One of the issues related to ministry with men that is not given enough attention is the affirmation that every man needs regarding his masculinity. Richard Rohr who has worked with men all over the world has observed, “in almost all cultures men are not born; they are made.” “Masculinity” maintains Leanne Payne, “is a quality that is bestowed.” My own journey into greater integration with my masculine soul has involved affirmation of who I am as a man. I remember in the early 80’s reading about depravation that occurs in the soul. I had not ever been exposed to such a concept. At first it was uncomfortable for me to face my own depravation. It was like a hole in my soul. But slowly by the grace of God I came to see my emptiness. I was in deep need of affirmation as a man.
My story is typical of many men in our culture. I received little affirmation from my fatheror any other significant male in my formative years. This left a void in my soul causing me to go searching for affirmation from others and hoping to receive affirmation in what I did. I had to come to the realization that I was seeking affirmation from those around me and what I was able to accomplish. But this did not fill the hole in my soul. My greatest help come from Leanne Payne. She clearly has shown men that they can receive the affirmation they need from their heavenly Father. We have a Father in heaven who delights in us. I began to learn that as I looked “up and out” Icould receive the healing, affirming word that was coming to me from my Father. I began to see myself as God’s beloved.
As my soul was healed I found strength to move from a strong center within into the truth. Without a strong, secure center within men will have difficulty to move forward in the truth. We will either compromise the truth or just remain silent. Leanne Payne makes a statement that I think is very significant in addressing men’s ministry today. “The crisis in masculinity is a crisis of the unaffirmed masculine and the inability to initate and stand for the truth. For the power to honor the truth, to speak and to stand for the truth is at the heart of the masculine” I am convinced that the unaffirmed masculine is one of the vital keys in restoring truth and integrity among men in the church today. Men are being asked to do what they have no inner strenght to do. Men are being asked to believe aspects of being a man that they cannot fully integrated because of the hole in their souls.
For any man reading this post today, who knows that he has a hole in his soul, because his masculine soul has never received the healing word of affirmation, my best and simpliest advise is to just sit in the presence of God and learn to receive His word of affirmation for you. Remember you can’t earn your affirmation. You don’t even deserve affirmation. It is purely a gift of grace coming from the heart of a heavenly Father who simply thinks you are worth loving for just who you are. The words of the Father to Jesus are good words to continually to meditate upon until the truth reaches your heart. “This is my Son, whom I love, with him I am well pleased” (Matt 3:17).