In the recent mass shooting in Roseberg, Oregon, among the survivors was one man whose heroic action gained national attention. Chris Mintz, a 30 year-old former Army infantryman, was shot five times while attempting to protect his fellow students. Mintz has been hailed a hero. The day after the shooting he said, “I just hope that everyone else is okay.” To me he exemplifies the God-given instinct given to men, to be the protector. He is the opposite of the “beta male” who would more then likely defends his refusal to act out of valor and courage, while being dependent on the courage of others.
In our egalitarian age, men are not encouraged to act manly, by displaying valor and courage. This kind of manliness is seen as a legacy of our sexist past, a mark of white male privilege. The New York Times ran an article recently entitled “27 ways to be a Modern man.” “The modern man cries. He cries often,” was one characteristic, along with “On occasion, the modern man is the little spoon. Some nights, when he is feeling down or vulnerable, he needs an emotional and physical shield.” The implication is that there is no significant difference between men and women, no virtues or qualities that can properly be called masculine or feminine. My contention is that every man, especially those who are married, have a God given instinct to protect.
In the beginning of the creation story in Genesis, we find in the call of Adam, the archetype of the warrior/protector, but also of his failure to protect Eve from Satan. Adam was to guard and protect the garden (Gen. 2:15), which included his help mate Eve. Bill Donaghy has suggested viewing the Garden not only as a physical place, but Eve herself. “The Song of Songs alludes to woman as an ‘enclosed garden, a fountain sealed'” (Song 4:12), that is, someone to be protected. When Satan first approaches Eve in the temptation, Adam was right beside her but remained silent, allowing Eve to be tempted and confronted by evil alone. “He allowed the garden of Eve to be plundered by the Enemy.” Men don’t allow yourself to become passive, allowing your voice to go silent in the midst of the spiritual struggles for your family.
Interestingly, the late Pope John Paul II said that original sin was an attempt to “abolish fatherhood.” If there is truth in this observation, it should be a wake-up call for modern men, and especially fathers. From the very beginning, Satan has tried to diminish man’s courage, from being defenders and protectors. When the voice of the father goes silent the family will suffer. Even in the best evangelical homes, fathers do not defend their families against the evil one.
Here are some tips that I learned the hard way when I was a Dad, raising a family many years ago. First, as father I was to be the priest in my family. I was to “precede” over the spiritual climate of my family. I tried to protect my family from all the “polluted’ spiritual air in the culture that surrounds my wife and children. I was like the watchman on the walls. Secondly, I did battle against the spiritual forces that were arrayed against my family. That meant I prayed for my family. Men, never underestimate the power of your prayers as the priest of your family. Thirdly, I did not want to be silent and “go soft” in the spiritual struggle for my family. Fourthly, above all else, I placed myself in submission under that lordship of Jesus, in order to keep my family safe.