Words matter. Words aren’t just arbitrary sounds that mean nothing but the very means of communication that reveals what’s in our heart.
Jesus warns in Matthew 12:36 “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak,” (ESV); yet this warning seems to be ignored by the world and even more worryingly, within the Church.
So, let’s discuss, are men really trash? My short answer is no. Now, I’m sure people will say that I’m biased but allow me to explain.
Firstly, let’s define what the word trash means. Trash is defined as “waste material, refuse”. Remember, words are powerful and have meaning; is this how we really want to be describing men? I’m sure women and some men will read this thus far and say “it’s not that deep” or “you know what we mean” however, I would like to offer a different verb to describe men and by different, I mean a better, more accurate word.
Men aren’t trash, they’re sinful. Trash doesn’t come close to adequately defining the root problem of man – sin. 1 John 3:4 describes sin as lawlessness.
In other words, sin is breaking the law of God – the law of God being the moral standard of God. Because of Adam and Eve, humans are born into sin (Genesis 3, Psalm 51:5) and sin corrupts the very nature of man (Jeremiah 17:9, John 3:19-20). Unfortunately, men have a sin problem and it adversely affects women, children and even other men. Our sin affects our entire being including our behaviours. This explains why men lie, cheat, steal, abuse among other horrendous acts. The remedy isn’t to simply change man’s behaviour. Men don’t just need new behaviours but new hearts and this is where the Gospel comes in. The biggest problem with sin is that it is ultimate rebellion against God.
Our sin makes us enemies of God and leaves man with a debt we can’t afford to pay. Jesus came into the earth as a man to live the life we ought to live but didn’t so that He could die the death that we deserve so that our sin would be atoned for, that we may receive righteousness and become right with God. This transformation doesn’t just affect us spiritually but also physically.
Ezekiel 36:26 “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh”. Upon salvation your old sinful nature is removed, and a new righteous nature is imputed to you.
Now, the gospel isn’t magic. It doesn’t just make our past disappear. Whilst we now have right standing with God, our actions still have consequences and old habits die hard. This is where discipleship comes in. A disciple is simply someone who is a pupil or adherent to the doctrines of another. The bible commands in Titus 2 that older men are to train younger men up in the doctrine (teachings) of Christ.
Ultimately, where we see wayward young men you can attest that there has probably been little or no discipleship from older men. Where there are wayward men there are bound to be hurt women, history regularly shows us this. It doesn’t have to be this way. While I don’t have all the answers I will offer a few suggestions.
- Men hold your boys accountable. Call out sin. Lovingly, faithfully, gracefully and firmly. Sin that isn’t dealt will kill you (Romans 6:23).
- Disciple young men. We are commanded to make disciples (Matthew 28:19-20) not just pray that they turn up somehow. Find young men in your church, workplace, school and point them to Christ. Teach them of the grace of God. Warn them of pitfalls. Encourage them in the faith.
- Find examples of faithful older men. This will encourage you. Whilst no one is perfect it is always helpful to see men who have been faithful to God, their wife, children and ministry for a long period of time (Titus 2).
- Apologise. Whilst it doesn’t make everything better, it’s right and important. Where you have hurt someone, do whatever it takes to make peace and reconcile. It will be a painful and long process, but it is so worth it (Romans 12:18).
- Pray. We know ourselves. I know myself. If we are serious about change, if we are serious about honouring God and loving people well, we will be on our knees and crying out to God to help us be the men (and women) He has called us to be (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
- Women you can help by showing grace. Whilst the sinful nature of men is absolutely not your fault it will be helpful to remind yourself that you are sinful also. You need to be saved also. In your interactions with men, remember this, be patient with your spouse, brother, boyfriend and friends. They’ll get it wrong again. They may even hurt you again. However, be reminded of God’s response to you when you fall, His continued faithfulness in times of pain and God’s commitment to justice. I would like to caveat this point by saying if you’re being abused, mistreated or anything akin to this call the police, then your pastor. You can pray for the men in your life from afar. Wisdom is not an enemy of love (Galatians 6:1).
- Finally, men and women examine yourself (2 Corinthians 13:5). We are more sinful than we probably realise (Psalm 19:12-13). It’s funny how we can address the speck in our brothers eye but are never able to see the log in our own (Matthew 7:1-5). Cry out to God and ask Him to expose every hidden sin in your life and when He does repent of the sin and continue to trust in Christ. In Christ, sanctification is inevitable.
I’ve gotten it wrong more times than I can speak. I’m a great sinner but I’m grateful that Jesus is a greater Saviour.
Having faithful men can only be a good thing for society. We need men. God created men in His image, for His glory and for human’s good. Older men let’s raise younger men that love God and love women, well. Men let’s pursue holiness diligently. Men, you aren’t trash, you’re just sinful. But if you’re in Christ, you’re saved, being sanctified and a son. If you’re not, repent of your sin and trust in Christ.
Now go and be who you were created to be.