Men Must Pursue
When I was a young, immature, and foolish new Christian, I remember arguing with a female friend about who was to blame for the first sin in the Garden of Eden. To me, it was obvious that since Eve took the first bite of the forbidden fruit, that we should blame her.
It wasn’t until years later (when I was older, slightly more mature, and somewhat less foolish) that someone pointed out Adam’s role in Eve’s transgression. He was right there with her (Genesis 3:6).
That’s right. The man to whom God gave clear direction (2:17), he sat on the sidelines while a talking(!) snake engaged his wife. He was idle and passive.
From Adam to Me
We men follow Adam’s example. The core sin of men and boys is passivity. When we see a need or chaos, we naturally and selfishly avoid taking on responsibility.
Even bullying and abuse are forms of passivity. It is easier to use my physical prowess or strong words to control someone, than it is for me to lovingly try to understand their thoughts and feelings.
The second law of thermodynamics explains that everything in a system moves towards disorder, unless more energy is applied to the system. We see this in our own bodies as we age and die. And we see this in our homes if you live with an average toddler or teenager.
How many times do I see chaos in my job or in my home, and I want to pretend I didn’t see it? Too many to count.
Instead of being passive, we men must pursue. We are given the responsibility to rule over and cultivate the world (1:28). To cultivate requires our energy.
I can come up with a list of reasons why I should remain a passive bystander: I’m too busy, it’s not my responsibility, I will rob someone else of a chance to be a leader, I did it last time, etc.
Following Adam’s lead, we labor tirelessly, and often fruitlessly, as a part of God’s judgment (3:17-19). It’s enough to make us want to sit back or stick our heads in the sand. Again, that desire to surrender just shows our passivity.
How I’m Learning to Pursue
As a husband, father, and worker, there are many ways that I can reject passivity and pursue others.
In my marriage:
- Schedule regular date nights.
- Get away with my wife (and only my wife!) for a weekend, at least once a year.
- Put down my smartphone in the evenings, and engage her in conversation.
- Pray for her, and with her.
With my children:
- Take each of them out monthly, for one-on-one time.
- Have family game nights.
- Put down my smartphone in the evenings, and play with them.
- Pray for them, and with them.
- Teach them the Bible.
- Teach them life skills.
- Discipline them in truth and love.
- Be their biggest cheerleader.
As a worker (either professionally or in my community):
- Be a part of community events. Sign up to volunteer.
- Coach my kids’ sports teams. More coaches are always needed!
- Put down my smartphone and go talk with people. (Do you see a pattern here?)
- Take the first step to welcome new people, and make consistent efforts to get to know them.
- Go to community meetings (neighborhood association, town council, school board, etc).
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mean to imply that I do all these things well or consistently. I am a work in progress.
Now I'm trying to teach my sons the same truth, and how we all can be empowered and motivated to reject passivity.