share, or talk about your feelings.” Men and boys are allowed their enthusiasm and excitement while on a playing field. They can root, holler and yell at sporting events, but that’s about it. If they lose, or their team loses, they can show disappointment, but no real emotions. Remember the line, “There’s no crying in baseball.”
It’s a social contract isn’t it? Feelings aren’t shared. Shame, fear, guilt, sadness and grief; it all gets pushed down and sealed over. Our culture insists that emotions are feminine while emotional disconnection is masculine.
Jesus was a man and he showed his feelings. But men struggle with his emotionalism. He openly wept and cried. He showed compassion and concern. He loved children, especially the infants, holding and blessing them. He wasn’t a woman; he was a man and was masculine. If you doubt that, then ask the money changers in the temple courts. Jesus made a whip and whipped them out of the temple. It wasn’t miraculous. It was a man with righteous anger cleansing the stains of greed and exploitation. Now see him carrying the cross, bruised, battered, and beaten. See him hanging there, scourged, impaled, and bleeding. Jesus, the son of God, will soon die for you. Is he a real man yet?
Men, can we overcome the social contract we were born to honor? Can we admit that we need genuine connection with Jesus, and not just an embracing of his intellect? We are naturally drawn to his strength and amazing power. But can we also be drawn to his heart and soul? I know, we aren’t going to join a circle, light some candles, and share our feelings. We don’t have to. But our relationship with Jesus needs to also have heart connection.
Let’s reach out to Jesus a little more. This week, let’s find our Messiah’s heart by seeing a child in need. Let’s experience his mercy and grace by giving some mercy and grace. Be Jesus to someone, sharing his soul as well as his mind. Let’s strive for a real connection and not settle for an impersonal contract.