The root of most problems that men face stem from one sin in particular. It has plagued us since Adam and Eve in the garden, and has carried through the generations. Men may say they struggle with this sin or that, but ultimately it comes back to this one thing.
The greatest sin of husbands, fathers, and men is their passivity. Now I have to admit, the idea for this article came from Matt Chandler’s book, The Mingling Of Souls. He touches on it briefly, but I wanted to expound on it.
Where It All Began
Men’s passivity began with Adam and Eve in the garden. Matt Chandler points out the account of Adam, Eve, and the serpent in Genesis 3:4-6,
The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband [who was] with her, and he ate.
Adam just stood there while Eve directly disobeyed God. I often hear Eve get all the blame for eating the fruit, but Adam stood there and did nothing. He took a passive role in leading them against the evil that was tempting them.
Chandler points out,
This may sound really odd to you, but it is significant for the very reason that the Bible continues to tell us that the root sin plaguing fallen masculinity is the sin of passivity. It can be seen over and over again, walking forward from Genesis 3, whether it’s Abraham lying about his wife, or Moses making excuses in reply to God’s call, or Noah’s slump into drunken laziness after the flood…the list goes on and on. Pick a man who stumbles and falls in incredible ways, and his sins always have a root in some fundamental passivity. (Pages 114-115)
When I initially read this it was one of those spiritual gut punches. It just takes the wind out of you, but in a good way. I have since began acknowledging that passivity.
Let’s look at a few specific areas the sin of passivity plagues men’s lives.
Men’s Passivity in Their Faith
The spiritual health of a man’s marriage, and family is a direct reflection of his personal pursuit of Christ. When a man is passive in his pursuit of God his family, as well as his community suffer.
I have discussed the three-tiered waterfall before, but what happens in you personally, directly impacts your marriage, and ultimately the rest of your family and your community. Toxicity flows downstream, but so does living water. That living water is only found in Christ.
In The Pursuit of God by AW Tozer, he makes a statement that directly reflects this understanding:
Complacency is a deadly foe of all spiritual growth.
Men, if you desire to leave a lasting impact in your marriage, your children, your work, and your community, it begins with a constantly active pursuit of Christ. You cannot sit on the sidelines of faith and expect spiritual growth.
If you fail to make time to read the word, spend time in prayer, and nurture a relationship with the Almighty, you will hold no spiritual power for leading your family.
I believe the decay of the familial unit in America can be directly tied to the spiritual decay in the home. This is a direct result of the spiritual passivity of men failing to actively pursue the Lord, and ultimately lead their homes.
Men’s Passivity In Their Marriage
Men, what happens in you spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically will directly impact your marriage. If you are passive in your pursuit of Christ, you will never be able to fully love your wife as Christ loves the Church. You will fail to serve her as you should.
If you are passive in your continued intentional pursuit of your spouse you are setting your marriage up for failure. In my article on the 5 lessons I learned about marriage from hunting I discussed the concept that the hunt never ends.
Marriages are falling apart all around us because men take a passive role in loving their wives.
My wife recently started a new career that completely threw a monkey wrench in our schedule. We were used to spending all day together, and now she is gone all day. I have to be intentional about getting my work done during the day so we can spend our evenings and weekends together.
Why do wives cheat on their husbands? They cheat because of the lack of intentional pursuit from the husband who would rather take a passive role in the relationship.
Why do men look to pornography for fulfillment? It’s a passive sexual experience. It stems from the passivity in their walk with the Lord first, but secondly from their passivity in pursuing their wife.
Sex is a vicious cycle in marriage. It takes work. If you are passive in pursuing her and not filling her relational bank account, of course she isn’t going to want to have sex with you.
Men, just because you put a ring on her finger doesn’t mean the pursuit has ended. Start today to actively pursue your wife on a regular basis, and I’m not talking about just trying to have sex. Fill her relational account.
Men’s Passivity With Their Children
Men, you play a vital role in the development, discipline, and raising of your children. Your passivity in their lives will directly impact their friendships, their future love relationships, and even their marriages.
You can’t come home and sit in a recliner to watch TV while your wife bathes, feeds, clothes, helps with homework, and plays with the kids. The way that you interact with them gives them an understanding of their world.
The way you love their mother, whether it’s an active or passive relationship speaks volumes to their future marriages. Men, your daughters need you to take an active role of showing them what a good husband should look like, and what they should expect from a husband. Your sons need you show them how be a husband and a father.
You are impacting the future of this world by how you raise your kids. The world is plagued by broken homes from men leaving their families. I believe this is a direct influence from a passive pursuit of Christ, and a passive marital relationship.
We haven’t even begun to discuss the passivity of men in the workplace or in their community. I will say this, some men may be intensely active at work while completely neglecting their spouse and family…being passive on the home front.
The key to remember men is this: balance. There is a time to work and a time to rest. But, the most important thing to remember is to keep the first things first.
- Your personal health: spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically.
- Your spouse.
- Your family.
- The rest of the world.
Keep these things in order.
(I can’t remember where I got that quote from. If someone has a source for me let me know and I will credit them.)
You can’t be a great father if you don’t learn from the Father, and your children will learn from a healthy marriage.
Finally, your work and the rest of the world will benefit exponentially from a man centered and grounded in Christ, with a healthy marriage and family relationship far greater than one who is not.
Men, let us move past the passivity that has plagued us. Let us become men of action.