Do you as a man have deep personal spiritual friendships with other men? As I observe the next generation of men seeking to follow Jesus, I am heartened by the deep commitments men are making to stand together in what some are calling an “alien” culture. There are strong “band of brothers” forming all over this nation, meeting in small committed groups to encourage one another. Cultural observers could accuse these groups with practicing “Bromance.” This is a new term in our gender confused culture.
Stephen Marche writing in “Esquire” maintains that the word “bro” shows an “underlying contempt for the male friendship it implies.” Bros in his opinion are “men who get together to be idiots with one another, drink, watch sports and grunt, but never get involved in each other’s lives.” So dominant is the preference for being machismo over that of having deep male friendships, that when two “bros” get a little too chose, popular culture has a new, sexually-charged term for their relationship: “bromance.” Wikipedia defines bromance as “a close non-romantic relationship between two men.” So how do we define our committed relationships as Christian men? Are our male friendship more then machismo and beyond bromance? Does the love of Jesus in our hearts for other committed brothers take us beyond bromance? I certainly hope so.
We read in Psalms 133: 1-2, “How wonderful and pleasant it is when brothers live together in harmony! For harmony is as precious as the anointing oil that poured over Aaron’s head…” These verses speak to the beauty and strength of deeply committed relationships between brothers. Brotherly harmony, like the anointing oil, shows that we are dedicated to serving God wholeheartedly together. Men, don’t let the culture define your commitment to other brothers in Christ. Remember we live in enemy territory. We need help to stand and be protected in our day. “By yourself you’re unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst. Can you round up a third? A three-stranded rope isn’t easy snapped” (Eccl. 4:12 – Message).
At my age I am able to take a rather long, reflective view on my spiritual journey. One of the regrets I have is not making and then keeping deep friendships with other men I have known over the years. I envy the tight relationships my son, Kurt has made with some of his male friends. I am now thankful for the men who have made the deliberate attempt to keep connected with me (Bill, for example). So men I encourage you to seek out and cultivate deep, lasting male friendships in Christ.
Here are a few of the mistakes I made over the years. First, I kept my hurt and pain to myself. I was protecting my heart by putting on a emotional armor that was hard to penetrate. Secondly, I didn’t take time to cultivate close male friendships. Thirdly, I didn’t realize the strength that comes through such relationships. Fourthly, and most important, I could not receive the love other men wanted to show me. When I finally came to the realization that there were a group of guys that loved me the way I was, it changed my life. I mean that literally. I was over 50 years of age at the time. Men, don’t waiting that long. Move beyond being “bros” to that of a “band of brothers,” willing to fight for the hearts of your brothers. We alert and attentive to the “wounded warrior.”