By Cally Logan, Crosswalk.com
We have sat with somber, heavy hearts after hearing the words of all Johnny Depp endured through his marriage to Amber Heard. The trial between him and Heard has been televised, which in many ways feels like a breach of privacy, but in other ways, has provided the wakeup call the world needs for those men who experience abuse as well. As followers of Christ, our next question ought to be, how can we as the Body of Christ as the Church be more supportive of men who are facing or have faced abuse, and how can we overall support men emotionally?
It is often the narrative that in order for a man to be considered masculine and strong, he must swallow or push down his emotions, but that is not healthy or how God designed any human being to function. We can take a glimpse into the great men of the Bible, such as David, and see his depths and heights of emotions in Psalms. We look at King David not just as a fierce warrior who defeated armies through God but also as a man who in every way felt what he was experiencing. If anything, he was made more of a man because he allowed himself to feel emotions, and he connected with God through what he was feeling rather than stuffing it away deep within. Psalm 13:2 is a prime example of David sincerely allowing himself to lament, to experience in a safe place with the Lord, “How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?” Or we can consider how Jesus Himself experienced floods of emotion through weeping when Lazarus died. Where this falls on the Church is then fostering and cultivating an environment where men feel safe to express themselves without judgment. When men are in a place where they do not fear rejection or judgment, they will then find the allowance and security to share, connect, and express what they need to. Whether this is done corporately through Small Groups or Events in the Church or one-on-one, it is vital that we seek to offer such an outlet for men.
Topics for Discussion
The pulpit is another place where the conversation and door can be opened to provide what many men need but do not know how to find. This could come from a sermon series or perhaps a centered focus for men. It is very common to see these topics arise for women, but it is a rare occurrence for men. We can change that, and we truly have the duty to make that shift for men. Coming before the Lord and asking Him for guidance in implementing this, but also taking what He gives us and taking affirmative action is crucial. We ought to step out and offer such things rather than sweep them under the rug and pretend they don’t exist. Consider how many lives and how many generations could be impacted by exploring topics for men in this way of discussion and thought.
One of the most intricate parts of a boy’s development comes from having a strong and healthy male figure in their lives, but the need for this does not end at eighteen, when he is legally considered an adult. This is where mentors and mentees come into play. Those who are older and have experienced more life have the wisdom to carry and the opportunity to share their insights with those younger than them. As the Church Body, we often find ourselves in places of fellowship and networks, and then we can help connect men of any age to someone that would be a good mentor. The hope is that the mentor would help walk alongside the young man, provide Godly counsel and advice to him, and be a safe place when necessary. This is where legacy and generational blessing can come as well through the lineage of the Kingdom, where it is not dependent on DNA blood relation, but the relation through the Blood of Christ that we are connected and made a family.
Lastly, providing resources for men is a great gift. Many men desire help, encouragement, or guidance but have no clue where to find it. This can often come through in-person connections like a mentor, a small group, or even a hobby group with authentic and connecting talk. It can also come through a plethora of sources such as books, podcasts, or videos. John Eldredge, the author of Wild at Heart, has cultivated a ministry primarily focused on men of all ages in their growth, pursuit, and calling in God. His books, in many ways, are like a wilderness handbook, and his weekly topical podcasts pursue head-on tackling of issues many are desperately needing to unpack and come into knowledge about. Knowing not just how to procure these necessities but that they are of value and dependability is a great gift that can be given to men truly needing an outlet.
Resources can also look like providing what men might need in desperate situations of abuse in relationships. Whether they are married or dating, men can be victims of verbal and physical abuse at the hands of women, but they need to know there is help and hope on the other side. Provision for resources in this way may look like offering a place to stay or helping in a plan of action to break off toxic and volatile relationships. It can also look like accountability to help them not get back into the cycle of abuse but break away into freedom truly. Cutting off the head of the snake once and for all and moving out of something truly pernicious and into the freedom that is in Christ and all that He has waiting in hope and joy is the season to come.
This is a starting ground for deeper work and discussion of what the Church needs to provide for men. It is not something we should let go of when the Depp and Heard trial is over, but something we ought to adopt as a key and intricate part of ministry for the men in the Church. Helping them feel supported, loved, seen, and safe to express emotions, hurts, and places where they genuinely need the Light of Christ to shine in their lives. As the Body of Christ, we have this opportunity, and it would be a devastating travesty if we were to miss it, so let’s take the affirmative action not to miss the boat here. Invite the Lord into how and where He might use you to support the men around you or how you can work in your local Church to make this difference. You might just be amazed at all that God does through the hands of His children working together and how that may impact generations to come.
Cally Logan is an author and US History teacher from Richmond, Virginia. In her free time, she enjoys mentoring youth and spending time in nature. Her book, Hang on in There, Girl! Will be available everywhere on April 1, 2022. Check her out on Instagram and Twitter, @CallyLogan and TikTok Cally_Logan.