Shy Guys?

Verbal maturity sufficient to communicate and articulate as a man.  

A man must be able to speak, to be understood and to communicate in a way that will honor God and convey God's truth to others. Beyond the context of conversation, a boy must learn how to speak before larger groups, overcoming the natural intimidation and fear that comes from looking at a crowd, opening one's mouth, and projecting words.

 

Though not all men will become public speakers, every man should have the ability to take his ground, frame his words, and make his case when truth is under fire and when belief and conviction must be translated into argument.

 

I feel bad for every naturally shy man in Mohler’s church. This generalization is just far too sweeping – not every man and not every woman is capable of speaking out with conviction. I have friends who have social anxiety disorders that mean they have major issues with even group assignments in class, much less public speaking or willingly contradicting another person in a group setting of people they don’t know well. I, myself, have some anxiety issues that can cause me to clam up in person (though not in writing, which is why writing is my preferred form) and not say what I know I should or need to say. This doesn’t mean that I or my friends are any less men or women, simply because we have some issues we have to work through.

 

[caption id="attachment_487" align="aligncenter" width="262" caption="No, not that Shy Guy. But good try."][/caption]

 

To imply that a man is not a man because he is unable to perform, unable to speak to large groups, and unwilling to “make an argument” (for whatever reason) is absolutely ridiculous.

 

God gives different people different gifts of the Spirit. If we were all brave, argumentative speakers, what would the point be? We need those who are shy and behind the scenes just as much as we need the pastor bombastically preaching from the pulpit. We need those who prefer to quietly sit down, listen, and not say anything just as much as we need those who respond emphatically, stir the pot, and are blunt in everyday conversation.

 

My guy friend, Jim, is no less of a man because he prefers to sit quietly, read a book and listen to what people have to say; similarly, I am no less of a woman because I am blunt and tend to say exactly what I’m thinking. We are built with different personalities, and different God-given gifts for the benefit of the kingdom.

 

To say that being able to speak up, "to be understood, to communicate" is an essential “mark of manhood” is to flatten out the great diversity that exists within the church, to force good men and women to deny parts of their God-given personalities and gifts, and to turn the hands and feet of the Body of Christ into all brain and mouth.

 

So, men, you don't all have to be public speakers (as Mohler acknowledges). But I would take it a step further and say, it’s okay for you to be a listener if that’s where you fit into your role.

 

There is nothing uniquely “manly” about being able to articulate a position (and, inversely, there is nothing particularly “womanly” about listening). Both are equally beneficial, and each person is gifted differently in these areas.

 

So, go and listen, if that is your role. Or go and be blunt and brave and speak, if that is your role. What is most important here is that you are honoring the personality and talents that God gave you, not that you are trying to fit into some arbitrary mold of what a man is.