A Word to the Men

As I reflected on several conversations I’ve had in the past with men, these insights came to me so I thought I’d put “pen to paper” on the subject.

I was recently told by a male friend that I am viewed by other men as intimidating, though sometimes I wonder why. Why is that? Is it because of the way I am willing to counter something I disagree with, whether it’s with a male or a female? I am really curious to know….

Anyway, I am digressing from my original thought. One thing I’ve discovered in speaking with men (work-related or otherwise) is that apparently women are discounted by many of them. They may never say that out loud, but I sense many times that opinions on certain issues or convictions about certain moral concerns that a woman may express may be viewed as being immature, lacking in substance or highly emotional. The way I’ve seen many of them handle women (that cause me to believe women’s opinions are discounted by them) is to try to talk her out of her beliefs or opinions, to ignore her suggestions or ideas or by ridiculing her outright (and I’ve experienced all three).

Men, I’d like you to understand this: God created woman from the rib of man, fashioning her in His image and likeness. Therefore, women are highly valued by God and receive special care from the Lord. Examples of this are demonstrated throughout the Bible, but especially within the New Testament in the Gospels’ accounts of Jesus’ ministry here on earth. Never was a woman rebuked or discounted by Him – and He is THE MAN! If ever any man should have rebuked or ridiculed women, Jesus was the best candidate for the job because He had all knowledge and all wisdom. Yet, it would have gone against His nature, as He was also all-loving and super-compassionate. Hopefully the men reading this are taking notes on Jesus’ strategy and style….

Men, whether you are interacting with your wives, girlfriends, daughters, grand-daughters, co-workers and subordinates, remember this: women have a wealth of wisdom and intuition about people and situations that was not given to most men. Men are very logical and factual, so many times the nuances of a situation may not be readily apparent to them. But with a woman in the picture, the vision, the discussion or the issue has some added ‘flavor’ that a roomful of men can never replicate.

I’ve also discovered that although society has expanded and advanced in areas of technology, knowledge, science and women’s rights we are still way behind in human relationships. Women are now as educated (or more educated) than many men, and apparently this is what intimidates many men. And that male ego again – “I don’t want anybody to make me look like a fool.” But how many men have discounted great ideas or suggestions from women, only to discover later that “She was right!!! How was that possible?”

In my working years I have always reported to men until recently. My current supervisor is actually younger than me, but she’s great. It’s easier to relate to another woman, and I find it very uncomplicated to report to her, as she values me as a fellow woman. I may not be at her level of understanding of the subjects she has mastered, but that is mainly because I was not exposed to the types of professional experiences she has had. I find that as I master a new skill she is very supportive, and if I give a great suggestion she doesn’t overpower it with her own just because she’s “THE BOSS”.

I also think men see it as a weakness to admit that a woman has made a valid point on a subject or that her opinions should be respected and even implemented! I know men hate to be disrespected, but so do women! Women desire love, attention and affection, but respect should also be high on that list. (Of course if we’re discussing a professional situation, respect should be the only item from this list that should be considered.)

But gentlemen, I respect you as long as you respect me. I honor you as long as you honor me and my perspective on life. We can “agree to disagree” on subjects too. A woman should not have to submerge her feelings, opinions, desires and convictions because the men in her life think she has nothing valid to offer. It makes women miserable to be continuously made to feel inadequate, unworthy or less than a man. I’m not saying a woman is an exact equal to a man, but she should be regarded as one who was created by God with a specialness within that only she can offer.

Children know and accept the wisdom of a mother. How about the men? Do you believe in your women?

Men, I recommend that you begin to listen to the women in your lives – professionally and personally. You will begin to discover a whole new world awaiting you, as wisdom abounds. You will also live a more harmonious life everywhere you go.

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Humility While Leading Others

Written in July 2007 based on circumstances I was experiencing. This piece is still relevant in many circles (especially in our churches) today!

 

I have not been in many leadership positions (I think mainly because I am quite shy), but I have always been intrigued with leaders and I watch them very closely. What I now notice as a common trend is the tendency for leaders to become overconfident in their abilities and in their judgment.

I am certain that many start out shaking in their boots at the task that was laid before them on accepting the role, but as the years passed and certain decisions were successfully made, they become more confident in their ability to lead in that position. Then over time, they began to cross the line….

They may forget that they are also fallible humans, even if others around them are following them or subordinate to them. They may speak to others unkindly and discount others’ opinions (which may be valid ideas or suggestions). They may misjudge character based on their own perceptions and not based on the truth of a matter. They may think that everyone else has “that problem” or “those problems”, but not them. They may have others watching someone they do not trust or whom they think will hurt them or their interests, and manipulation of circumstances and people becomes the norm.

Family life may disintegrate if they take their headiness home with them (and usually, they will). Throwing one’s weight around to show “Who’s boss” may become the order of the day after a while, causing fear and insecurity to take root in the family.

But then, one day it all comes to an end. Why, because God has heard the cries of those who are hurting because of the leadership style they have adopted. Also, God will intervene because of arrogance, which He hates. Proverbs 16:18 states, “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” Many times such leaders are sure they will never be reprimanded or caught or stripped bare, so they are usually caught by surprise when it happens.

Let us recall Nebuchadnezzar, the king who hardened his heart and craved worship that rightfully ONLY belonged (and still ONLY belongs) to God. He received several warnings until he was given a final warning, which he scoffed. He was sent to crawl on all fours for seven years, living in the wilderness like a wild animal. Once the seven years passed, his right mind came back to him and he acknowledged that God was indeed the only God deserving of worship. (Read the entire chapter of Daniel 4 in the Holy Bible.)

I grieve for some leaders who I am now submitted to in several situations. Please help me pray that they will heed the voice of the Lord (no matter what vessel God uses to deliver His Word) and will allow Him to be the only One who receives the worship and praise He truly deserves.

Let us pray:

Oh God, have mercy on our leaders. Give them humble hearts, hearts willing to learn and submit to Your authority. May they allow you to have free course in their lives. May they never take the credit for anything they have been able to lead successfully, knowing that the success is only granted because You allowed it to be so. And help them to learn about and be mindful of the story of King Nebuchadnezzar and several current examples (in churches and in corporations) we have today.

May we all allow you to have our hearts completely and to stay humble before You both now and forever.