How To Guide Men To Develop Meaningful Relationships
The Three Marks of Godly Masculine Relationships
I want you to reflect for a moment on a man (or men) who have shaped your life. Just reflect for a moment about how they shaped and influenced you.
Are you thinking about them?
If so, you probably realize that you still long for that connection. Relationships that transcend the superficial and mundane. Relationships where we can be ourselves, be understood, and be challenged. But these relationships are far too scarce. And we don't need many of these relationships, but men undeniably require a few solid spiritual bonds in their lives.
And so my goal today is to point you to what these look like. Today I will give you three marks that are hallmarks of the strong bonds we should have with other men and that we want other men to find as well.
Mark One | Acceptance
Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. — Romans 15:7
Men long for acceptance. But not just any kind of acceptance. True biblical acceptance. And there is a vast difference between the generalized acceptance that most think this verse is talking about.
Wrong acceptance is settling for a compromise that goes against biblical truth. It is a form of approval that condones sin or embraces ideologies that go against the teachings of Scripture. As advocated for here, proper acceptance is based on thoughtful discernment and spoken love. It involves accepting others, regardless of their flaws or past, while upholding God's truth and moral standards. Proper acceptance recognizes the inherent worth of a man as God's creation (Genesis 1:27) and acknowledges the need for repentance and transformation, which means we must get aligned with God's truth (Acts 3:19).
And this is the kind of acceptance that marks great masculine relationships. It says, "I love you, man, but I don't want you to repeat the same mistakes. I want you to be a better man. A more godly man."
And that's mark one. We must be that man and guide men to other men who will do the same.
Mark Two | Truth
Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. — Ephesians 4:15
Men also need another man who will speak the truth to them. But the basis for this truth does not stem from their opinions. It's founded on the only truth we have — Scripture. And this text has a caveat on how we speak it — in love. And this truth has a purpose — spiritual growth and maturity. In other words, men need men who will speak biblical truth in loving ways to other men so they will spiritually grow.
But this assumes a lot because plenty of men out there don't know how to do this. They might only speak their opinions. Or they might know the truth but only say it harshly. Or they speak it with no interest in helping others spiritually grow. And many men have been ruined by spiritual relationships who have done this all wrong — men who have failed in every aspect of this truth.
Here is a short list of prerequisites that might help when looking for a man who can do this. Find a man who:
- Wants God's best for you.
- Understands you.
- Speaks your language.
- Makes steps actionable.
- Gives constructive feedback.
- Remains committed to you.
And here's the deal. If you want to grow in the truth as a man of God, you must be willing to step into this. It's never perfect. It will be messy sometimes. Men say stupid things in stupid ways because we are all stupid. But avoiding this mark is not the path to becoming a better man of God.
Mark Three | Vulnerability
Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. — Galatians 6:2
Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. — Proverbs 27:17
The final mark is the safety of being vulnerable. In these types of relationships, men can fully expose their true selves and confront their struggles without the fear of abandonment or rejection. This environment offers men security where they can lay bare their issues, confusion, and sin, knowing they will be met with compassion and understanding.
Most men have never experienced this. And there are many reasons why, including social expectations, cultural norms, upbringing, and some unfortunate experiences with other men or Christian men. As a result, being vulnerable means first getting beyond all these hurts and hangups. And for some, this makes vulnerability daunting.
But true godly vulnerability is where men are made. When a vulnerable piece of metal is placed in the ironsmith's hands, he is subject to the ironsmith's discretion. And yes, there is heat, beating, and grinding. But if we will subject ourselves to a vulnerable process, on the other side, shape, sharpening, and shining happens. But it only happens when we are vulnerable and submit ourselves to vulnerability. And this goes for both men in a relationship. We must model vulnerability and be vulnerable.
So there are your three marks. Acceptance. Truth. Vulnerability.
By embracing these, we pave the way for authentic, transformative relationships that reflect the love of Christ. Remember, we must model these marks ourselves and seek out men who embody them. In doing so, you will experience the power and beauty of godly masculine relationships that shape and strengthen you on your path to becoming the man God has called you to be.
You can visit me at vincemiller.com
And live all in for him, who lived all in for you.