Monday, December 7, 2009

"Nice" is not enough. Will the real men please stand up?

Many of you who have known me for years know that i truly despise the thought of being labeled as a "nice guy." (especially my mother) The thought of being told i am just a "nice guy" by someone truly scares me. Untold depths are reached when this label is assumed upon me. It's as if i'm a beautiful black stallion running free. But then someone labels me an ass. Quite, pleasant, and dependable. When i hear these words i cringe. I think. Can't there be more to an honorable man than that? What happened to the adventures side of my life? Where did the strength that i carry go?

For years (since i was in my early teens) I have struggled to find the words to describe my intense opposition to the term "nice guy." I have often spouted off frustrations that "nice guys" are "boring." Even that nice guys only exist because they lack the true conviction to live a life of incredible passion for Jesus that shifts atmospheres. Many of you who know me well have at least heard me express my frustration with "nice guys" and their lack of operational conviction, passion, and plain old "interestingness." If that's even a word.

I still struggle to find the appropriate words to describe my frustration. It is truly a journey i am on. It's an on going revelation to be sure. One thing though. I'm not alone. Many men out there. Godly men. Are living a life unsatisfied with what they see. Wanting more. More of life, more of their beautiful God. Not happy with this persona that people place on them of being "nice" christian guys.

Yesterday myself and a few of my roommates were talking. And one of my roommates Kevin was talking. And he shared with us this bit of his blog he was working on. It truly helps to put words to much of what my heart has known for years.

Below i submit to you the words of my roommate. His wisdom is profound and truly heartfelt. Beloved, i tell you the truth. The world needs more men like Kevin. Men who are willing to reach deep inside themselves to discover who God made them to be. Men who are not satisfied with the realities that this world is offering them. But seeks a deeper, truer reality. The one our father God lives in. The kingdom of our God.

Kevin Ernst- When Kind and Gentle Breaks

Our generation has found men lost in a desperate game of striving to be strong. Whether forging a body of muscle, finding a position of definition, or developing an uncanny lust for women's flesh; a man is looking for true power, real defining, and a depth of intimacy lost to him. We have husbands committed to abusing their loved ones with intimidation. We have university professors who give nothing but their knowledge. And we have ministers who create orphanages with their people's hearts. Our old men are dieing as children. No one wants to be discovered as week or out of control; but the reality is, many men are powerless in their character and have lost all vulnerability to their need for intimacy. Men are seeking for something to hide their outrageous fear.

For most of my life I have been characterized as a "nice" guy. Bull shit. I hate being thought of as powerless, insignificant, and a shell of a man. When I hear the words, "you are nice;" I hear a voice saying, "you are a weak man." And the hurtful truth is, this is what I often believe about myself. There must be a place where kindness and gentleness have power.

I think nice turned into weak when men gave away their strength for fear and passivity. I have met women who despise their nice men. Men whose pleasant facades are ripped apart in the rooms of secret, only to reveal the brutality of a caged animal or the spineless disappearance of a partner. These "nice" ones are simple pretenders who have never known real strength of character and self control. They were never taught that their raging, or their secrets, render their brides unprotected and ruined. A woman's need for empowered unity is forgotten in the waves of spiritual ignorance. The truth is; men, myself included, have great spiritual power and they are exercising it. We just don't believe it's true.

When father's don't father and mother's raise our sons alone, boys don't grow up to become men. They reach into their hearts and the world around them to be defined. But what they find in those places is the very lack they were hoping to fill. I was recently told that what was NOT given to us is much more damaging than the abuse or traumas that happen to us. When I think back on my own life, it was not so much the cancer that hurt my character, but the lack of confidence imparted to my boys heart that faulted my foundation. You can kill cancer, but how does a parent give a child courage when he or she has none?

The voice of the day would declare that security in life is finance, and good character development is knowledge of the rules. But when did rules create self governing empowered people, and money rescue anyone from something as inevitable as death? They don't. People are not made strong by what they do or what they possess. For life does not come from what. Life comes from who. And that who is the one who imparts a father's heart. His name is Jesus. He is God. He is love himself. He is our Father. You see, we who are fathered by Life are not victims to a fatherless generation.

Being fathered is something that I am powerless to do. I cannot father myself. My hands are clenched around the tools of protection: passivity, anger, position, power, distraction, pain, and lack of value. These tools have guarded my broken heart. Who wouldn't despise the obvious embrace of lies? Who wouldn't fear the destruction that comes with the truth of my need? I can see it in you, but God forbid you reveal it in me. I am terrified that you might see me as I really am. A man in need of a father.

Our tools of protection are often used as weapons to drive away the truth that others bring. This is why kindness is powerful. Kindness and gentleness destroy the fear of your approach. It allows for the place of pain to be be healed. How could I think of God any different than a tyrant when nearly every example I have known is of men fighting for their own identity and value? It is kindness that has allowed me to approach the living God as father. And God is love. And rejection gets blown up in the presence of love. And love is patient...kind...not self seeking...or rude. We are fathered by The Father.

I want to know God as my Father at the very core of me. I want to see men who are powerful in their identities as beloved sons. I want the world to know Jesus as he really is: good, gentle, kind, and even nice when nice is powerful in love.


Nicholas said...

Solid, most excellent insight.

I have something to think about, and know one of my best friends better.

Joel Beckett said...

thanks dude. That means alot.