Finding real manhood

The key to understanding true manhood is understanding that each person is created by God, and therefore finds fulfillment and productivity in expressing good, spiritual qualities.

Christian Science Perspective audio edition
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What is a real man? What does a real man do? These are the kinds of questions that have come up in conversations I’ve had with my son, with some disillusioned teenagers I’ve worked with, and with prison inmates I’ve visited on behalf of my church.

The word "real" leads me to God, the creator of our identity and the source of our purpose. In “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” Mary Baker Eddy defines “creator,” in part, as “the animating divine Principle of all that is real and good” (p. 583). And the Bible says of the Word of God, “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:3).

Awareness of God as everyone’s infinite, divine creator and animator allows more of God’s good qualities to come forth in all of us and show what we really are. Peace, fulfillment, security, and health constitute our identity. These are lasting qualities that enable us to do good things in our lives. We can think of these qualities from God as angels, or angel thoughts.

There’s a helpful idea in Psalms, in which the writer says of God, “For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways” (Psalms 91:11). This promise refers to everyone – men, women, and children – as God’s people, spiritual expressions of Him, reflecting His intelligence, strength, and love.

I’ve learned to understand angels not as creatures with wings or flowing gowns, but as ideas from the divine Mind, God, keeping us on a good track, and giving momentum to better express our spiritual nature. Everyone inherently is an expression of God, so everyone can be receptive to these ideas and be part of sharing them with others. Could we, then, think of the real man as a representative of God, sharing God-sent ideas – as a momentum sustainer, a safeguarder of the good life that God has in mind for everyone?

Maybe representing good or love doesn’t sound so exciting. Or maybe it seems as though some people don’t deserve our help. But this angel-idea of manhood doesn’t make us guys – or anyone – weak, but empowered. It’s a deeper understanding that there is enough momentum in being and doing good to fulfill our lives. When I’ve seen people give more of themselves and really strive to find and utilize qualities of God in helping others, I’ve seen them find peace, energy, and health.

This came home to me once when I needed healing. I used to have difficulty digesting my food after some meals. I found I was stirred up about issues and thinking things needed to go a certain way. But as I prayed to see ways I could share the positive energy of God-based thoughts as to how everyone could access and hold on to a good life, this settled the agitated thinking and the physical difficulty. And ever since, I have remained free from digestion problems after meals.

When world events suggest that it’s hard to find work, security, resources, or happiness, that cannot change the real, God-created man, who finds fulfillment in protecting lives from fear, selfishness, and hate, and we can take an active role in seeing that. A real man doesn’t harm others – that’s the opposite of manhood – but instead is that safeguarder and problem-solver and is led to right ways to be productive.

Male or female, our true purpose is in caring for everybody. Does that sound too big? Well, my experience suggests we need to go big. I like these words of Mrs. Eddy’s: “Who should care for everybody? It is enough, say they, to care for a few. Yet the good done, and the love that foresees more to do, stimulate philanthropy and are an ever-present reward” (“Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896,” p. 238).

That’s the healing momentum of support for one another. And the key is understanding that life is of God, the divine Spirit that expresses itself in us in the form of God’s good, spiritual qualities. Real manhood can be an exciting topic to discuss and think about, because it means we’re giving our support to the qualities that keep everyone’s lives moving along in a fulfilling direction. And that’s neither too big nor too difficult, thanks to God.

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