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Have you ever been confused by the opposite sex? Hurt by a relationship? Felt fearful of marriage?
I have too.
I find myself wanting to validate and name my pain so I can bring clarity to the confusion.
MEN ARE TO BLAME.
Peter is passive.
Alan is abusive.
Darrel is stuck in delayed adolescence.
Willy only cares about work.
Billy never asks any girls out. What is wrong with him?
Johnny has asked out every girl in the office. What is wrong with him?
Okay, I’ve named them. I’m sure you have too. And now I want us to STOP.
Maybe a man has hurt you. This is valid. I have been hurt by men. My fear is valid. But I get to decide what I will do with that fear. Will I let myself get stuck naming my fear and feeling validated by an article? Or will I combat my fear and try to make a change?
My belief is that humanity is fallen. Period.
It’s good to understand the characteristics of that fallen humanity, but if we stop at labels instead of learning to understand people who don’t make sense to us, we will never be agents of change.
So now what?
How do we act as agents of change? I have some ideas. First I want to hear yours.
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Love and Respect (Now) is a division of Love and Respect. Please be considerate.
Acting as agents of change: First, it’s realizing we’re ALL fallen (like Joy said). Then’s it’s embracing and implementing the two BASIC commandments Jesus gave us: Love the Lord your God, and love your neighbor as yourself. Wait, what’s the word repeated TWICE in this basic command? Love.
One other idea that comes to mind right away (credit to Jason & Crystalina Evert): “If you want a man to love you, live in such a way that makes him in awe of you.”
Basically, maybe we should flip the ‘blame game’ to us women, and ask ourselves, “Are we living a life that ‘demands/encourages’ men to rise up to a higher standard?”. We’re not perfect either, so we can’t expect that from them. We can expect to help each other of the opposite sex grow stronger and better in our relationship with God, which allows for His love to pour through us to others.
Lastly, prayer. Prayer is HUGE, we all know that (or at least I assume we do). Pray for men in general. Pray for specific men. Pray for women. Pray for pumpkins. Okay, not really. I just needed a small comic relief, and alliteration.
I think that what have helped me to understand men a little better is that we must care about them! I meant if you show him that you are different, that u value him as a person, and not about what he can offers to you ( materially speaking) and you demonstrate it through words and action.. They will see that u are like a “gold” hard to find nowadays.. and even though the temptation come across, if they are a good will person, they will think twice to hurt you. You hold him closer to you, when you respect him, appreciate him. My opinion is we should do our part, no expecting nothing in exchange and GOD will do the rest for us!
pointing fingers of blame is no good. Taking responsibility for our part in the game is healthy.
Elevating the standard for one group will inevitably raise the standard for all groups. (the reverse has been proven!) Proper role education is important, I think.
Yes, recognition of human imperfection is key, not as an excuse, but as a leveling of the playing field.
“Agents of Change” always organize and mobilize! So we need a “hey, I’m a lady and I love men even when they don’t deserve it” group? Dunno.
sorry for burging in ladies but i think this here discussion is a refreshing read.G is right,a woman who treats her man with honor regardless of his actions (demonstrating Christ’s love for Him in that way) is a rare gem these days.whether he likes it or not,a guy will notice that and will,as the Bible says,be won over.thanks beautiful ladies.but,am i supposed to be here in the first place? lol.
My long response–thanks for bearing with me! Nice post Joy. 🙂 Great things to think about. Some things that came first to my mind, stemming from my own story and the “wish I would have done/known/understood this sooner” experiences, are:
1)To understand yourself before assuming that you understand others. I found it so valuable and difficult to ask myself the questions I’d been avoiding or never really thought to address. Such as, what seem to be my ugly habits, habitual sin, weaknesses, deep hurts, causes of those hurts, areas that need healing, and/or my lens at which I’m seeing others through? Also, having others help me answer these tough questions was invaluable. I think a lot of people don’t even realize why they say or do what they do, including myself, and that can hugely influence thought processes and belief systems more than we realize.
2) The other would be to acknowledge just who exactly am I living for. The world/other people? Myself? God? I sincerely believe in and have faith that if I have my priorities aligned with God’s priorities, a whole lot of other parts to my life will fall into place, make more sense, and/or allow for correct and healthy changes to take place. I’m sure most Christ followers would agree on this or at the least, have heard it before. Of course this doesn’t necessarily mean I won’t be affected by the ebb and flow of life and a world of sinners, but it sure does provide everything I need to take the right steps forward.:)
Thanks for doing what you do.
Billy balks at asking women out.
Johnny is a gigolo (not j, but phonetically close enough).
I’m always going to be a fan of older men teaching younger men and older women teaching younger women. The older generation has to take the responsibility to do that and the younger generation has to seek that out for themselves.
Always ask, “What will produce my best self?” and do that. We don’t even need to work hard at discovering these truths, they’re easy to find in the Bible, i.e. older men teach younger men, older women teach younger women..
Gerard: Of course you’re supposed to be here in the first place! Women and men complement each other, and your insights are valuable! Thanks for the feedback!
MD, thanks for sharing your experiences! It’s so crucial to really explore and learn about ourselves first. My question is, how do you know when you’ve come far enough along in that process (b/c it’ll perpetually continue) to open yourself to someone else and bring them into your life (aka: potential spouse). Also, can you go through the ‘understanding yourself’ process self-guided or who do you turn to for guidance?
Melissa, thanks to you as well for being so considerate and asking me those questions.
In response, I don’t really know if there is a specific step that’s taken to determine that, considering the process is so unique and personal. I do trust that God always leads us well and being prayerful and soft to His guidance in making that step–opening yourself up to someone and allowing them into your life and heart—would include His perfect provision. That is truly the only way I feel I could have met my husband the way I did.
And as for your second question, I think one could easily go through that process alone and self guided, but I don’t think it would be nearly as beneficial, humbling, refining, and deeply satisfying. It was other people who truly showed me some things I needed to see in myself, some very beautiful things and some very ugly things, and also some incredible things of God. I turned and do turn to Him for guidance, some hand picked loved ones, and my counselor. Hope this helps clarify some of my ramblings a bit. 🙂
For me “where the rubber meets the road” when it comes to being an agent of change comes from 2 main chapters in the New Testament! 1 Corinthians 13 and Romans 12. If I copied and pasted it here it would be too wordy. But the seekers and agents of change will search it out. The wise will not only be hearers of it but be doers of it! Appreciate the good godly actions listed already on your blog discussion here. Thanks Joy for being brave and opening this can of sticky worms! Keep up the good work!
I agree with MD, too, on the knowing yourself point. I’ve always been a reflective, intuitive person and thought I knew myself well, but a recent relationship brought out a lot of fear and distrust in me and has made me face some demons. When I look back at past relationships and the way I labeled guys to make myself feel better about things not working out (whether there was truth in the labels or not), I have to come to grips with the common denominator in those relationships: ME!
Being an agent of change means facing the darkness in my own life and refusing to let fear get a foothold. He has not given us a spirit of fear but of love, power and of a sound mind. When you ask God to show you who you really are and He does, it’s amazing how much grace you can have for others. Because there is one enemy who is out to kill, steal, and destroy all of us. And what better target than the central human relationship God created between man and woman? Recognizing that we’re all in the battle together makes me want to extend kindness and encouragement and take the time to get to know men for who they are instead of labeling them.
I’ve been working very hard on not labeling men and then dismissing them based on those labels. I think being married has helped free me from that a bit, because I’m safe in my relationship, so I don’t have to directly deal with the fears that I used to have in relating with men. I don’t know what I’d do if i was still single. But i’ve said in other comments I’ve left, I do struggle to respect men at times, and its one of the things I’ve identified to work on this year. So what i’ve been trying to do is to see how my influence can affect other young women. Maybe I’m exagerating the impact I might have, but I am trying to encourage respect towards men, whereas in the past, I would have said “Men are just idiots,etc”. So now i’m hoping that I can stay positive in my attitude towards men, in the hope that it might be an example to other women.
MD & Darcie:
Thank you so much for you advice and insights! It sounds incredible to really let yourself open up to self (slightly confusing, but hopefully you know what I mean) and see the good, bad, and in between. God is SO amazing, and I believe He will continue to help me grow deeper in learning about myself thus allowing me to begin reflecting that love and learning outward to others.
Cheers & Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!
Wendy – High 5’s. Brilliant. Maybe some chest bumps? Naaahh…Maybe not.
Melissa – Love your challenge to prayer. Often we try to make the change happen on our own don’t we. And yes, Pumpkins sometimes need prayer.
Heather – Well said!
G – Love how you are processing this — you are a strong woman!
Aaron – Thanks (-:
pkphinfan – I think I mention starting a “movement of women” in the next post. (-: Right on! We also must remember in taking responsibility for ourselves, to not move into self shame. Some personality types tend to do that. That can be just as unproductive sadly enough.
MD – So well said, so insightful and great advice. Thank you for speaking such truth. Love that you brought up counseling. I think I mention that in Friday’s post. This can be such a catalyst to us looking in the mirror the “lens” with which we see ourselves and others.
Gerard – Men are always welcome to Love and Respect NOW. These posts just happen to be written to women, but trust me…I address guys too. Please join the discussion more often.
Aaron – “I’m always going to be a fan of older men teaching younger men and older women teaching younger women. The older generation has to take the responsibility to do that and the younger generation has to seek that out for themselves.” You are right on!
Michelle – It seems that today in our world of technology and voicing our every thought and opinion, kindness can be abandoned. Glad you brought it up.
Lisa – Thank you for the Biblical application. Well said!
Darcie – 2 Timothy 1:7. One of my favorite verses. I believe Fear and Belief are two key issues that make this topic challenging. Great insight.
Mary – NEVER exaggerate the impact you might have. You will never know until heaven. YOU my friend are taking the action that we are talking about. Will any of us be perfect? No. But you are doing it. To quote one of my favorite movies, “Hook”…
“You’re doing it Peter!!”
(really hope you’ve seen that movie…)
I didn’t read all these previous posts but wanted to interject anyways… for whatever it’s worth.
Blaming is always the cop out. I know that my attitudes towards men is rooted in all the “passivity” I see in them. It just seems like such a contradiction when I read what it’s “supposed to look like” in the Bible and yet see all this dysfunction in the world. Every time I “look for” this “marriage model” out there in the world I am forever dissapointed. What a treasure and joy it will be if God sees fit to bless me with a truly Biblical relationship with a special man. A lot needs to be said about how we view God. As most of you I guess know… our relationships with DAD go a long ways in how we “relate” to God. Since my DAD was a decent guy but very passive I also sometimes have a hard time seeing God as being “active” or “for me.” I never experienced that. He is slowly getting through to me on this though. Drawing me in more and more to His presence where He can “reverse” all those false and negative ideas. Going to go now and “wash myself in the Word.” I guess God’s presence is the best alternative I have to the “real thing.” Goodnite All!!