In Part I, we introduced the idea of wounded masculinity, and how all men have some level of injury, and many men have significant wounds that need to be healed. A big part of healing the masculine soul (apologies to Gordon Dalbey) is seeing the true masculine. One of the best ways to explain the major characteristics of masculinity is through archetypes – symbolic roles that capture the qualities we need.
The warrior is the first archetype that helps us see the true masculine.
CHARACTERISTICS OF A HEALTHY WARRIOR
1. Enjoying the Brotherhood of Battle
Men who have gone to war will testify to the power of the male bonds formed in warfare. Men are meant to share such bonds of battle, whether it be in sports, politics, service, or even the awfulness of war. Through shared adversity, shared weaknesses and fears, and a shared cause, warriors are meant for the fellowship of battle. It is a reality in our fallen world that we will have to fight falsehoods, poverty and sickness, and evil men in power – men were meant to bond in battle.
2. Zeal for a Just Cause
Warriors, both male and female, need a just cause to fight for. In scripture, we are commanded to defend the weak and powerless, and to fight evil. The true warrior is involved with using his skills and talents with zeal for what is right.
If you’ve ever had sons, or worked with young boys and girls, you’ll notice that boys are, in general, more aggressive than girls. They want to stomp things, break things, and make loud noises. This is in part due to their chemical makeup, and the increases in testosterone during their development will increase these tendencies. Boys were made for competition and battle.
However, physical competition and battle is not good for all boys or men, because it favors the physically strong. Some boys and men are more intellectually or creatively oriented than those who are physical.
In the biblical view of things, and God’s kingdom as Jesus described it, aggression is not to be aimed at other people, but at spiritual darkness, and against all ideas that conflict with the truth.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places… Ephesians 6:11
For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ… 2 Corinthians 10:4-5
Be angry and do not sin… Ephesians 4:26
And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers doing business. 15When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables… John 2:13-21
And He entered the synagogue again, and a man was there who had a withered hand. 2So they watched Him closely, whether He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him. 3And He said to the man who had the withered hand, “Step forward.” 4Then He said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they kept silent. 5And when He had looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored as whole as the other… Mark 3:1-5
There is a type of anger that is just, but most of us have not seen this type of anger. Jesus displayed anger at the religious who had turned worship into a money-making operation, and who showed more reverence for their religious rules than they did for caring for people. Here is a comparison between righteous and unrighteous anger:
|Righteous Anger||Unrighteous Anger|
|desires to save others from evil||desires to hurt others|
|hates hypocrisy||hates people|
|wants justice and peace||wants vengeance|
BEING AFRAID OF ANGER
Many of us are afraid of anger – in others, or in ourselves. We may eschew anger of all kinds because:
- we were beaten, or had angry discipline as children
- we only know it as uncontrollable and destructive
- we were taught that it was sinful or bad to be angry
However, Jesus’ examples above display to us how to be angry and not sin. We should not be directing destructive feelings towards people. Rather, we should use it to energize us to upset the status quo when it is unjust, and to reject religious and moral hypocrisy by doing what is good despite social or religious disapproval.
THE WORLDLY, COUNTERFEIT WARRIOR
The worldly, unbiblical warrior is one who displays unchecked aggression, who is always looking for a fight (any fight!), and who enjoys intimidation and inflicting pain. He must be the best to make others less than himself.
AN EXERCISE TO EXPERIENCE YOUR INNER WARRIOR’S AGGRESSION
Find a private place where you can make noise without disturbing anyone. Now, choose an object about 10 feet away – it could be a chair, a tree, whatever. Now, roar at that thing like you are really pissed off. Think about something that really angers you, and direct all of your negative energy out through your roar, or yell, at the object, as if you were trying to hurt it with your voice. Do it three times.
What does this accomplish? First, I want you to realize that anger is a valid emotion, and you may have reason to be angry. You need to access that anger and feel ok expressing it in an environment where no one will be hurt.
Now think about how you could channel that energy into changing your life, or changing things around you, in a constructive manner. Maybe you need to write your congressman. Maybe you need to create a blog and start writing. Maybe you need to get mad enough to finally start seeing a counselor so that you can get well. Be angry, just don’t sin!
Next time: Part III: The Wildman