The Wounded Male
Most men share a number of losses in common with Job. Job’s struggle to make sense of his woundedness provides a rich commentary regarding the enosh experience we all go through. We find this most particularly within Job 1-3, 6-7, and verse 14.
Job can’t except the fact that he has done anything in his life to deserve what is happening to him. Why would God allow him to go through such things? Job is struggling with his woundedness and he is struggling with God as he attempts to show that he is completely innocent. When things began to happen to him he said in Chapter 1, verse 20, “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” He had not sinned.
But later Job romanticized about back when he had it all and was in his prime of life, back when he had the respect of men and was in God’s favor. So now he is alienated from God and experiencing the incongruency. Things are now totally out of whack. The same as we feel today when this happens… It is the most distressing when the angle that does not fit is the one with God. When we were once intimate friends with God and now we cannot come to agreement. For a Christian this does not seem right or even valid. The experience is that we are distant from God, we feel alienated and it’s as though God is no longer present or involved in our lives.
Job did what he had to do and he analyzed all the evidence. What he saw probably did not point to a trustworthy God at that point. But in the end, he kicked and screamed all the way, but he still decided to put his faith on God. During these wounding time men we must keep the faith. We must place our faith in God even when it feels bad. That is the incongruency. That feeling of alienation is normal and is part of grieving. This extreme incongruency with God could lead you to new understandings of the mystery of God and a new respect for His mysterious ways. Show me the way Lord.
We learn in the Bible that death is basic to human existence. Every time we experience wounds it is a process of death. We see this in Genesis 5, Psalm 90:3 and Hebrews 9:27 so why do we fight it all the way as if it will never overtake us. Why don’t we be serious about it and prepare for death instead of continuously pursuing our material dreams in warrior mode? We keep pushing, pushing, pushing on with life as though we can put death off as long as we want. You know how it is, Heaven can wait, but the American dream cannot.
The biblical patriarch Jacob epitomizes the wounded male. Jacob as a young man illustrates a male having been severely wounded by a dysfunctional family. We see this playing out in Genesis 25:19-34, 27:1- 33:20. The first part of the dysfunctional destruction occurred in the mother’s womb with the two twins wrestling. At birth Jacob comes out second but he was holding on to Esau’s heel. Jacob literally means “heel-catcher”. (Genesis 25:19-26). The next stage carries on in the family kitchen where Jacob tricks Esau into selling his birthright. (Gen 25: 27-34). [You can see my blog post about giving up the birthright and the dysfunction in this family.] It then hits an all-time low in the parent’s bedroom where Isaac was so unhealthy and blind that Jacob was able to trick him into showing favor to him and giving the blessing of birthright. Gen 27:1-40). Jacob eventually received the coveted patriarchal blessing reserved for the firstborn. We see sibling rivalry, parental favoritism, and fraudulent scams as they conspire for Jacob to eventually receive the coveted patriarchal blessing that was reserved for the firstborn. Esau should be considered a “real man’s man” both then and now. Jacob was a typical momma’s boy.
Then later on we see Jacob running because he is full of fear, guilt and he is alienated from friends, family and also God. Even when Jacob had the blessing he was feeling the alienation from God. So here is what Jacob the wounded male does during all this time to affirm to himself that he is legitimately blessed before man and God. He represses the hurt from his family of origin by staying away from them. He sold himself short to Laban, who out-schemed the schemer himself. He does what he learned and reproduces dysfunctional families in succeeding generations. He practices self-deception and continues to deceive others. He dreads a reunion with his siblings that he once abused, and appeases him. He had become so insecure in his walk with God and with his standing with his brother he must prove he can still wrestle and win whoever comes across his path. His blessing that was stolen through deception and parental favoritism doesn’t count for much, but his blessing secured by God comes with a wounded hip.
A lot of men wrestle with strangers in the night searching for the blessing that was withheld. Jacob’s experience can remind us that the wounding experience does not need to be a negative one but can be a time of wrestling with God to see what life is all about. Has God used a wounding in your life to bless you? Consider yourself lucky. Why does it take so long to heal a masculine soul? Could it be because Satan actively stalks our souls?
There is admittedly a problem of male hostility and violence. It is not rooted in men’s power over women. It is rooted in men’s sense of powerlessness, stemming from deep woundedness. We do not condone the abuse of women under any circumstances but must admit where the violence comes from.
For men to survive the wounding they need to talk about it and get help. They need to feel safety among fellow sufferers in order to share the pain. That’s why men should be involved in the men’s groups and ministries around. It remains difficult, however, with the loner nature of men. Most men simply withdraw.
Ok men, if we are done licking our wounds we can move to the next step. In the next step on the journey we can emerge as rulers of our own souls. We reach the mature male stage.
“No one gets to adulthood without a wound.” – Robert Bly
Thanks and credit to Robert Hicks, The Masculine Journey. See you later men at the next post which is the Mature Male…
God bless you,