Men, we all struggle with denial’but why? Well, one reason is that truth is scary. It can frighten you into a ‘see no evil’ lifestyle. For some of you life’s been very difficult. You’ve weathered many storms, and aren’t interested in further suffering. Denial may be the only coping mechanism you know. And you’d rather face the status quo than the discomfort of change. If I’m talking to you, I’ll grant that’in a sense’you’re right. Ending denial brings with it the threat of loss as well as pain. Reality is often costly. And accepting the consequences of truth may cause the loss of income, possessions, friends, or prestige. But know this: in the long run, denial has far worse consequences. It’ll inevitably sap your life’emotionally, spiritually, and sometimes even physically.
Another reason you sometimes avoid self-scrutiny is because you don’t want to stop what you know is wrong. You’ve confused avoidance with innocence. You tend to use busyness as a means of denial’keeping a hectic pace, and, at least for the time being, keeping reality at bay. With life whizzing by, you see very little and feel even less’especially the numbing effect denial is having on you.
Men, this is simply too high a price to pay. If these descriptions have described you at all, I invite you, in the name of Christ, to come into the cleansing, life-giving light of the gospel. Yes, the truth can hurt. But only the truth can set you free.
Men, do you want to bless your sons? Here are four essential ingredients for doing so:
1) The first is identity. Everyone wants to know who they are and whose they are. A boy looks to his father to tell him who his people are and what they believe. Tell family stories and history to your kids.
2) The second ingredient is acceptance. Let them know they belong to you and are a part of the family. It gives them a sense of value and self-worth. The son who gets this from his father knows he’s wanted, he’s valued, and that he has a positive contribution to offer the world.
3) Next comes modeling. Boys become men in the presence of men. Being male comes by birth; being a man comes through being around and doing things with you and other men. A son will learn how to manage feelings, control emotions, and respond to the challenges of life by how his dad and other significant men in his life do.
4) Fourth and finally is release. There needs to be benchmarks, rites of passage, significant events and accomplishments in a son’s life where the father recognizes and affirms that he’s becoming a man.
Dad, these four things drive away the fear of adulthood and the concern sons have of not meeting your expectations.
Men, establishing personal boundaries is imperative to your spiritual freedom and vitality. These boundaries should be intentional and thought out ahead of time; while in the midst of temptation is no time to attempt to put them in place. They should be determined by and measured against God’s word. And finally, boundaries should be appropriately and strategically customized to your unique life situation and struggles.
These are some general guidelines for thinking through how you create and apply boundaries. But what concrete expression might they take in your life? Perhaps a few examples would be helpful. Perhaps your boundaries may include:
‘ Blocking the pay-per-view option at the hotel front desk.
‘ Refusing to make low-blow putdowns during marital disagreements.
‘ Saying ‘no’ when asked to do things on weekends that don’t involve the whole family.
‘ Never being alone with a woman who isn’t your wife.
‘ Turning the channel when there’s too much skin and too little clothing on TV ‘ even if it’s only a commercial.
‘ Refusing to keep self-destructive secrets from your wife.
‘ Never making a significant financial or family decision without first consulting your wife.
Guys, formulating and committing to personal boundaries forces you to take honest stock of your life both practically and spiritually. It means counting the cost of what it’ll take to build a solid spiritual life, and adjusting your expectations to match the reality of being God’s man.