Painful Incongruency

The Wounded Male- Enosh  

Many men are walking around wounded or have been severely wounded in the past which is effecting them now.  Becoming wounded is a part of growing up for a male.  It usually is a major piece of the teenager suddenly breaking into adulthood through trial by fire.  Just before the realization of the responsibility that full manhood brings with it.

The biggest problem with the wounded male is that it occurs in silence.  Even though this wounding is part of life we all know that real men don’t cry.  It’s instilled within us as youngsters.  Any other older male that has a direct effect on our lives lets us know that men do not cry.

It’s like when the little boy is out fishing with his grandpa and sticks his finger with a fishhook.  As the blood starts to run so do the tears and then grandpa shuts the faucet off with the words, “Hey, enough of that we men don’t cry!”  We men go through life experiencing painful shrapnel biting at us and we do not flinch.  Hey, man… being a warrior is noble and we are tough.  But given enough wars and enough scars and the man will be seriously wounded to incapacity or dangerous consequences.


The Ancient Metaphors and Archetypes of Wounds


There is a men’s movement under way and Robert Bly believes, the roots of the movement are within all the repressed pain inflicted from the battles of life.  For us to discover our manhood we must descend to the dark hallways of our souls to find all of our accumulated grief and deal with it.

Another metaphor is the thought of us wounding ourselves through all kinds of self-destructive behavior.  That discovery of manhood involves coming into contact with the innermost part of your soul and staring directly in the face of all our accumulated grief. In primitive societies men go through formal rites to manhood that involve the experiences of pain and wounds to their bodies. Circumcision is certainly a wound that is permanent and daily reminds him that he is a male.

Pain seems to be the pathway to manhood. It has been that way from the beginning of time and well recognized in most civilizations.  Here in our western culture that rite of passage is either denied or just plain forgotten.  The emerging men’s movement could be an effort to reframe and re-acquaint men and society with this wounding experience for men.

The Bible treats this wounding with honor and addresses it as a normal stop on our masculine journey. When men experience our wounds, we wrestle with God.

ENOSH: The Wounded Male

Enosh is a Hebrew word that conveys the concepts of weakness, being feeble and incurably sick.  It describes man’s mortality, calamity, frailness and the fears of men. [Isaiah 17:11, Jeremiah 17:16]

The life of Job pays homage to being wounded in the most severe form.  It illustrates the loss of his family, property, his health, and his wealth.

The prayers of Moses and David show is the Enosh man as well addressing a man whose “days are like grass” (Psalm 103:15) and who will turn “back to dust”. In experiencing woundedness we learn that we are not God, nor are we a little god, and we certainly are not even a little but like God.  It becomes an experience where we are wondering why or how God could possibly sohave anything to do with us at all. [Psalm 8:4] This is a normal experience yet why is it so very difficult for men to accept, talk about and heal from?

It seems both the biblical material and the contemporary literature on the subject support four convlusions:

One: The Deep Mortal Wound

The wound experienced is basically a mortal wound which means it is a death experience.  Every time a man gets a physical or a psychic wound it becomes another foretaste of death.  Each time we feel that pain something else dies within us. Men experience life through their bodies so when that body is wounded it is traumatic.

The wound is also spiritual and therefore the issues we face could be more of a theological nature than other issues.

When men experience midlife wounds, it could be the loss of marriages, jobs, dreams and ambitions. Sam Keen believes all men are in some way and some sense war-wounded. Because of this we have developed a well-crafted psychological armor to enable us to keep on functioning while not getting any healing.  Many men are becoming aware for the first time of the woundedness they experienced in jobs, failed marriages, drug addiction, and family origin or dysfunctionalism.

Two: Deep Loss Reactions

As men, we find our significant meaning by becoming the warrior and being phallic, therefore, when we become defeated in either of these areas it brings us a profound sense of loss. When we get wounded we no longer really know who we are.

Job was a warrior and he had it all. He had wealth and he had a large family, he had a supportive wife, a large estate, good friends and good health. But then one day he was dealt a cruel blow.  Likewise any of us could be hit with one well aimed cruel slug, it could be a car accident, a job loss, or a spouse walking out.  What happens then is we are wounded by life so we feel the remorse for what has been lost. We begin living in the romantic past when things were better.  That is what Job did.  [Job 29:1- 30:21]

Three: Alienation and Incongruency

When we get wounded by those blows that life deals out we tend to have our balance thrown off. A wounded believer will feel a sense of distance an alienation from God. (Psalm 73:1-14) Extreme incongruency with God might lead us to a new understanding and a respect for the mysterious ways of God. (Psalm 73:15-28) Men will tend to isolate themselves, buy some time and lick our wounds, and we won’t want anyone to come near us. This is usually seen as not wanting any help or a rejection of help, but it is a distinctive characteristic of a wounded male.

Just like a wounded animal, sometimes a wounded male can strike out at one that try to come with help. Men can externalize their pain and can manifest hostility and violence toward others

Four: Hostility and Violence

It does not matter how the wound occurs.  It could come from society or circumstances, by parents or a spouse, it does not matter because the male will feel powerless and will strike out. This hostile spirit is rooted in woundedness.  Many men in our society today are lashing out toward women, society, their bosses, and even God because they don’t understand the wounding experience. Men need to learn that out of their woundedness can come significant healing, meaning and growth.


In our culture in America we have devalued the role of the warrior and also the role of his wounds.  By awarding a purple heart, the military recognizes, praises and awards the wounded male.  This is something that civilians are having trouble accepting.

We men need to affirm and value the wounds we receive ourselves.  Our own design and process as we go through life and our fathers, wives, and institutions are not going to do it. It might be that only in the circle of fellow wounded males can a purple heart for a broken spirit get awarded. Possibly from our time of wounding we could emerge as rulers of our own souls.

I believe its true that most of us men need the proverbial blow to the head with a two-by-four to wake us up and knock some sense into us.  In the movies we see men portrayed as the insensitive bozo’s that have no idea what is going on in their lives. We just don’t get it, when it is obvious to everyone else there is a problem. As an example a man will continuously deny his problem with drugs or alcohol until someone that cares enough finally confronts him about it.

“I must be ever so careful to remember that my pain is a precious salve that when used in the service of others can heal a thousand wounds and more. And I must likewise remember that if I do not use it as such, I have done nothing more than wound myself yet again.”
― Craig D. Lounsbrough

Again the credit goes to Robert Hicks and his book, “The Masculine Journey.”

Come back for the next post as I finish this up by exploring issues with other men and the Bible.  Click here to jump to next post.

The Tubthumper




A Genesis Dysfunction Junction, Part 2

birthannouncementIt all started with Jacob wrestling with Esau in his mother’s womb.  Please see Genesis 25:20-26.  Rebekah was unable to become pregnant.  She was only able to become pregnant because God interceded on her behalf.  So she became pregnant and she was aware something strange was going on inside her.  She was alarmed about this as you might guess so she went to the Lord to ask Him what was going on.  The Lord told her there twins inside her.  He told her it was not just that twins were inside her but there were actually two nations inside that womb.  The Lord told her clearly that the older of these twins inside her would serve the younger one.  When the two boys were born and emerged the first one out was Esau but Jacob was clinging fast to Esau’s heel.

These things I mention above have set the course for Jacob.  There is a discord between Isaac and Rebekah.  Isaac wants his boy Esau to have the blessing because he was his favorite of the two children and Rebekah wants Jacob.  In fact, she is fully in tune with what God wanted from the beginning and also Jacob was her little darling.  The two were split on affections for their children. They were each deceiving or being underhanded toward their mate.

Now don’t forget too that earlier Jacob purchased the birthright from Esau because Esau really didn’t care about it.  He only cared about the immediate fulfilling of his fleshly desires.

This Is a Hebrew narrative which is scenic. Action moves along from scene to scene. As chapter 27 opened up it looks like Isaac is ill and bedridden, maybe an invalid for some time and he thinks he may die any time. We see the scene that he wants that nice tasting venison. That is what he is thinking of and lusting for and so he wants Esau to get him the barbecued venison by hunting and preparing the meat.  Isaac can then revel in the glory of his masculine hunter-man son and then he will give him the blessing.  This is all coming from the flesh and not the spirit.  The Characters are always the central element in the plot. Esau was a profane and materialistic person that didn’t care about spiritual things and yet Isaac wanted to give him the blessing because he thought Esau was the greater man and he favored that son. Isaac was not in tune at all with what God desired.

Enter Abraham… when Abraham knew that his days were short he looked for a wife for his son Isaac. That is what Isaac should have been doing for his sons.  But the only thing on Isaac’s mind as he was getting old was getting that blessing to his favorite boy Esau.  Even though he knew God meant for it to go to Jacob from when God told his wife at the beginning.  Surely you don’t think Rebekah kept her conversations with God to herself. I believe Isaac was going against Gods will because I believe Isaac knew God’s will was to have Jacob receive the blessing.  I believe Isaac knew this before Jacob was born and I believe Rebekah reminded him of this many times while the boys were growing up.  It is inconceivable to think that Isaac was not aware of God’s words to his wife that “the older would serve the younger”. (Gen. 25:23)  Can you imagine Rebekah not telling Isaac over and over again as they were butting heads over the two boys throughout their lives? I cannot.

I have referenced many commentaries about this and know there are countless Bible Scholars that also hold this view.

I believe Isaac knew who the birthright was to go to. He knew God’s will. Isaac was directly trying to go against God’s will and give it to Esau when it was meant for Jacob. Some say Isaac had no idea it was Jacob he was blessing instead of Esau but I’m not so sure that Issac didn’t kind of half catch on that it was Jacob. Remember in the scripture where Isaac said the voice was Jacobs but the hairy face was Esau’s?

I must admit that when reading this story some years ago it was all about Jacob stealing the blessing from Esau. Now, however, the situation looks different. We can see a man that was not depending on God. We can see a man that had forgotten about his dependence on God and he was acting fully in the flesh. He was trying to have his way and figured he could direct where the blessing would go. We can see lots of dysfunction going on in the story. Isaac was trying to deceive God. Jacob was trying to deceive Esau. Rebekah was trying to deceive Isaac and help God with His plan. Esau was just being a worldly man as usual.

The characters are contrasted with each other. Jacob and Rebekah both knew that God had chosen Jacob but they thought God couldn’t fulfill His purpose without their help. That was a mistake.  The trickery goes on and the blessing goes to Jacob which is right where God wanted the blessing to go. In the next scene Esau was full of anger for not getting his blessing and wanted to kill Jacob. The plot resolution occurs as Jacob was sent away for his protection from his brother.

In the end we see that Isaac lived to be 180 years old and died in the presence of both of his sons. (Gen. 35:28)

We have witnessed here a permissive father and a controlling mother.  We also have an errant older son and a deceptive younger son. As mentioned earlier this all looked like dysfunction.  We must not forget that Isaac’s family is one of the most important in the Bible because God used it to build the nation of Israel. No family is perfect.  Mine is not and surely yours is not either. God uses broken people from broken families to accomplish His perfect purpose. He chose to do that and chooses to do similar things today. God can use our brokenness to draw us closer to Him.

Let us all take the malfunctioning parts of our lives to the Lord for He will provide the healing and rebuilding and get us on the right path.

God bless your day,

FJ1‘The Tubthumper’