It was just one of those days…actually the whole month hadn’t been a winner. At the time, I was dealing with a serious physical issue and taking very high powered medicine which left me exhausted and irritable. I had a pile of work a mile high, and people pulling at me from every direction. I was not exactly a bowl of joy to be around. I definitely was not myself. Then it happened.
I received an email from a woman I knew from church. The message was written to point out I made a mistake with something I had posted on the churches website, and asking me not to directly post anymore because it was her responsibility. It was a minor correction from a well-meaning fellow believer. However, to me, it was the match that lit my very short fuse.
I quickly typed out a reply that basically said “Who are you to correct me? I was just trying to help and I had been asked to do it.” It read REALLY harsh, and deep inside I knew I needed to click the x and close the email. But instead I hit send.
Later I received another email apologizing but also restating that the churches policy was she was the only one who posted. I was really hot now. Once again, I rattled of a quick email even less Christlike than the first, and I ended it with these words…”I am done with this discussion, don’t ever contact me again about anything!” I once again foolishly hit send, and as soon as I did, I felt instant and overwhelming conviction.
God spoke to me and said, “Wow, do you feel like a big man now, talking to an older saint like that and being completely disrespectable to a lady!” Through the haze I was living in on this crazy medication, I instantly felt clarity on the situation and I knew what I had to do. I had some gravel to eat as I humbled myself and made things right.
I sent her another message and apologized profusely for my unChristlike reply and treatment towards her. I explained the physical issues I was having, but also made sure to not use them as an excuse. I ended by saying “it was inappropriate for a pastor and a man of God and I apologize, no man should ever treat anyone the way I treated you in my email, and I ask your forgiveness.”
I realized something that our friend John already new and wrote about in His 1st Epistle…a man of God is not really a man of God if he isn’t showing love to others.
Love needs to be the defining characteristic of a godly man. Let’s read what John has to say on this topic in 1 John 3.
11 For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. 12 Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous. 13 Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death. 15 Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.
I love John because he doesn’t do a soft toe around anything! Basically, this passage says that love is the defining characteristics of a man of God, and if a man of God doesn’t show love to others, he is no better than a murdered! How’s that for straight shooting!! Sound too harsh?
Well, think about it. What was the difference between what I foolishly did to the women in the earlier story emotionally and spiritually than if I had walked up to her and slapped her across the face or stabbed her right in the back? I was assaulting her soul. My lack of love at the time was a direct assault on her spiritually.
John is right in what he says. That is why we need to be men who love, and it is why John puts such heavy emphasis on being a loving man. Let’s look at what He says in John 4.
7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. John says here we can’t claim to be a follower of God if we don’t love each other.
This is a serious topic. It is why God was so hard on me to correct me when I wasn’t being a loving man. It is why John is so blunt and tough about the need to love others. God has a world full of people who are only looking out for themselves. The universe is full of self-seeking, self-interested people who will do whatever they need to do and act however they need to act to promote themselves and their interests. He wants more and expects more from His people. We need to step up our game and become the men He wants us to be.
So how do we do it? How do we act as loving men? We do it by following God’s example. Let’s keep reading John 4 to see what I mean.
9 This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
1. God sacrificed His Most Important Thing In Life For Us—His Son
God loved mankind so much that He took the most important thing in His life, His only Son, and sent Him to die for our sins. If we are to be loving men, we need to we willing to put the needs of others before our own desires. We need to be men who will sacrifice for others. This is a sign of being a loving man, putting others needs before our own.
2. God made sure He took care of us
13 This is how we know that we live in Him and He in us: He has given us of His Spirit.
God knew that we couldn’t make it on the narrow road by ourselves, so He gave us His Holy Spirit. He loved us so much that He provided what we needed to make it. If we are going to be men who are loving men, it means we have to do all we can to give those around us the help and support they need. We can’t just say we love them, we have to put it into action.
As we wrap up this month’s look at real meat for real men, let’s summarize what John has for us this month:
1. Real men are loving men.
2. If we aren’t loving men, we aren’t Godly men.
3. We love others when we put their needs first.
John has good word for us this month. I wish I had read them before I exploded all over the poor woman through the email. Hopefully this article will help you avoid the same mistake. Guys, we need to put on love all day everyday. That is the life of a real man, let’s commit to making it a part of our daily lives starting today!!