My Life As a Red Herring (Day 24): “Good Man”

The header image credit goes to Chris Anderson. A Good Man, who I get the honor of calling friend, and today is his birthday! 

I have wondered for a long time what does it mean to be a “Good Man”.

 

When was the last time you were at a funeral for a man? Maybe it was for an Uncle, Father, Brother, Friend. The last few funerals for men that I have been part of there is always at least one person that gets up and says into a microphone, “He was a good man”. For the longest time I have asked the question: What made him a good man? I am actually eager to know.

 

 

Last week I had the amazing opportunity to speak at an event for men called M.A.R.C.H. The event was centered around what it means to become men who are willing to do all that the Heavenly Father might ask. The word MARCH in this case is actually an acrostic, with each letter meaning something different with regards to being and becoming Godly men. I got the letter “M” which stands for “Good Man”, it’s a little stretch for an acrostic, but it works. So this question that I have been asking for a long time, I actually had to start putting real time into figuring it out. To start, I want to share some of the things that I have found are contrary to what it means to be a “Good Man”.

 

A Good Man ≠ Nice Guy

 

Instead of using the term “nice guy” let’s just call him the “side kick” from here on out. For a sidekick I want you to think of Robin to Batman or Chewbacca to Han Solo.

 

  1. Sidekicks get most of their validation or fulfillment from other people. A week in the life of a sidekick can feel like a rollercoaster. One minute people like you and approve of you, your work ethic, your determination, your “niceness”, and you are on cloud nine. You feel as though you could conquer the world, people approve of what you have done and built. Then one day someone you work with begins to make life hard for you. You try to figure out what went wrong. How can you make it up to them, but you find that that person just doesn’t like you. No reason. They just don’t like you and the rollercoaster starts to plummet.
  2. Sidekicks don’t tend to have many deep relationships. Deep relationships tend to offer up the possibility of pain. Why offer yourself up to the possibility of real criticism when it’s just as easy to keep things fairly surface with a lot of people. Plus they will continue to think of you well, because they don’t really know anything about you.
  3. The Sidekick will rarely if ever take a risk on his own. Risks equal possibly looking like an idiot and maybe even losing friends
  4. One of the worst things you can hear from a woman, when you are dating, is “You’re a nice guy”. – right? I mean seriously the only thing worse would be to hear her say “He’s like my brother”.
  5. The lie the “Sidekick” feeds on… If they only knew who I really was, they would abandon me – I’m not sure I need to elaborate. I’ve spent much of my life in this lie. It was Jesus alone who rescued me from it.
  6. Jesus wasn’t a “nice guy”. He cared for the opinion of one – His heavenly Father. The proof is all over scripture. Check out Mark 14:36. Jesus wasn’t the model citizen. In Mark 11:15 He actually spent time making a whip out of leather and then proceeded to drive the money collectors out of the temple. Jesus risked on relationships all the time. In Luke 18:18-23 we get a close up of the relationship craziness between Jesus and Peter. Peter has just a few days earlier rejected and denied Jesus three times! Not only that but after all the time Jesus spent with Peter, investing in him so that Peter could lead this new, world changing, ministry Peter is so heartbroken over Jesus’ death and I can only assume his own betrayal that he goes back to “life as it use to be” – fishing. I love these verses in Luke because Jesus is so painfully intentional with restoring Peter. It’s like a slow ripping off of scabs that have healed over infected skin. Jesus is removing the scabs one painful piece at a time so He can clean, and then cauterize the wound so that it no longer runs the risk of infection. (Sorry if you’re a doctor and reading this and your eyes are rolling at my ‘medical analogy’)

Alright, the next guy I want to talk about that tends to be the opposite of the “Good Man” is the “Jerk”. But instead of referring to him as a Jerk let’s call him “The Boss”. I don’t mean to say that all boss’ are awful, heck my boss right now is awesome and I love getting to work with and for him. However we all probably have a story of a terrible boss, either that we served under or someone we know served under. If it’s hard to picture “the Boss” think of Bill Lumberg from Office Space or J. Jonah Jamison from Spiderman.

Good Man ≠ A Jerk

 

  1. Surprisingly a boss isn’t very far from a nice guy…they both seek to protect themselves. I’m not speaking about a serial murderer or a rapist. A jerk might just be a man unwilling to put his phone down to invest in his family when he gets home every day. A jerk might be a man unwilling to go to counseling with his wife so that they might grow closer together. A jerk doesn’t have to be the guy that beats his wife every night, (although I might call that man a different, less kind, name) it could just be the guy that pushes his wife or girlfriend away emotionally because he isn’t sure how to deal with the emotions. No man comes out of the womb a boss. When I come home exhausted after a hard day…I feel the pull to be a boss to my wife and kids.
  2. The lie “The Boss” feeds on tends to be: “In this life no one will help you, you need to do for yourself. No one is enough. If you let your guard down and they will humiliate, take advantage of, and hurt you.
  3. Jesus was never a jerk. He had intention in all that He did and said. Jesus wasn’t being a jerk to the rich young ruler in Mark 10:17-22. In this gospel it actually says that Jesus “felt genuine love for him”. It was because of that love that he was giving him the opportunity to live in freedom, unhindered by his slavery to excess and comfort.

 

All that being said, what are some qualities of a “Good Man”. Here are a few: (You may notice that they are actually just fruits of the spirit from the bible)

 

  1. Love – risks on love, chooses to love, sees it as strength not weakness
  2. Joy – Circumstances don’t change his look on life. He is steady
  3. Peace – Knows how to rest well. Doesn’t make others pay for his lack of planning or self discipline
  4. Patience – Can wait on God because he can recall all the good things God has done in and through his life and others
  5. Kindness – Sees the hurting and is willing to fight for them with deeds and action
  6. Goodness – Does what is right
  7. Faithfullness – Pursues His first love (God), His yes is yes and His no is no. He only has eyes for the One love of his life. All others pale in comparison
  8. Gentleness – Can see beauty in all its forms, isn’t scared of intimacy no matter how foreign it might be
  9. Self-Control – Knows his boundaries and triggers and is not afraid to ask for help from others if it means living in freedom

As men we must seek to grow in these things, however I don’t think you have to have them all mastered in order to be a “Good Man” but it is something good to strive for.

 

So what the heck do you need to be a good man? Here are a couple of things that I believe you need in order to be a “Good Man”.

 

  1. A Good Man needs the love of a Father – If Jesus lives in your heart…YOU HAVE IT! EVERY DAY 24/7 The Heavenly Father is head over heals for you. Just read Matthew 3:17. If you have Jesus in your heart then scripture says you are a co-heir with Him. That means you get all the same treatment. God sees you the same and you get the same benefits. THATS AMAZING!
  2. A Good Man needs the opportunity to play and work and make mistakes…Men weren’t fashioned in the garden, we were made in the wild. Made to work hard and play hard. Just Genesis 2:7-8 and notice that man wasn’t fashioned in Eden he was fashioned in the wild. We are made wild, that doesn’t mean chaotic, but I do believe it means ‘not tame’. We are designed to play hard, work hard, and in that process make crazy mistakes. Be wild!
  3. A Good Man will always have something to fight for. No matter what you are going to be fighting for something, your job, your salary, your reputation, respect. Or you could fight for your relationship with Jesus, your purity, your wife’s heart, your children, justice in this world, and the lost and broken around you
  4. A Good Man needs Beauty in his life – The beauty of an adventure, of the wilderness. The beauty of a sun rise and a woman whose first love is God and not you…that is beautiful. I don’t mean to say however that man ‘needs’ woman. We as men only need God, but having a woman who is fast after Jesus in your life is a good thing and likewise women, you do not ‘need’ a man in your life God promises to always be enough. However a man after God’s own heart and ways in your life can be a very good thing.
  5. A Good Man must know that he is a leader: no matter how small or large his leadership. Your choices matter, what you do matters. You are not a lost cog in the ever growing machine that is life, you are integral, God designed you for a purpose before He even fashioned you. Lead with grace and Truth. Receive the inheritance that God has given you. (Ephesians 1:14)
  6. A Good Man needs to offer wisdom from life experience when the Holy Spirit asks: At some point in your life as you get older, the enemy will try to tell you that you no longer have anything to offer; that the world has put you out to pasture. This is a lie. Behind EVERY good king is a sage. A Good man whose kingdom and influence now includes the young kings around him. He is to offer wisdom and strength because He is NEEDED. The world needs his wisdom, the Church needs the wisdom, of these Good men. (Proverbs 16:31, Job 12:12, Deuteronomy 32:7, Psalm 92:14, Psalm 71:17) A Good Man must offer Truth in love when it is needed and called for by the Holy Spirit for the younger men around Him. He must not pick to be passive, his words are essential and needed.

 

So what must we do? First off…Nothing will change overnight. Your investments into being a “sidekick” or “the Boss” will reap their rewards, but they can be redeemed, turned around, made new!!!

 

Here are some ideas for some great first steps to becoming a Good Man

 

  1. Take your wife on a date. Plan it out. Try to do it twice in one month. Get a babysitter and then pursue her. Expect NOTHING in return except knowing that you are being Faithful to who God has called you to be. Ask her about her hopes and dreams. Don’t offer to fix any of her problems but provide strength where she needs your listening ears. Try it!
  2. Single guys pursue a woman like God pursued you before you knew him…like a gentleman. Never forcing anything on them and always respecting them as if, they were destined to marry another man, unless God tells you otherwise.
  3. Get around men who you can be real and you can laugh with. Experience joy through being yourself and knowing you might look like a fool but that doesn’t make you a fool. Get down in the dirt with your children and actually play with them. Make believe with them. Take your family on an adventure, to the park down the street, or maybe even to Europe if you can afford it. (also take me and my family if you can afford it!)
  4. Rest, get off your phone. Make rest count…watching TV or Netflix or Video Games rarely counts as rest. Rest is not an escape, it’s intentional downtime. If you work with your hands for a living, try resting by using your brain in new ways. Learn something new, read a book, teach your kids something new. If you use your brain for a living try getting your hands dirty for rest. Try carpentry, learn how to work on your car, take your family hiking. There are a million ways to rest…they should fuel you and should happen regularly
  5. Married men – what new way can you love on your wife that she would receive. What are her love languages? If you have no idea what that means then read the book “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman

 

Hopefully this has been helpful. I know I am still working like crazy within God’s timing to become a Good Man. I want all that Jesus has for me and I’m eager for Him to remove all that would hinder me from becoming a Good Man. I invite you to come along with me on this adventure.

The header image credit goes to Chris Anderson. A Good Man, who I get the honor of calling friend, and today is his birthday!