FIRST-PERSON: Jovan Belcher, ruined lives and manhood
FORT WORTH, Texas (BP) -- In the wake of Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher's murder-suicide, Fox Sports columnist Jason Whitlock wrote, "How many young people have to die senselessly? How many lives have to be ruined before we realize the right to bear arms doesn't protect us from a government equipped with stealth bombers, predator drones, tanks and nuclear weapons?" Whitlock and many others have decided to blame guns for tragedies like this one; however, I don't hear the same outrage over alcohol when a drunk driver kills someone on the roads. Guns are not the problem.
Kevin Powell from the original season of "The Real World" came closer to the point, blaming a misguided culture of male bravado for the tragedy that occurred in Kansas City. But then we've been trying to blame others for our actions ever since Genesis 3. Adam blamed Eve by saying "the woman whom you gave me" and Eve blamed "the serpent who deceived me." Blaming others does not remove personal responsibility.
Jovan Belcher holds the blame for what happened. He did it. And it's about time that we stopped blaming others for our actions and take responsibility for them ourselves.
Now, figuring out how men get to this point … that's a different discussion and perhaps one that can be useful around the family dinner table or in your church men's group.
I think the problem is a lack of proper biblical manhood. We live in a world that wants to remove gender differences, from the Easy Bake Oven to the Supreme Court. Anyone who has reared boys and girls knows that natural differences exist, and in the case of my children, those differences emerge in almost every area of life. I believe God created men and women equal yet different. Instead of fighting against God's intended design, we should embrace the biblical model. We need to teach, foster, and encourage men to be biblical men. So what does this look like? Well here are a few talking points for further discussion:
-- A biblical man seeks God's will for his life and how he can best glorify God in relationships, in occupation and in entertainment. He doesn't seek his own riches at the cost of others and use people for his own gain.
-- A biblical man intentionally looks for the lady God has for him (if God wants him to marry). A lady who has a Bible and knows what is in it. Along the way, he leaves every girl better than he found her and treats each woman like his own sister. He does not selfishly use women for what he wants or what temporary pleasure he may obtain to throw them aside later.
-- A biblical man seeks to protect, provide for, and spiritually lead his family. He does not abandon them for his own happiness.
-- A biblical man takes responsibility for his actions, including rearing any children he fathers. The earthly father represents a shadow of the heavenly Father who loved mankind enough to send His Son to die for our sins. Earthly fathers should demonstrate unconditional, unselfish love toward children, protecting them and rearing them with consistency and intentionality.
-- A biblical man takes responsibility for his mistakes and does not look for the easy way out. He demonstrates integrity, honesty and responsibility in his actions at home and in society.
Perhaps you can have a conversation with your children this evening at dinner about what type of manhood you want to model, what your son should strive to become, and the only type of guy your daughter should ever think about marrying.
As Deuteronomy 6:7 says, teach your children "when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise." During this or the next tragedy, don't blame it on guns, sowing wild oats or a culture of violence. Blame it on personal sin and the lack of true biblical manhood. Then educate your own children to overcome the problem.
Thomas White is vice president for student services and communications at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. This column first appeared at http://thomaswhite.wordpress.com and was later re-posted at TheologicalMatters.com. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress ) and in your email ( baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).