At Care Net, we envision a world where all life is valued and protected, and women and men have support to choose life for their unborn child. Pregnancy and parenting decisions occur within the context of real struggle. I work with fathers of all ages who struggle with relationships, depression, identity, work, anger, pornography, addictions, and a number of other things.
This is significant because hurt people, hurt people. And more specifically, hurt men, hurt others. They hurt unborn children, girlfriends, wives, children, family members, co-workers, neighbors, and the list goes on. This applies to abortions and to physical abuse, but also to the kind of hurts that we often don’t see and will never know about: broken relationships, emotional abuse of a girlfriend or spouse, anger and bitterness, problems in their workplace, anger management. And so, one man’s pain is transferred to those closest to him.
Each man is more than the sum of their struggles because they’re husbands, boyfriends, fathers and sons, friends and co-workers. They are just like you and me.
The pain we carry around is multiplied when our struggle is hidden and no one else knows. A friend of mine challenges other men, “You can’t heal what you won’t reveal.” But it’s difficult for men to share their stories, so let me provide a few motivations.
Being honest prevents loneliness. Too often, men believe we can go-it-alone, ignoring what God said in the beginning, “It is not good for man to be alone” (Gen.2:18). We need others in our lives and the first step is to allow another person into your story.
Being honest lightens the burden you’re carrying around. “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up” (Eccl.4:9-12). God never intended us to carry our burdens alone (Gal.6:2).
Being honest enables us to rest. Telling someone your story provides an emotional breath of fresh air. Masks can get heavy and it’s tiring to hide behind one.
Being honest helps others. By being honest about your struggles, you can become a source of encouragement and help for others who are struggling as they see “he’s just like me.” Paul writes, “If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort…” (2Cor.1:6).
Honesty doesn’t happen just anywhere. It occurs as we develop safe relationships with other men. I can’t say this strongly enough: Men, you need other men in your life. Men who care and will help you begin the process of healing because you can’t heal what you won’t reveal. Jesus saw these kinds of relationships. Luke tells us of one:
Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a mat and tried to take him into the
house to lay him before Jesus. 19 When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus. 20 When Jesus saw their faith, he said, ‘Friend, your sins are forgiven.’ So he said to the paralyzed man, ‘I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.’ 25 Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God” (Lk. 5:18-25).
This man was physically and spiritually broken. Without his relentless friends, he might have remained so for the rest of his life. They carried him on a mat to the house where Jesus was teaching, but there were too many people. One of them devised a wild plan to climb onto the roof—while carrying their paralyzed friend. Then took apart the tiles. Not just one or two, but enough to create a hole big enough to fit a grown man through. Then they lowered him on his mat, into the middle of the crowd right in front of Jesus.
Can you imagine the scene? As Jesus was teaching, dust began to drift from above. Debris dropped onto the floor. Maybe a tile slipped from their grasp and landed below, breaking in front of Jesus. The owner shouted at them to stop destroying his house. Soon others joined in, but these friends were determined to get their friend to Jesus. Amidst the chaos, Jesus just watched as the whole scene unfolded. Finally, a mat was awkwardly lowered through the very large hole with jerks and stops until the paralyzed man was face to face with Jesus.
The room was completely silent. What would Jesus do? Up above the friends peered down through the massive hole like kids. Jesus looked at the friends and back to the man, then said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven” because He saw their faith.
Men need other men in their lives. Men they can trust with their struggles.
When you support Care Net, you’re providing men with a place to form honest relationships.