by Brett Clemmer, Vice President of Leadership Development at Man in the Mirror
Have you ever noticed how many men are simply unwilling to admit when we're hurting?
How ya doin'?
Oh, fine. Thanks.
FINE, to quote The Italian Job, stands for Freaked out, Insecure, Neurotic and Emotional.
Recent media coverage of men's health issues bears this out. Suicide is now the leading cause of death in Britain for men under 45. Another study found "being married or middle-aged significantly increases the likelihood that men have no one (apart from their partner) to turn to in crisis."
Married or middle-aged--that's a lot of guys in the church. The causes of men hurting are well-known. Job loss, marital discord, addictions, pornography, health issues (to name a few) all wreak havoc on a man's life. Worse, since Adam hid from God in the garden, men have been going to their "drug of choice" to deal with difficult times: Isolation.
Since Adam hid from God in the garden, men have been going to their "drug of choice" to deal with difficult times: Isolation.
There's a solution---not for the problems, but for dealing with them in a way consistent with the Gospel. "Love one another," Jesus commanded. "By this everyone will know that you are my disciples." (John 13:34-35)
Why a command? Because loving hurting men is hard. Besides our propensity to lie about how well we're doing, hurting men can be messy. The suffering they are going through comes with all sorts of baggage: The unemployed man who can't pay his bills. The divorced man struggling though custody issues. The sick man sitting alone in a hospital. The addict who keeps making excuses and promising to finally change.
Paul admonishes us not just to care for each other, but to be "devoted to one another in love." (Romans 12:10) So let's reach out to the hurting men around us. And if you are hurting, turn to your brothers in Christ. Let's be devoted to each other.
adapted from an article of the same name in Equipping the Man in the Mirror, Vol. 11, No. 1,
For more resources and ideas on helping hurting men, check out the latest issue of Equipping the Man in the Mirror. You can order 2 free issues at equippingthemaninthemirror.org.