Just Gut it Out! Real Men Don't Need Counseling !
And They Don’t Need any of That Wimpy Christian Stuff Either!
By: Brian M Murray, MS, IMH
So real men do not need counseling eh? Neither are they supposed to cry when they get hurt, right? Oh, and now they are going to have to carve out their masculinity and put it on a shelf in order to seek Jesus right?
I find it amazing that hero and savior Jesus Christ, the King of the universe is seen weeping in the Bible. John 11:35 reads “Jesus wept.” It’s the famously shortest verse in the Bible. Jesus is seen weeping over the loss of his friend Lazarus. This is incredible; the man that came to save the world is seen by others weeping over a friend. Wait, what is going on here? The Messiah, the Anointed One is crying? The One who was sent to redeem all of mankind is crying? Um, dial this one in, Houston, we have a problem. The One who is supposed to be the exemplar of strength is having an emotional meltdown?
Okay, maybe this is a little overly dramatic but it shows us men something about ourselves. Jesus had compassion over losing someone near and dear to him. Jesus felt as a man what we men have, feelings. Guess what? It is okay to have them. So here we have it, Jesus, as a man who is strong enough to withstand a Roman soldier beating until bloody all over, picks up half a tree, carries it to the top of a hill and then he gets nailed to it to hang for all to see. Get the picture? I would be willing to bet that most men wouldn’t even survive each piece of this event separately.
I am trying to make a point that a man of such great strength to endure such masochism finds it perfectly acceptable to express his feelings in front of others. Jesus while fully man walking the earth expressed a full range of emotions and he did not shield himself from showing them. Anger in the temple, grief, joy, happiness, love, sadness, sympathy, gladness and the list goes on. How many times have you heard the expression “Don’t cry in front of others, it’s a sign of weakness?” Here is an alternative thought, compassion and empathy for others. Christ sets the example of a man who is not distant and cold and he is confident enough to cry in front of others.
Stuffing feelings and trying to gut out our problems leads to a whole host of other problems. Counseling is often a place people go when they want to be able to talk to someone where they can let it all out. If you are trying to play tough guy and hold it all in then guess what? It will come out. Where internal feelings decide to manifest themselves outward is the question. What do you do when you feel anxious, sad or joyful? How do you express these feelings? What do you do with them? How long before the ulcers show up? How long before depression settles in from feeling defeated? How long before alcohol and drugs numb out these feelings? How long before bitterness and sarcasm become a common style of dialogue costing you a job and losing a wife because the anger inside is eating you from the inside out? How long? Talk to someone. Quit trying to play tough guy and get some help. Stop living a lie. No one is going to judge you, call you names or think you are less of a man for improving yourself and putting first things first.
“The best way out is always through.” – Robert Frost
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