Terrence Real in his book on male depression makes this interesting statement. “A boy’s disavowal of the “feminine” in himself falls into two spheres: rejection of expressivity and rejection of vulnerability.” I wrote recent blog of the need for men to be both tough and tender. Being expressive of our feelings and having a vulnerable heart is a display of tenderness. But observes Real, “Invulnerability rob men of wisdom known to most women in this culture. People actually connect better when they expose their weaknesses.” Invulnerability sets men up to be the keepers of their secrets, producing men who live in cramped, isolated and lonely fortresses of outward competence, that is, being only tough.
One of our deepest felt needs as men in our culture is not to feel alone. Men so often feel like they are in the struggle of life all alone. They feel that they have to tackle the struggles of life without others who care. Being emotionally isolated and lacking caring relationships is one of the deep hidden cries of the masculine soul in America. Men live with deeply held secrets that produce a kind of sadness that fills much of their inner life. It is like a fog that never lifts. The cry of many men is this: “Who will help me through this fog into a clearing so that I can enjoy life again? I am tired of playing the game. I want relief. Is there a place where I can share my secrets?”
I say yes. It is with other men who are also tried of being niece and polite in their outward church demeanor. They are looking for a group in which the healing light of Jesus shines brightly, bringing healing the masculine soul. This kind of group takes the words of Jesus to heart. “Does anyone bring a lamp home and put it under a washtub or beneath the bed? Don’t you put it up on a table or on a mantel? We’re not keeping secrets, we’re telling them; we’re not hiding things, we’re bringing them out into the open” (Mark 4:20-21 – Message). In such a group men admit the difficulty of making themselves vulnerable, but are willing to take the risk of learning how with a group of caring guys. There is real relief when guys can share their secrets.
Men, take the following words to heart, and find another man or a group that is tired of walking in the fog of relational loneliness. In the days to come we will need soul care groups for men to care for our inner life as the darkness and confusion increases in the culture. “If we claim that we experience a shared life with him and continue to stumble around in the dark, we’re obviously lying through our teeth – we’re not living what we claim. But if we walk in the light, God himself being the light, we also experience a shared life with one another, as the sacrificed blood of Jesus, God’s son, purges all our sin.” (I John 1:6-7 – Message) Praise God that the blood of Jesus will cleanse and purify our souls as we share our secrets in the light with other men. So let’s fight for each other hearts and souls.