Continuing our dialogue on what Biblical masculinity looks like, I think we need to recap a couple of things. Fundamentally, we learn what masculinity looks like through Jesus and all the gospel teaches us about Him. From that, and from our review of Philippians 2:5-11, we highlighted two aspects, or descriptors, of masculinity as seen in Jesus: humility and servanthood.
So, if we can agree that the characteristics of humility and servanthood are two large, general descriptions of masculinity as seen in Jesus, then it becomes easy enough to see how masculinity gets corrupted. All you have to do is flip humility and servanthood upside down to see them corrupted.
Let's start by flipping humility upside down. When we invert humility we are left with one really frightening thing - pride. Pride may very well be the most insipient, and most basic, of all the sinful issues we struggle with in our masculinity. Pride wears different masks. See if you recognize some of the costumes: arrogance, false humility, self-reliance, independence, selfishness, intellectual/social/emotional/spiritual superiority, egotism, and entitlement. You might possibly be able to offer up more - my list is just representative, not exhaustive. What's so upsetting about this is that if you go back and look at the list, you will find that the world we live in applauds most of these corruptions in our masculinity. Men, we are told, don't need anyone - we can figure it out on our own. We have all the tools to do anything if we work hard enough, get smart enough, and stay strong enough. But at its core, that's not Jesus strong - it is just a futile attempt to fully embody masculinity. Men need to be reminded about the courage it takes to walk with the humility of Jesus.
In the same vein, we can flip servanthood upside down as well. Where does that leave us? It leaves us as leaders with no context. The reason this is so corrupted is because it is so close to true masculinity with a great exception. Men do have a responsibility for leadership in the economy of God (specifically Christian men as is made clear in Ephesians 5). But our leadership is to be a servanthearted leadership that is willing to sacrifice for the glory of God and the good of people, not a dominating leadership or control based leadership. Jesus made it clear in Matthew 20:20ff that the kind of leadership he expects is one of service and sacrifice, not domination and control. The kingdom of God is a domination free kingdom. When a leader has no context (i.e. - servanthood), then the leader is free to yield to the corruption of humility (pride), which will then lead to domination, control, and all other forms of masculine corruption.
Men (including the one typing this) need to know these things so that they will have a context for all the masculinity they want to exhibit. Heroism, courage, and sacrifice are all noble things - but they must be properly and securely placed in the context of servanthood to and humility before Christ. If not, they will become, in themselves, corrupt expressions of masculinity.
Next post will be about femininity. Hopefully I will have something to say about it by the next post.