Toxic Masculinity is all the rage it seems. Here’s what the cultural experts on this subject are asking decent people to consider for the good of our society:
1. How can we teach our young men to identify (and eliminate) their innate toxic masculinity, that deadly male virus, so it won’t gravely injure others?
2. How can we train boys and girls to acknowledge (and eradicate) all that is sinister about the male gender so as to enjoy a more safe and free society for all?
3. What can we do so men and women will fully appreciate that masculinity, at it’s root, is noxious and harmful to the most vulnerable?
4. How can we raise up a generation of men whose masculinity does not threaten, denigrate, or damage the bodies and spirits of women and girls?
5. And, equally as important, how can we ensure that our daughters know how to resist the unwelcome Toxic Masculinity that impedes a woman from moving freely throughout her day?
I’m no expert, but I’ve given this subject a decent amount of consideration in recent days.
1. Toxic Masculinity is nothing new to this age.
Toxic behavior has been around since the beginning of time, when Cain overpowered Able because he felt angry and rejected by God. Or was it even earlier, when Adam cowardly failed to protect Eve from being seduced by the serpent? I know. I know. Women don’t need a man to protect them. Either way, men behaving badly is an age old concern.
2. Toxic Masculinity (men wanting their own way and trampling over others to get it) is always condemned in scripture as utterly contrary to God’s character and opposite of his intention for his people.
God created male and female to bless the world; to participate in God’s will on earth as it is in heaven. But very early in God’s story, we are given an alarming picture of a humanity that’s gone off the rails. We read in Genesis 6 that “The wickedness of man was great; and that every intention their hearts was only evil continually.”
A fully toxic humanity only six chapters along from the Garden of Eden!
3. God’s word makes no bones about what he thinks of mankind’s evil inclination to get their own way at the expense of others: He Hates It.
The pride of men who operate from their own passions, who literally take matters into their own grabby hands, grieves their Creator to the core.
But God Almighty has a name for what wreaks havoc on bodies and souls, and he doesn’t name it Toxic Masculinity. He names it Sin.
4. Toxic Masculinity is a label for ‘the sinful attitudes and actions of males‘ that is used primarily by people who think their own attitudes and judgments are always on the up and up.
It’s relatively easy to observe what is vile in others and much less so to see what lies pernicious in me.
Me: Your masculine (ugly; perverted) attitudes and actions are blatantly toxic and harmful to everyone. Can’t you see? Let me correct everything abhorrent about you.
Also Me: My own (civilized; un-perverted) attitudes and actions are just, compassionate, and helpful to everyone. Can’t you see? Let me enlighten you on how to be more like me.
5. Toxic Masculinity is also a convenient label used by a society that doesn’t believe in Sin. (Or Forgiveness.)
Because if a man speaks or acts in a destructive way, and I can’t call it what it is (sin), then what logically follows is that this man is toxic. He is destructive. He is bad through and through. He deserves no forgiveness. And so this man then has two options. He can either change to society’s expectations of what she deems good, right, and appropriate, or he can go straight to hell.
What am I saying when I call another person’s gender – his unique maleness – toxic? Would the world be better without the person in it? Do I wish he had never been born? Do I wish to punish him? Rehabilitate him? What do I want him to do with his toxic masculine self?
6. Toxic Masculinity will only grow – not shrink – as long as pornography is a teacher.
Our young men are learning ‘how to be men’ from perverted and toxic instruction. They are being schooled in how to objectify and degrade women from a society that insists – insists! – that sexual gratification is available to all with no moral strings attached.
Our brothers are being trained up by what is taught on the big and small screens. They are learning from the pros how to separate bodies from souls; intimacy from sexual love; friendship from chastity; woman from person; masculine from male.
And then! And then! We all cry foul! We are enflamed with resentment when our brothers view women and girls not as valuable partners but as lesser vessels.
7. Even so, there is hope.
Without God’s intervention, humanity turns on itself. Without God’s help, even our good inclinations are toxic. God knows this truth about us, and so he provided the help we didn’t know we needed. He provided the rescue we didn’t even want.
God sent his own son to protect us from what we deserve. Jesus left heaven and took on a (male) body. Why? So it might be broken for you. So that you might not be a slave any longer to your sin. So your soul might be healed, and safe, and free.
Jesus was crushed under the weight of all our shame. On the cross he became so toxic – so degraded – that even his own father had to look away.
The Holy One was stripped bare so his church might be robed in righteousness. He didn’t raise his voice to defend himself. His death was appalling, and awful, and undeserved – but he didn’t shrink back. He offered his precious body as a ransom for many. For you.
So cheer up church, because things are worse than they seem! But we are Christ’s body in this world. He is our head and his spirit of life and light is in us; healing us; filling us; softening us; strengthening us in faith, and growing us up in truth and love.
And so our hope is not ultimately in ridding the world of Toxic Masculinity. But in fixing our eyes on the Son of Man who takes away the sins of the world. He alone is able to keep us from falling.
Peace to you and yours.
Because Gods goodness and mercy in you is greater – more alive and more beautiful – than all that’s fearful and toxic in this groaning world. You will not be overcome.