Apologeet.nlReal Masculinity – Virtue
Masculinity or manliness, is a topic I wanted to address for a long time already. I have already did a video about the idea of ‘What is a man.’ Actually, I have been thinking about what it means to be a man ever since I became a Christian somewhere in 1994.
When I was a child I loved to play soldier. Running around with my wooden rifle and shouting loudly when I was shooting the enemy. Also, I loved my sport BMX. I was pretty good at it, even though I landed up in hospital several times. But you know what? In both examples were girls involved. Some neighbourhood girl joined in our wargame, sometimes being more fanatic than I was. And I can assure you, girls can be really good at BMX as well.
So, if wild behaviour doesn’t necessarily mean you are a man or not, what does?
Let me start with a very interesting thing I heard during the sermon given by my friend and pastor. He talked about living your life for Christ. He said that when we are saved by the Lord Jesus we should long to become more and more like Him. He, among others, used
2 Peter 1:5-7
And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
I think we have heard this text before, right? But then, just as a side note, he mentioned the meaning of the word ‘virtue.’ Virtue, or in the Greek: Arétē ( ἀρέτη ), has several overlapping meanings:
- A virtuous course of thought, feeling and action;
- Virtue, moral goodness;
- Any particular moral excellence, as modesty, purity.
However, and now it comes, the definition goes beyond that, and explains the word as ‘manliness (valour)’. The word Arétē comes from the same as árrhē ( ἄῤῥην ), which has the meaning of ‘man’ or ‘male.’
Now, I do not want to be dogmatic about this, but it seems to me that a real man of God should aim towards a virtuous lifestyle. A life of valour in which he shows the qualities of a hero, which is the meaning of the word ‘valour.’ A man of God should aim to be exceptional and to show heroic courage when facing danger.
Strong Bad Boy
Sadly enough, virtue is not often connected with manliness. Most of the criticism about masculinity is based on a wrong image of that what people think is manly. A lot of people look at man and think that a real man should a ‘bad boy’. A real man is someone who speaks like the terminator, they say. But, in this discussion people actually seem to be oblivious of the fact that the word ‘virtue’ comes from the Latin word vir, which means man. It were people like Aristotle, who encouraged men to train themselves in virtue in order to reach their full potential.
So, now I can hear all the feminists already yelling at me: “A female can be virtuous and can show valour as well!”
Did I say they couldn’t? Of course they can! A woman of God should aim to live a life of virtue just as much as a man. Let that be clear. But, I am not talking about women today, do I?
The fact of the matter is that, throughout the ages God has mostly called men to do heroic things. And yes! We have seen brave women in history as well. The Bible is full of stories about brave women, women of virtue and valour. But, no, I am still talking about men. Virtue is manliness and real godly men should train themselves in this marvellous quality which is needed to live a life which is pleasing for God.
How Does that Look like?
How should a man of virtue and valour look like? Well, first we need to think a bit about valour. Basically, all people can show braveness. Just go on YouTube and search for brave acts. It will show random acts of bravery, but also terrified soldiers who were forced into battle. Running into a shower of bullets demonstrates a kind of bravery which goes beyond common sense. One can also show valour and still be on the wrong side of history. We see for example that in Judges 3, that the Israelites under Ehud battled with the Moabites and defeated them. In verse 29 it says: And they slew of Moab at that time about ten thousand men, all lusty, and all men of valour; and there escaped not a man.
The Catholic tradition recognizes four essential virtues that are also known as human, natural, or moral virtues. They are prudence (wisdom), justice, fortitude (courage), and temperance (self-control). Besides these essential virtues, they also recognise what they call theological virtues. Namely: Faith, Hope and love. These are called ‘theological’ because they are gifts that are given to us by God, and their goal is to lead us back to Him.i
Virtue is the habit of choosing what is good and right, despite our own inclinations. So, a real godly man will try to find out what God wants of him. Many, and yes also Christian, have no real idea about what is most important. They cannot be bothered about things like temperance, prudence, or fortitude. These words alone are already too difficult to understand, right? But how about faith, hope or charity? A manly man is not a muscular brawler. Nope, a manly man can be that skinny guy working in the office all day long. A manly man doesn’t need to have a lot of hair on his chest or face, he doesn’t need to talk like a marine. No, a manly man is someone who committed to serve God in all virtue.
A real man, guides his children in a God-fearing way. He strives to be patient, to be generous, to gain more and more wisdom, and when needed he will sacrifice his own life for others.
Do You Need to be a Wimp?
I can hear people think! Do I need to be a wimp?
Well, this is total nonsense of course. I have been a stay-at-home dad for seven years. I loved it! It was such a privilege to see my children grow and develop from close by. Still, I never felt being less manly than I do now. God used that period to help me to grow more in wisdom and self-control… I mean, you can not just walk out that door and decide that that horrible crying creature inside the house should take care of itself. Some man looked down on me for being at home with my kids. They talked like ‘real tough men.’ But, as soon as their wives pushed the baby in their hands they became very wimpy. They didn’t know how to behave towards their ‘roughneck’ friends. I think that they were not as courageous as they pretended to be.
It is okay to have a chest full of hair and arms like Thor. But being a man is not about how much kilos you can lift. Although, it can be very handy to be as strong as an ox. A virtuous man will stand his ground when it comes to goodness and purity. You can your physical body like a pro bodybuilder, but if you don’t train yourself in wisdom, justice, courage, and self-control, you are indeed not a manly man.
I try to pray for a family who also work as missionaries. They live in a closed Muslim country. I know them personally, and I have a very deep respect for them. When I look at their picture I see a shining happy man. Not at all the typical idea the world has of a man. He is small and not overly muscular. But his smile makes me happy every time I look at that picture. He is a manly man! He guides his family, and he shows virtue in the way he lives his life. He is definitely not a wimp. I dare say he is braver than I am, for going to that extreme difficult country to share the love of Christ. Is he filled with pride? No, because he openly said the same about me. He thought, he could never be as brave as I am for going to live in a very remote village! He is a man of virtue, he is a godly man!
Ask the Holy Spirit for the graces you need to be a virtuous man. Do you remember
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
The Spirit was send to help us and to teach us, why not opening up for Him? You can not hide behind the idea that it is scary, because that same Spirit will help you to be courageous.
2 Timothy 1:7
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
Much More to Say
As you might have guessed, there is so much more to say about real masculinity. I think this can only be counted as the first step.
So man up! And tell me what you think about the whole discussion around masculinity.
Follow & Support
As always, do check out the description of this video. There you’ll find a link to my Odysee channel. You can also check out my video channels on GabTV, and Bitchute, and my other social media. Also, you’ll find a link there to both the Dutch and English transcripts of this video.
In any case, thank you very much for watching my videos, your prayers, and support! You can look in the description of this video or on my website to find out how you can help me.
God bless you, thank you for watching, and Lord willing we’ll see each other in my next video!
i St. Paul Center, What is Virtue?, [internet] <https://stpaulcenter.com/what-is-virtue/>, Stacy Mitch, 2020, accessed 03-04-2023.