What’s the one thing every man wants but is afraid to admit he needs? Guess what? It’s not women, money or sex. Most men aren’t afraid to admit they need those things. The answer is: Every man desires to have an honest and authentic relationship and brotherhood with other men. In other words, we all want a foxhole friend, an “I-got-your-back-brother,” or a “ride-or-die-dude” we can depend on in our greatest hour of need – a “go-to-guy,” who will respect us even when we’re at our worst or weakest.
However, many of us lack the relational maturity required to be in a healthy and authentic relationship with other men. If we want to determine whether or not we are mature men, all we need to do is revisit a painful wound in our past and examine ourselves in the light of four questions. Personally, my wound was the sexual abuse I suffered as a child for three years. So here are the four ways to measure your maturity.
1. Are you able to talk about IT (the wound)?
For more than 18 years, I didn’t talk about my abuse, and that secret eventually destroyed my 16-year marriage. It’s one of my biggest regrets. The truth was, I was HIDING from IT, because of shame, guilt, and fear.
2. When you talk about IT, do you get emotional?
When I was finally able to talk about my abuse with others, I noticed that my voice would change, sometimes tears would fall, and it would make me angry. But emotionally communicating about it is a good thing, because it means you’re no longer hiding from it; you’re just still HURTING from IT.
3. Are you able to help others through IT?
There was a point when the heavy emotions subsided, and I was able to turn my attention outwardly, helping others, instead of inwardly, focusing on my own pain. I had finally reached a place where I was HEALING from IT.
4. Can you find the blessing in IT?
One of the biggest myths in life is that time heals all wounds. The truth of the matter is, sharing and helping others through their pain heals all wounds. When I was able to help others heal from their abuse, by openly sharing mine, I could see the purpose and plan God had for my pain. This is when you can honestly say you’re HEALTHY living with it.
So how relationally mature are you? Are you hiding from the pain of your past? Are you still hurting when you talk about it? Are you able to help others heal who are going through a similar struggle? Or can you honestly see God bringing good out of your pain?
It’s one thing to say we’re men, but when it comes to our secrets, struggles, and scars, we must be mature enough to share them with other men.
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What is one experience you had that’s hard to talk about?”