Understanding Men

By September 19, 2016Church

As I mentioned last week, I was the youngest of 5 sons. That meant the gender scorecard in my family was 6 men, 1 lady. I had a lot of first-hand knowledge about men and a limited amount understanding of women. (Next week, Michele Cushatt is going to fix all of that when she talks about “Understanding Women.”)

Truth be told, there are many times I don’t understand myself and I’m a man!

For the ladies in the audience, I’ve compiled a list of things your mom may never told you about men.

  • When two men are next to each other at a stoplight, at least one of them is thinking about beating the other one off the line.
  • Men can slip into a coma waiting for you to come out of the fitting room.
    Putting toilet paper on the roll is not common sense, it’s a super power.
  • If you find dirty socks and underwear near-to or semi-near the hamper, there is a man nearby.
  • If you want attention, don’t get in a relationship during football season.
  • It’s easier for a man to buy a bathing suit.
  • Men like to barbecue because danger and fire are involved.
  • Most men have a disease. It’s called open-cabinet-itis.
  • Men can think about nothing for hours. (How many of you guys are thinking about absolutely nothing right now?)

Most of us intuitively know that men and women are different – and not just biologically.

Yet, our culture tells us that “sex” is only physiological and “gender” is only cultural. In other words, what sex you are is a matter of parts you have or don’t have. What gender means – what it means to be a man or woman – is purely a matter of cultural expectations.

If there is a creator, then that creator will know about the purpose behind what he has created. As a person of faith, I believe there is a creator and that creator is called God.

1 This is the written account of Adam’s family line. When God created mankind, he made them in the likeness of God. 2 He created them male and female and blessed them. And he named them “Mankind” when they were created. – Genesis 5:1-2

Here are a few quick observations from this passage:

  1. God made all human beings.
  2. All human beings are made in the image of God.
  3. God made human beings in one of two ways: as a male or female.
  4. God blessed them.

It’s possible, however, that you have a hard time believing things in the Old Testament. Maybe some of the stories seem like fables or hyperbole. But you like Jesus.

Fast-forward to the Gospels. Jesus Christ himself appeals to this text and its explanation of distinct genders when explaining his view of divorce:

3 Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?” 4 “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” – Matthew 19:3-6

Jesus is saying that God created male and female with a distinction between them. Modern research is recognizing what Jesus knew 2,000 years ago – men and women are different.

Drs. Walt and Barbara Larimore wrote “His Brain, Her Brain” in 2008 (Zondervan). In it they explore what they call “divinely designed differences.

Male and female brains are dramatically different anatomically, chemically, hormonally, and physiologically. Those differences cause fundamentally different ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving.

Our challenge is to appreciate and honor those differences. Here a few insights from their work.

1. How men process information.

Women process on the outside, men on the inside. When something really bothers a man, this is what he says: nothing. In fact, he’ll often have a blank face! The problem is … the less he says, the more verbal you get — and that causes trouble.

2. How men communicate.

Men tend to focus on facts and not their feelings. Men solve problems best by thinking about one issue at a time, usually on their own. In conversations, men tend to speak directly and use words literally.

3. How men approach sex.

Men tend to be physically oriented, whereas women tend to be relationally oriented. In other words, men are usually stimulated by images and sight. They are quick to respond and hard to distract.

4. Men need a challenge.

Men tend to define themselves by their work and accomplishments. It’s why men always ask each other “What do you do?” It’s also why men want to fix things (often when she doesn’t want a solution, she wants you to listen.)

5. Men need to provide.

Men are wired to provide for their families. To communicate love a man tends to want to “do something.” He wants to open the door or fix something. In fact, this is central to our sense of self-worth. One of the most devastating things that can happen to a man is to be unemployed.

6. Men need to feel respected.

Men need their wives to respect and admire them and their efforts and accomplishments, and to take a genuine interest in their work and hobbies. They want their wives to respect their judgment and abilities, and to express that respect in both public and private.

Let me close by asking an important question: How did Jesus model manhood?

Jesus was the only perfect person who ever lived. We tend to focus on three aspects of his life: his birth, death, and resurrection. In between his birth and resurrection are important lessons.

On one occasion, Jesus is teaching about the the life to come and he is asked this question:

8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” 9 Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.”  – John 14:8-9

That last sentence will get Jesus killed. To his Jewish listeners, especially the religious leaders, it was blasphemy for Jesus to equate himself with God. But that’s exactly what he said. “If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen God.”

Jesus is simply echoing what was written in Genesis. God created human beings in his image, in order that we would reflect his image to the world. Sin corrupted that. Jesus restored it.

Jesus teaches us that all of his followers (men and women) must be “image-bearers” – we must reflect the image of God to others.

If you have to choose between trying to understand yourself, understanding someone else, or understanding Jesus – spend your time trying to understand Jesus.

In doing so, you will discover who God meant for you to be.