One of the pillars of the Genesis Man’s masculinity and manhood is that of declaration. As a man, declaration is simply the things that you say to build up your family or those you mentor. We see Adam (in Genesis 2) making statements of declaration about Eve not long after they first met. He said that she was “bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh!” In essence, he was saying, “How could I not but love this woman because she is made up of me! I love you as if you were my own body!” He said that “her name should be called woman…” Right there he was helping her know who she was.
A true element of manhood is the responsibility we have to build up our children, wives and people we mentor. I’m not a throw back from the Father-Knows-Best 1950’s, but I know that there is something powerful about the words a man speaks. I believe that men were not just made to build bridges, buildings and automobiles, but we were made to build people.
Over the Christmas break I had the opportunity to watch the Gridiron Gang – a true story of a correctional delinquency organization that used a football program to help change the male young offenders. While overlooking the more colourful language, there were some important lessons that were realized. The main character (The Rock) -who was the coach, he never forgave his father for the hurtful things that were said to him. The character “Willy” shot his stepfather who was verbally and physically abusive to him and his mother. (Besides being a gang member, that’s how he ended up in juvenile detention.)
In one scene there was a visiting day, and a variety of people came to visit the detainees…girlfriends, mothers, buddies… but there were no fathers. I kept wondering, “Where are the fathers?” Through out the movie, I kept looking… Some of the young men might have had absent biological fathers, but where were the stepfathers?
Socially, stepfathers have an uphill battle and are almost always depicted as abusive and relationally detached. I mean, they always seem to get a bad rap, but are they not important and valuable as biological fathers?
Who was the best stepfather of all time? The most famous was Joseph the stepfather of Jesus. God put him in charge of His Son. There is no one more vulnerable than a child, and the Child Jesus was in the hands of Joseph. God valued, and still values stepfathers. The situation may not be ideal, but as men, we fill in wherever we can -be it as a father or a stepfather. I can bet Joseph was a “Genesis Man”. The New Testament may not have recorded the declarative words he said to build up his wife and his Stepson, but it was so obvious by looking at how he lived and loved.
I challenge all men, fathers, stepfathers and mentors…buy a $1 journal from a dollar store and write words of declaration to your sons, daughters, wives and the people you mentor. Give one to each person in your life, and regularly write in the journal and give it to them. Tell them who they are in Christ. Tell them lovingly about the pitfalls of life and encourage them. Help define their identities. Tell them that you love them. Men, let’s build a whole generation of people, and lets start in 2013.