(Note: This is Part 7 of our series on biblical masculinity, adapted from Men’s Leadership Training)
Men are made to be protectors—to guard and keep what has been entrusted to them. But our instinct to protect can be used in extreme ways that are not good.
Some men abuse their role as protector. Rather than protect for the greater good, a man may see his protecting instinct as an end in and of itself. He becomes a warrior without a war, ready to fight over anything and everything. For no good reason, he makes enemies out of people, and becomes the man whom others must be protected from, ironically.
This abuse isn’t always obvious—it’s not like this guy goes around punching people in the face. More often, this abuse surfaces in an argumentative, overly-competitive spirit, i.e., the guy who is always right, or the guy who thinks everything is a test of his competency. He lives to protect, but to protect himself.
Other men abandon their role as protector. Rather than stand up for others, a man may back down from real threats, and become the person who needs to be protected (again, ironically). This guy outsources protection, even pretending to be a victim at times so that others will stand up for him.
You may or may not find this guy crying in a corner. More than likely, men who abandon their responsibility to protect will be whiny complainers. They will blame the conflict in their lives on other people, and will tend to feel like they have been denied what they deserve. They will be bitter and resentful toward those they perceive to be better than them. Since they don’t want to accept responsibility, they will live as if they have been robbed the chance to be who they know they should be.
In both cases, these men are misunderstanding and misusing their God-given capacity to defend the people and things around them. Good protectors will not use their fear to hurt others or manipulate others, but will push through their fear because they want to help others.