Frederica Matthews-Green talked about men and courage in an essay that aired on National Public Radio. “It’s part of the guy’s job description,” she said. “Whenever there’s danger, any man is expected to protect any women at any cost. This is true no matter who she is; it’s not an honor awarded only to his wife or daughter.
We hear plenty of persistent, and sometimes justified, complaining that women get a raw deal in life, that men get all the breaks. But we forget one thing guys do for us, without thinking, over and over again. It’s something we expect from them; we may even take it for granted. We expect them to risk their lives.”
Today men may still act instinctively to protect a woman from harm. What is lacking, however, is the moral courage needed to lead and protect a wife from those things that would lead her into temptation—“the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life” (1 John 2:16). Too often we lack that kind of courage and leadership because we are vulnerable to the same temptations. Taking a courageous stand in the face of moral temptation requires that we first be willing to deal with our own sinful tendencies in those areas.
Often our desire to please our wife or to keep the peace in our relationship will cause us to compromise. While we are never to be inconsiderate of our wife’s feelings or her desires, we are to courageously follow God. There will be times when she will not like our courage or our convictions. She may choose to withhold affection or to lash out in anger. The courageous man will stand firm.
When the Word of God calls us to courage, it anticipates the likelihood that we will abuse that call. So Paul writes, “Let all that you do be done in love” (1 Corinthians 16:14) to remind us that our courage must always be lived out in the power of the Holy Spirit. Courage without love is nothing more than bullying. Leadership without compassion is tyranny. Many of the abuses of masculinity that we have seen throughout the years has come from men who have attempted to “act like men” without doing all that they do in love.