This site is serious about serving the local church by producing content that can be used to help ministry leaders live, love, learn, and last in ministry. For the most part, we want to share stories, examples, and encouragement to ministry leaders, but occasionally we want to point out an area of the church that is, in general, underserved. This post will highlight healing the wounds of men who come into our churches.
Men Can Also Be Wounded
Over the years, I have been involved in ministries that thought men could be healed by telling them to “toughen up”, grit their teeth, and by all around exhorting them to “be a man!” Although that philosophy seemed to work in the short-term and motivated many young men to get married, get a job, and figure out their lives, it never truly dealt with their wounds. Sadly, I have seen many men walk away from the church because, in their eyes, Jesus demanded of them that which they could never do.
Men can carry wounds just as deeply as their sisters in Christ: emotional pain from broken parental relationships and abuse, mental and physical wounds from the experience of living in a broken world, spiritual wounds from being mistreated and broken by people in authority over them, to name a few. Sadly, it seems in many churches, men are not afforded the same empathy, kindness, and support that women receive under similar circumstances.
Many years ago, I went through a group counselling experience with separate men’s and women’s groups. In sharing my story to the men’s group I was participating in, I related an experience of abuse I had suffered that I wanted to get help with. Instead of help, I was grilled for hiding sin and told to repent. In contrast, many of the women who went through the same curriculum were met in their brokenness caused by trauma with kindness, compassion, empathy, and the healing balm of the Gospel of Jesus Christ who knows our sufferings, weeps with us, and heals us from them.
Confronting All Sin with the Gospel
I am not advocating that women and men be spoken to in the same way in all circumstances, but if we only know how to deal with men based on their own sin and not the sin that wounded them, the Jesus these men will see is not the whole Christ and definitely not the Christ of Scripture who, regardless of gender, can heal the wounds, shame, guilt, and fear for all who call upon his name (1 Peter 2:24).
Ministry leader, do you have categories in your conversations, counselling, and care for men who have been wounded and need their wounds cared for with the balm of the Gospel in your church? If not, might I suggest you begin to develop ways not only for men to be encouraged to “act like men” (1 Cor 16:13), but also to heal from the wounds the sin of others has inflicted upon them.
Christ is able to heal the deepest wounds and we do a terrible disservice to him and his people when we stand in the way.