Are We Not Men?

We live in an age in which men do not know that they really are men. It is a time of “uninitiated men,” as John Eldredge puts it.

And the question haunts us all. Regardless of our station in life; our age; or our seeming level of maturity. The honest man asks: “Am i, really, a man? And how can i know that i am?”

It is against the backdrop of this question that pornography is first introduced into many of our lives. i was in third grade when i saw my first magazine — and i still remember that night. i really liked it.

And athough as a third-grade boy i wasn’t asking the question about being a real man yet, there had already been groundwork laid in my life which was the precursor to a crisis of masculinity.

My parents divorce and the crucial absence of any knowledge that i had “what it takes” were a powerful force creating a vacuum in my soul.

When a boy does not hear from his parents, especially his father, that he has a good and strong heart; that he can do it — whatever “it” is — then he searches for affirmation and a sense of confidence and strength.

And before long, in a boy’s development, there is exposure to The Woman. With the core question unanswered, i clung to The Woman — in the form of lust and pornography (even as a third-grade boy) — for my answer.

Those pictures stirred me and made me feel powerful and confident. They made me feel like i was alive.

i was, for most of my life, an uninitiated man. As a result i was like the simple man described in Proverbs 9.

13 The woman Folly is loud; she is undisciplined and without knowledge.14 She sits at the door of her house, on a seat at the highest point of the city,15 calling out to those who pass by, who go straight on their way.16 “Let all who are simple come in here!”she says to those who lack judgment.17 “Stolen water is sweet; food eaten in secret is delicious!”18 But little do they know that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of the grave. [a]

i was an easy mark; lacking judgment and drinking stolen water every chance i got. As men, we need to take the journey of being initiated by God Himself into authentic masculinity if we are ever to know that we are, truly, men.

Otherwise, we will run from one pornographic image to another in an endless quest for something we will never find there: an answer to our question of masculinity.

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