And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, the prince of the land, saw her, he seized her and lay with her and humiliated her. Genesis 34:2
I used to enjoy politics, embracing the us versus them conflict. Particularly as my own life descended into my addiction, it was comforting to focus on the flaws of others instead of my own. Now, in recovery, I’ve simply become more concerned with putting my own life back together. The problem with politics, is that once I pick a side, I end up defending a viewpoint simply because my side says I should. I also end up rejecting certain viewpoints because the other side espouses them. For instance, if a woke liberal talks about toxic masculinity, my conservative Christian upbringing impulsively rejects the idea. Masculinity isn’t bad. That sounds like gender-neutral crap. Boys will be boys. The problem of course, is that boys, as a group, are susceptible to some inherent flaws. Rejecting the idea that men are flawed in specific ways only perpetuates those flaws.
To be clear, I’m specifically referring to men’s attitudes and impulsivity towards sex. Today’s passage illustrates my point. In the story, Jacob’s daughter, Dinah, was raped by Shechem, the son of the local prince. Shechem saw Dinah and was filled with lust so he seized her and sexually assaulted her. He apparently didn’t find this offensive, as he subsequently asked for Dinah’s hand in marriage. Dinah’s brothers recognized the offense though and responded violently. First, they pretended to be on board with the marriage under one condition – all of Shechem’s men must get circumcised. When Shechem agreed and all his men were circumcised, Dinah’s brothers took advantage of their weakened state, murdering them all.
All this madness occurred over what? Shechem’s lust. Shechem saw Dinah and wanted her. He didn’t think about her feelings or consequences. He simply obeyed his impulsive appetite. I can’t speak for women, but I can say that I don’t often read about women acting like this. Similarly, I don’t know a lot of women who’ve destroyed their marriages with pornography. Men, it seems, are terribly flawed when it comes to our sexual impulses. I’m not saying women are perfect. I’m saying men are flawed differently. Sex isn’t inherently bad. It’s a gift from God. But when men impulsively follow their sexual appetites, they do terrible things. That is toxic and saying boys will be boys, doesn’t make it OK.
Not everything masculine is toxic. Men do have some noble traits. We are however, flawed in ways that are unique to our gender. Pretending those flaws don’t exist doesn’t help anyone. If we desire to become the men God created us to be, we must daily recognize our flaws, abandon them, and seek God’s will for our lives.