Mike Rutledge


Real Men…take Responsibility

Real Men take responsibility. I wrote a couple weeks ago about how men need to be men of repentance, they need to refrain from blame shifting and man up when they screw up.  But, what about when you have no direct fault? 

The answer: Even if it’s not your fault, because you are a Man, it’s your responsibility.

This is most obviously seen in the work and life of Jesus. To put the gospel simply, when Adam ate the fruit the human race was plunged into the depravity of sin. We were separated from God and nothing that we could do, could ever repair the relationship. So, Jesus left heaven, incarnated as a man, and lived a perfect sinless life, and then was rejected, abused, and murdered to pay the debt of our sin, and rose again to victory.

Now, the key in Jesus’ life is this, he died as the payment for sin after living a perfect life. The Sin wasn’t his fault, he didn’t do anything wrong, but he took the responsibility on himself to deal with it. Men are called to emulate this in how they treat their wives, families, and even in everyday situations. 

Boys try to pass the responsibility on to someone else. Their battlecry is “well it wasn’t my fault, I didn’t do anything to cause this…” Most likely you did. But even besides that, if you are the man in the situation its your responsibility.  It’s your job to man up and start taking responsibility.

This responsibility starts with yourself obviously. Taking care of yourself, growing up, and owning up to the demands of life. Then it must move beyond yourself. You take responsibility for the well-being of a woman and take a wife, you take the responsibility of children and become a father who loves his kids and is present for them, he takes responsibility for the well-being of his church, community, city, country, and world. (Not everyone is called to be a husband and father, but statistically, most of you will)

A Man takes responsibility for the state of his marriage and the well being of his wife. Your wife’s relationship with Jesus is not determined by you, but it is your responsibility to make sure she is doing well.  Sin that is present is her life is not your fault, but it is your responsibility. The health of your marriage is determined by both of you, but it is your job as the man to be the covenant head (more on this in a later post). She might be to blame for the problem, but it’s your responsibility to fix it.  Don’t be a joke and pass the responsibility off onto your wife to do all the work, you need to cover her, pray for her, work for her, serve her.  (For you single guys, this applies to you as well. If you have a girlfriend, and are headed toward marriage, you should be trying to cover her with prayer, and encourage her in her relationship with Jesus as well. ) 

A Man takes responsibility for the next generation. I firmly believe that most men should desire to be a father. (Yes, there are exceptions, but you probably aren’t one) I find that you can tell what males haven’t grown up by the ones who don’t want to have kids, because simply put, they are too selfish and kids will just get in the way. The Bible tells us that children are a blessing and since God himself is revealed as father, there should be a desire to understand that father type love.  Boys want to care about themselves only, maybe get a woman for sex and selfish companionship, not covenant love. Men want to love a woman, and raise kids. It’s about responsibility and seeing the next generation go far beyond the current one. Paul tells us in 1 Timothy and Titus that man is responsible for the spiritual health of his kids. His kids sins aren’t his fault, but it is his responsibility to oversee his kids, and loving lead them to Jesus, to be their pastor. Their purity, morality, physical health, mental healthy, media consumption, education, etc. is your responsibility. No one ever said that being a man was easy. 

A Man takes responsibility for the health of his church. He serves the church, honors the pastors, tithes to the church. He desires to see the kingdom of God move forward and works to it. He doesn’t complains that things may not be going well, he shuts up and stands up and starts serving. He takes responsibility for his church. 

A Man takes responsibility for the well being of his community, city, nation, and the world. He takes responsibility for the place where he dwells. He seeks to bring betterment to the immediate community by creating a proper familial culture in his house and deeply cares for his neighbors. He works for the betterment of his city, seeking to meet the needs. He cares for creation and stewards what God has made.

A Real Man steps up and takes responsibility for himself, for his wife, kids, church, community, city and world. He moves beyond himself and does the hard work of caring for and working to better others.

Real men…Repent

Men love being right.  I can think of no man who would ever admit to loving being wrong.  But you see, a Real Man is humble enough to know when he is wrong and fix it, with a repentant heart.  Boys love to blame-shift, they don’t want to be corrected and are too prideful to admit a fault. For them it’s always someone else’s fault and they are quick to point out whose. 

It all started way back in the garden. God had made Eden, and proceeded to make us. He made Adam, the first man, and told him to tend to the garden, to take care of it and keep it. God gave Adam one prohibition, that he was not to eat from the one tree. Along comes Eve, for God saw that it was not good for Adam to exist alone. The two, man and woman, husband and wife (yes, married) lived together in that Garden overseeing it together.

But, there is always a ‘but’ with us, Satan went and tempted Eve with the ‘forbidden fruit’, she ate of it and gave to Adam, “who was with her…” (Gen. 3:6) and he ate. And at that moment, sin entered into the world, and when God came to find them they hid. They were ashamed, and rightly so, but Adam hid from God when he should have repented. In fact, God comes and calls Adam out, and here’s Adams response:

 “And [God] said, ‘Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?’

The man said, ‘The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.’” – (Gen. 3:11-12, emphasis added)

Not once did Adam step up and take the blame for the action that he did. He immediately shifts the blame both to Eve and to God! He says the woman that God gave him caused all this. Adam tried to pass blame to whoever he could as long as it made him seem better than he was, even blaming God.

This is typical boyhood behavior. Whenever a boy is confronted with wrong doing he blame shifts and always finds someone else to pin it on, never himself, he is to perfect to be bad after all. It is simply pride. This is no perversion of a good quality, this is no deficit of the good, it is simply disgusting, all bad, prideful. 

Men repent. Men are humble enough to admit to being wrong and work to make things right. They take responsibility, and even love being corrected that they may grow in righteousness. Unfortunately, repentance has been take by a bunch of boys and watered down and destroyed so that they can feel like they are being men by having a sense of false repentance, where saying “I’m sorry” fixes everything. True repentance is characterized by 4 main things: Confession, Reparation, Change, Accountability.

Confession – “Therefore confess your sins to each other…” (James 5:16) Repentance is not getting caught! We often are quick to ‘repent’ when we are found out. All this proves is that we aren’t really sorry for our sin. If we were truly repentant and hated the wrong we were doing we wouldn’t need to get caught, we would confess. We would man up and own up. Don’t be fooled into thinking that you are sorry when you continue in your sin and hide it. In John 1 we are told that the light comes into the darkness and exposes it. It takes a lot of humility to expose oneself and that is what a man does. Pride waits to be caught then tries to patch it up with a quick plea of shame and saying sorry, Men confess and expose the wrong.

Reparation – Just because we as Christians are people who are supposed to be filled with grace and forgiveness, doesn’t mean we also shouldn’t make things right.  If it is within your power to make things right between you and the offended party, it’s your duty as a Man to do so. This is just another level of added humility. It takes humility to confess and be exposed and it takes even more to say, “how can I fix this?”. In some situations this is obviously impossible, but where it is within your power, you fix it, even if it is a simple flower for the wife.

These last two, these are where you find out whether you are really a Man or not.

Change - We are told by John in his first letter that we are to hate what is of the world – or sin. (1 John 2:15-16) And once we confess our sin, our job is not to do it again and continue sinning, or offending, or abusing. We should hate wrong doing and TRUE repentance is change. It is NOT enough to say I’m sorry and expectant that you can use that as a get out of jail free card.  Repentance can be visualized by a complete turning away from. Imagine yourself hugging your sin, a deep embrace, repentance is marked by a letting go of and turning and embracing Jesus. It’s a 180 degree switch. NOTHING LESS! 179 degrees isn’t enough.

Accountability  - Because you as a Man hate sin and don’t want to continue it, you get accountable. This shows that you want again to be exposed, corrected and matured. To try to be repentant by fighting the fight all on your own is either pride thinking that you can do, which you can’t, you need Jesus and community, or you don’t want to be held accountable because you want to continue in your sin. Accountability says I don’t want to continue, I want to change, and I admit my weakness. Simply, humility.

Men are not like their forefather Adam, a blame-shifter.  Men are repentant. Boys are pride filled, arrogant and shallow. They won’t take responsibility, they won’t change, they won’t pursue what is right and just.

Men grow in humility, grow in repentance.