Sunday, March 27, 2011

Where are the men?

If you can't say anything nice...don't say anything at all. We've all heard that one. I know I have. But wait, is that the end of the story? Just don't say anything? I beg to differ. Big time on this one. I believe that we must speak truth, encouragement and affirmation into others lives. At all costs. Even if it makes us feel uncomfortable. It certainly shouldn't. Maybe we just need to practice. Practice speaking kindness. Practice speaking love. Practice speaking truth, and calling it out when we see it.

In particular, when it comes to the opposite sex, I have seen so many missed opportunities for us to speak into each other love and kindness, letting the boundaries of our culture misinform our understanding of a male/female relationship. One big problem I have with men is that they, in my unfortunate (yet all too common) experience, fail to speak forth when they should. Into the lives of women, yes. Why not? It certainly can be done appropriately. I don't mean to speak poorly of men, I don't want to make any blanket statements here - men are vital to me - strong, gentle, ACTIVE men. Full of wisdom and integrity and respect. I am fortunate to know a few of these. But, only a few. I want to know more.

I refuse to be silent when I know words need to be spoken. Sometimes when I listen to what God wants me to tell someone or talk to them about, I think "seriously?" God has had me saying some pretty bold things to many people, and this has included many men. I'm going to be completely honest here, I've helped a few men I know through some pornography addiction. No, I'm not their accountability partner. I don't want to be and never should be. BUT as a woman that they respect, when I tell them that they are OK, quite normal and not disgusting for struggling with an issue that effects about 99% of all men, they suddenly are free. What? A girl can actually stand talking to me even after they know the...truth? Why, of course, I love you. Now, my brothers, go find some men and start talking, shed some light on the truth, it is the only way to be free from sin. Admit your failures.

I don't know how this makes you feel. Honestly, I don't know if it is completely right. I have encouragement from a couple who have said it really helped to hear these words of love spoken from a woman's mouth. Yet, in at least one of these cases, the voice of a MAN was absent. I only spoke because I had to.

Some of the most life-altering and beautiful moments of my life have happened because men have stepped in and intervened in my life. My mom told me a story that happened in our town in Wisconsin a few weeks ago, listen to what even just the presence of a man can do in a situation.

Two little girls, 9 and 12, waiting alone at the bus stop to go to the mall. In the distance, an old, rusted car rumbled quietly with an older man inside. He waited and watched. A young boy not more than 14 who was a friend of their brothers' observed the situation and stepped in. He came, and stood by them. Just stood, and waited for the bus with these girls. He called the police and reported the license plate number. Later that day or the next the police found the car, duct tape in the passenger seat and a convicted pedophile behind the wheel.

This story brings shivers up my spine still. Look at what this young man did. He was active. It was simple, it was the right thing to do.

Why don't I see this happening? Why aren't men stepping in to women's lives today? We are struggling to find ourselves. I know there are many good men out there, men I know, that only need to be called, only need to find the strength in God to do this. Please do. Please don't be afraid. Break the cultural norms or social restrictions around you - I am sick of silence. If you see something good in anyone, man or woman, let them know. Your words matter.


Cheryl said...

Dear Emma,

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your words. We are so blessed to have been brought to your blog. I am grateful your mother has led me to this God filled place.


Life with Kaishon said...

I came to say happy birthday.
And I leave thinking of men : )
I am so glad that boy stood and waited with the girls. How smart.

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