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Monday, April 23, 2007

To Men

I know this isn’t very well written, but I mean what I say from the bottom of my heart.

To Men: Why God's Daughters Need Us to Be Fathers and Brothers

I attended my girlfriend’s prom this weekend, and I was struck by the presence of several very pregnant girls, and several girls who, judging from their behavior, were very lucky they weren’t pregnant. Their despoilers and marriage-robbers proudly paraded them down the aisle as they were announced, no doubt looking forward to an evening of grinding to the latest mindless, mind-polluting filth blasted into all of our heads at a hundred decibels. (Not to say that my girlfriend and I didn’t both have a great time. It was funny: we were photographed and received applause because, since we actually danced, we looked very impressive by comparison). Excluding two or three couples though—who probably weren’t dating—the behavior of the young men and women present was truly shameful; I’ll spare the details. Mind you, this was in the most conservative, homely little farming town I have ever visited.

I know that I’m blessed in that my father and mother have always been very positive influences in my life, especially since we became Christians when I was a child. By the grace of God, I’ve been raised right, and the very thought of fathering a child out of wedlock—or engaging in the behavior of which pregnancy is the natural result—is nearly enough to make me physically ill. And so, when I look at these poor, despicable young people, I cannot help but think of what a failure there has been in our society on the part of men. It seems young men don’t even know how they ought to direct their conduct anymore. It seems we’ve forgotten why we are men. It seems we have forgotten our duty.

Where I am from, though it is a conservative place (two-thirds voted to approve the Michigan pro-marriage amendment), fatherlessness is the rule and not the exception, especially if you take into account abandonment from divorce. Except for a minority of about five percent of teens who hold their ground and struggle to keep their heads above water, pre-marital sex is nearly universal, and parents who bring their drug issues home are as common as wanna-be country stars in Nashville. As I saw the daughters, wives, nieces, and sisters of people I knew floundering in life, my heart would break for them. So many were either fatherless or had fathers who were derelict in duty.

In the scriptures, men are commanded by God to be a father to the fatherless wherever we meet them, in whatever way we can (Isaiah 58). We are also to treat women as mothers and sisters. We are all children of Adam and Eve, all siblings in the Human Family, in God’s eyes. This is doubly true for Christians. It is time we started acting like it.

Why Does a Daughter Need a Father and a Brother?

A. To Teach Her What to Expect from the Man She Is To Marry.

With our every word, our every act, even our every failure to act, we teach the children around us. We men are to be especially careful what we teach the girls in our lives, for how we treat her will tell her exactly what she should expect from men she becomes involved with later. If we ignore her when she needs us, then she'll expect a husband that buries his head in the television all day and won't lift a finger to dry a tear or change a dirty diaper. If we walk away when she needs us, then she'll find a "Walk Away Joe " and be left to work two full time jobs in an effort to financially support the kids she was left with, as well as teach them, love them, cook for them, protect them, and otherwise care for them. If we demand physical perfection of her, or focus on her physical traits to the neglect of her character, then she will find a boy who is interested in a trophy instead of a Spouse. If we abuse her in any way or allow her to be abused, then she may lose her self-respect, and simply expect and accept this as normal and all she deserves from the males she dates.

If we pay attention to her, then she will learn that she is an important person in someone's life and that a relationship is both give and take. If we show her kindness, then she will learn that love, affection, attention, and care are not things you should have to perform for, but are inherently deserved as a person created in glorious image of God. This will also teach her of the Grace and Forgiveness of the Lord. If we extend grace to her weakness, then she will extend grace to herself, and find a man that wants a woman perfect for him to share his life with, and not just the perfect woman to show off to his friends (not to say they can’t be one and the same, depending on your friends ;-). If we do not tolerate anyone abusing her, then she won’t tolerate someone abusing her or her children either.

B. To Protect Her from the Bad Boys.

A daughter needs a father to keep the abusers, users, addicts, low-lifes, and especially the smooth talkers away from her (even at Hillsdale, I know too many of those types: they say all the right things and attend the right church services, but in the end their principles don’t mean a thing to them; when push comes to shove, they’ll fold.) In this way, you also protect her future children.

C. To Protect Her from the Nice Guys.

A daughter needs a father to keep the Nice Guys away from her as well. The boy that is afraid to stand up for Truth, to stand up to her, to stand up for her, or to stand up on his own two feet, can be just as dangerous as the Bad Boys. Nice Guys are the types that will not carry the baton you handed to them. When someone puts their wife down, or pushes her, they won't do anything because they’ve labeled all aggression as evil. When a car dealer sells her a lemon, he won’t say anything for fear of being "Un-Christlike". When a pastor tells them something that stands against Scripture, he won't stop attending that church for fear of hurting the pastor’s feeling. When his wife wants to do something or raise their children according to a doctrine he believes is wrong, he'll give in to her decision even though he doesn't truly believe it, to preserve "unity of spirit." And this daughter, and her children, learn that they must fend for themselves or worse yet, believe they aren’t worth protection. The Nice Guy’s daughter may well grow up an angry feminist because she was abandoned by the most important man in her life. This world isn’t and is not likely to become a nice place anytime soon. It takes courage to raise a godly family, and a man must have it.

D. To Protect Her from Herself and The Lies She’s Been Told.

In our world, every girl we know is being bombarded with the repeated message “you're not beautiful enough.” Unless someone is there to refute these messages from the media, they may be swallowed whole. Once they are swallowed, they give birth to anorexia, bulimia, insecurity-driven promiscuity, useless cosmetic surgeries, and skimpy clothes, all in the effort to be "beautiful enough for someone". If you tell a girl she is beautiful enough--through kind and, I stress, honest words, or through holding the door, helping her with a heavy package, or blackening the eye (or doing the equivalent) of the last guy that told stories about her in the locker room-- then you will let her know she most certainly is beautiful enough. She is a daughter of Christ.

I believe that this is all the truer here at Hillsdale College. The beautifully Christian women who attend this school deserve to be treated with full honor and respect. This is why I try the best I can, though I often fail, to be as polite as I know how around those I meet. You don’t have to be romantically interested in a girl to walk her home after dark, or get a chair for her when she walks into the room. You just have to be a gentleman.

None of this is to suggest that girls are weak, or inferior, or is meant to demean them in any way. I simply mean to remind men that It is My Duty— Your Duty— Our Duty— to be a father to the fatherless girls in our life—a brother to the girls studying far away from home. If we open the door, buy them a birthday present, remind them that the media has lied to them, or send a clear message to the Bad Boys (who may need a firm talking to) and Nice Guys (who need some gentle encouragement and examples to be more of a Good Man), as long as it is appropriate for the circumstances, we are giving a testimony to the Grace of God and fulfilling the office He has placed us in: Men of Christ. Every elderly woman is your grandmother, every middle-aged woman is your mom, every woman your age or younger is your sister. Treat them as such.

Girls, if you read this, know that you can tell a lot about the way a man will treat you down the road by the way he treats other women he isn't interested in now, especially when you aren’t there for him to impress.

If any of you ladies have written something about women being mothers to the motherless or sisters to all men in their lives, I would love to post it or link to in on my blog.

In truth and honor,
Daniel Christianson


Blogger Brandon & Melissa said...

This is a GREAT article. Amen!

July 23, 2007 6:53 PM  

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