Thursday, March 2, 2006
We have three children, two boys and a girl. Our boys had the privilege of growing up with a sister. Did they always get along with their sister? Silly question! Of course not. But if it ever looked as if anyone was going to hurt their sister, stand back folks! I mean, they even insisted on the right to approve the guys she dated; they wanted veto power. Almost no one was good enough for their sister. They didn't want her to be with anyone who wasn't going to be good for her. I guess if you're a brother with a sister, you know what I'm talking about - this strong instinct to protect your sister or eventually any woman you care about, from anything that could hurt her.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Strongest Men in the World."
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Colossians 3:19. Listen to what God says here: "Husbands love your wives and do not be harsh with them." This really brings love for your wife out of the clouds. You say, "Oh, yes, I love my wife." Do not be harsh with her then. That's a very practical way to measure how much you love her. Are you harsh with her?
God expands our orders as men in our treatment of women by saying this, "Husbands be considerate as you live with your wives and treat them with respect as the weaker partner so that nothing will hinder your prayers." That's 1 Peter 3. It goes beyond even marriage in 1 Timothy 5:2. It says, "Tell the younger men to treat the younger women as sisters with absolute purity." In each case, God talks about showing your love by treating that woman like a sister; protecting a woman from anything that could hurt her - including you.
Unfortunately some of us have grown up with a twisted view of what makes a man a man. We have to win, so we have to cut her down so we can win. We have to be strong, so we stand on her to prove we are. We can't be wrong, so we make sure we level her. We can't show tender feelings, so we treat her with macho toughness and we keep her at a distance. But none of that is real manhood! It's insecurity. It's lack of self-control. It's insensitivity.
Even society has known the real secret of male greatness for years. They talk about being a gentleman, a gentle-man! Like the ultimate man, Jesus Christ. For example, when an entire crowd of men was ready to stone a guilty woman, Jesus alone treated her with compassion and gentleness. Another woman was cut down by Jesus' friends for a choice she made about her most expensive possession. Again, Jesus protected her honor. So the measure of your manhood is how safe the women around you feel, how listened to they feel, how protected they feel - physically and emotionally, how respected they feel by you.
For some of us this kind of tenderness just does not come naturally, but it can come supernaturally as you let Jesus Christ convict you of your sins of harshness; the words, the actions that have hurt a woman you care about. And then you begin to let Jesus plant His gentle strength in your heart to replace all those twisted ideas of what it means to be a man. The chainsaw in your mouth that has inflicted so many wounds on a woman you love; it's time you unplug that. Enough damage has been done. A real man does not wound a woman. Love her and do not treat her harshly.
The love of a brother for a sister, especially a spiritual sister, is not just some official emotion, "I love you." Real love, real manhood says, "No one is going to hurt this woman! Especially me."