“Real men don’t cry.” I don’t know where this thought originated… Maybe it was some line in some movie where Clint Eastwood got shot without blinking, or where Bruce Willis walked barefoot over glass through a thousand explosions without flinching, but probably long before tough guys (or actors pretending to be tough guys) started showing up on giant screens. Somewhere, we’ve culturally come to understand the idea that men are supposed to be tough – and that means they don’t cry.
I would completely agree that men should be tough, but is an absence of tears really how we want to measure that? I don’t think so.
Mark Batterson lists some great character traits (virtues) in Play the Man, his recent book on “becoming the man God created you to be.” The first of these he defines as Tough Love. It’s that combination of toughness and empathy that allows a man to make it through the trying circumstances of life without become an uncaring jerk with no regard for anyone else whatsoever. Sometimes, life sucks, and it’s tempting to either crawl in a hole and ride out the storm or to lash out at anyone and everyone within reach.
Neither of those options will help us reveal God to the people around us, but Tough Love will. It’s what led Jesus to endure personal agony for our benefit. He was tough enough. And He loved enough.
Where do you need to toughen up a bit to get through the obstacles life is throwing at you right now? Can I help?
Where are you withholding your love to protect yourself from getting hurt? Maybe it’s time to take a risk and love the way Jesus does.
We’re walking through 7 virtues presented in Mark Batterson’s new book Play the Man over the next several posts. Feel free to jump into the discussion. It may be helpful to use the links in this post to get a copy for yourself and follow along.