I like Jesus. He is working to make me look and act like Him. As I am 51 and getting “wussier” though, I wonder if Jesus must be a wuss.
I think my dad was really afraid I would be a sissy. He said so several times. Once, I had my arms crossed funny, and he said, “Sissy boys sit like that.” I thought, but did not say, sissy boys are more comfortable then.
To not be a sissy you had to believe the following:
- Violence should be met with greater violence. The standard wisdom was if you punched a boy who was picking on you he would never hurt you again. That is only true in movies.
- Do not cry when you get hurt. This is an interesting theory, and widely accepted. However, in the entire history of the world, the admonition to “stop crying” has yet to be helpful, or even possible. My step-dad would try and be helpful by offering, “to give me something to cry about.” In later life, I discovered alcohol helped me stop crying. That did not work out so well.
Lately I have heard a lot of claims by loud preachers that if Jesus were here today He would be the epitome of manhood. I agree, except I think I view manhood differently than they do. I am tired of the über-masculine imagery of Jesus. I believe Jesus was fully human, and fully man. Yes, Jesus made a whip and chased out the moneychangers. That’s one occasion. There is no record of Him actually hurting someone and his temple cleansing was directed at a specific group who used religion to profit from gifts meant for the poor.
It’s hard for me to see the connection between the Jesus of the gospels and the Jesus portrayed by influential preachers of today—the muscular, kick-ass, rock-hard abs stud. Is he really someone who would “whip us into shape”?
- I have never heard a female Christian leader say Jesus is portrayed as “too effeminate.”
- I doubt you will hear a person with a back- story of being physically abused, especially by a father, express the need for a “tougher Jesus.”
I think Jesus is making me softer. In the words of my dad I’m becoming more of a “sissy.” I am trying to take seriously Jesus’ command to love my enemies. I want to be like Jesus. I want imitate a man who like Jesus could experience a slap in the face and not feel the need to return the insult. My dad, and several prominent preachers, would advise me differently.
I think Jesus is making me more feeling. Jesus wept, expressed sorrow, and showed joy at healing. In spite of my father’s warnings, I tend to cry now. The truth is, I went for many years in my adolescence without shedding any tears. The unspoken goal of my life became numbness, which caused me a host of problems. As I have softened, I think I have less people admire me, but more people who want to be my friend.
Jesus does not need more manly men; He needs fully human males and females who are living out who they have been made to be.
For some of us, that process will make us look more like sissies.