Go to any drugstore or card shop to grab a Father’s Day card, and you’ll get a taste for how our culture views fathers.
Evidently, all dads are supposed to like fishing, golfing, and ships. They want to kick back in their recliners with a favorite brew and enjoy a day off from lawn-mowing.
Also, the gift every dad wants most, of course, is a new tie.
Then there’s the plethora of Christian living books for men, exhorting them to be strong yet tender, protective yet supportive, and suggesting they take up skeet shooting or weightlifting to further develop their masculine side.
I’m making these tongue-in-cheek observations to make a point—we try too hard to squeeze men and women into blue or pink boxes.
The problem is, not everyone fits comfortably into traditional gender roles.
Good news, guys…you don’t have to be a rough-and-tumble outdoorsy type to be a man.
If your strengths lie more in the arts, if you’re great with kids, if you hate fights, that’s fantastic—and it doesn’t mean you are somehow less than masculine.
It means you are wired by God in a particular way for His purposes—as a man.
“Biblical manhood” is a popular notion these days, but I think we need to be careful about baptizing cultural stereotypes and calling them God-ordained.
Let’s talk about a quality not often seen as a masculine trait: gentleness.
This quality is a fruit of the Spirit, character qualities certainly desirable for men as well as women.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” –Galatians 5:22
It’s a Christlike quality all Christians need to exercise toward others:
“Therefore I, the prisoner in the Lord, urge you to walk worthy of the calling you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love.” –Ephesians 4:1-2
The apostle Paul gives a vivid word picture of what gentleness looks like when a man ministers to other people (as dads do for their families):
“Just as a nursing mother cares for her children, so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.” –1 Thessalonians 2:7-8
Paul treated the believers in his spiritual care with the same tender care a nursing mom demonstrates with her little ones!
Jesus himself shows the same kind of nurturing compassion as he laments:
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her. How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!” –Matthew 23:37
Finally, consider Paul’s exhortation to parents, specifically fathers:
“Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” –Ephesians 6:2
Gentleness does not provoke to anger. It does not boss others around. It is not rough, harsh or mean. Gentleness is a close cousin of meekness, which is strength under restraint.
This Father’s Day, don’t worry about upping your manliness game. Instead, be intentional about modeling gentleness to your children.
A gentle dad is a safe dad. He can be trusted. His kids can confide in him.
Want to be an awesome father?
Be a gentle one.