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If you spend enough time around me, one thing becomes clear: I’m frank–often painfully so. Spend even more time, and we’re bound to arrive at one of my core conclusions: men are wicked. I am not a bitter female, I have never been in a relationship or had my heart broken, I’ve never been on either side of unrequited love, and most of the guys in my life are simply amazing. But, I have seen enough to be aware of the kind of havoc men wreak on society, especially women, when they don’t stand up to the enormous task that is manhood. That, to me, is more than enough cause for caution.

“Men are wicked.” For the past year or so, I have been increasingly uncomfortable with this philosophy, even as my exposure to the horror stories has increased. Are men wicked? Yes. Is it any less wicked to hold that idea as a baseline? No. I have six nephews, two godsons, and several friends with young sons. I cannot bring myself to see any of these males as wicked, even though I know they will grow up and imperfectly execute the requirements of being a man.

See, men are not simply wicked. They are also broken, as is all of humanity. If I zoom in on the wickedness, and ignore the brokenness, it makes it almost impossible for me to view men with compassion, especially in my thoughts. I have close male friends, and I’m pretty sure they think I’m more than slightly cynical when it comes to this, even though I think I’m merely stating the facts, just being my frank self. How do I characterise men as wicked without inadvertently including all those men I love and respect?

Statistically, it’s frightening. So many men are simply not stepping up, and there doesn’t seem to be much hope for this generation of men. It’s easy to think that decency, integrity, honour, and fidelity are things of the past. Still, how am I helping by reducing men to the ones who are not worthy to bear the name? Whether I want to admit it or not, labeling men as wicked makes it easier to dismiss them altogether. It is as destructive as those women who would hold men to no standards whatsoever, simply because they are afraid of being single.

So, what do I do now? I would like to renew a commitment…to love and support the good men in my life, to encourage their efforts, and view them with honour. More than that, though, I will no longer define men by facts. I have no doubt men will continue to be wicked, but I must also remember that they are broken and human, just as I am…that every man was once a vulnerable little boy…that the odds are stacked against them, and even society doesn’t expect much of men. I will no longer add to that lack of expectation, difficult as it is likely to be.

I must remember that men were designed to be living examples of strength founded upon love and protecting the vulerable. I must honour what is there, look for and celebrate the good, even when I do not see it.

Where men fill the purpose and design of men as the Bible has outlined it, humanity flourishes, and where men refuse to step into the space that men are called to fill, the world burns.

                                        Matt Chandler

Disclaimer: This is an entirely separate issue from a man’s suitability as a mate (standards matter), and I remain happily and gratefully single…no need to get excited (you know yourselves). 😛

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