Loving or Critical


Originally Posted by Mike Young September 2005

This week, in The Quest for Authentic Manhood, we talked about the four faces of manhood, King, Warrior, Lover and Friend. None of us will ever be a perfect man, but we can strive to be ‘balanced’. We can and should seek to have a balance of King, Warrior, Lover and Friend faces in our lives. Each of these faces has its own balance point and also helps to hold the others in proper alignment.

When balance goes, trouble comes. Consider these examples:

  • An out of control King becomes a tyrant.
  • A weak Warrior is a pushover, a wimp.
  • If the Warrior within us is too strong and overpowers the King, lives can be damaged.
  • It is possible for the King to be so consumed by doing good for others that the Lover fails to recognize the needs of his family.

These forces are in constant tension within us.

Occasionally, a man with a strong Lover face will become intolerably critical of those he loves. I have talked with a number of guys recently whose lives were shaped by overbearing criticism. Sometimes ‘tough love’ becomes critical to the point of damaging the spirit and confidence of a child. Perhaps you experienced it as a child or you’ve even caught yourself being overly critical of your own children.

When Stacy and I attended Timothy’s “Back to School Night” this week, his teacher had a poem lying on each student’s desk that reminded me of this concept. I shared it with several of the Quest groups this week. (Ladies, I thought you might be impressed with the fact that we have discussed poetry in our study of manhood.)

As you read the poem [below], remember Paul’s instructions to the Ephesians and Colossians: Father’s do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. Eph. 6:4 Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged. Col. 3:21 Notice that our focus should be on directing them to the Lord. He will help them soar.

We should be careful not to be overly critical, not only with our children, but also with our wives. Consider this passage, Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. Col. 3:19 Make sure the Lover in you recognizes the needs of those you love and offers generous encouragement. Then, appreciate the positive results.