I once heard Christian author Larry Crabb say that men need to face confusion with courage and creativity. We may have no clue what to do in certain situations, but that doesn’t excuse passivity on our part. What men need to do is walk into the situation courageously and bring to bear all the creativity we can muster in order to bring clarity or resolution to the confusion. I like that.
It’s that same principle I have in mind when I tell men that what the world needs us to do is “Get in the way”. It’s what the first man failed to do. When Eve encountered deception in the Garden, when the Enemy approached her with half truths that sounded deliciously attractive, Adam “who was with her” (Gen 3:6), remained passively silent. In doing so he established a pattern that many men facing confusion play out today.
What Eve could have used was a partner who reminded her of truth; a partner who reminded her of the consequences of bad choices. What she could have used was a man who loved her so much that, when he saw her in danger, he thought nothing of himself and stepped between her and the threat. She needed him to get in the way.
I’m reminded of this by the tragic shooting that took place in Tucson, AZ shortly after the new year dawned. The men, women and children who were threatened by a sick man, needed someone to forget about their own fear and confusion and step into danger. I LOVE that someone did! And I LOVE that one was “a middle-aged, elderly woman.”
- Army Col. (Ret.) Bill Badger, 74, hit in the head with bullet fragments was one of the first to grab the shooter.
- Patricia Maisch, 61, walked directly in front of the shooter and grabbed his extra magazine so he couldn’t fire any more. When asked afterward how she could have done so, she replied, “You just do it.” Nike needs to grab her.
- Joe Zamudio ran out of Walgreen’s when he heard the shots and launched himself onto the shooter holding him to the ground until police arrived.
- Dr. Steve Rayle, helped hold the man down, then went about tending to the injured.
- Daniel Hernandez, 20, Rep. Gifford’s intern, held her in his lap, pressing his hand on top of her wound to stop the bleeding, quite possibly saving her life.
These are genuine heroes. Only one of them was trained to face gunfire (and he never had before). None of them knew what to do once bullets started flying. They were stunned, shocked, confused and afraid; but they took action on behalf of others. They just got in the way. In doing so they saved many lives.
Men, our world needs more men who willingly get in the way. Not because women and children are always helpless, but because the threats they face, and we men as well, sadly come so often from other men. They are rarely as dramatic as the events in Tucson, but they can be just as confusing: a son who encounters a demeaning coach; a daughter challenged by a teacher espousing values you disagree with; a wife facing depletion from the many demands of her day; another man floundering in loneliness and shame due to the loss of his job or marriage.
Ever since the first woman was let down by the man at her side, we see too many examples of men remaining passive when confused. Sometimes that man has been the man in the mirror. The names above remind us that men and women who take action for the sake of others are real life heroes. I urge us to follow their example in the comparatively minor, but deeply important skirmishes of our lives.
Just get in the way.
My greatest joy in life is my family. I know, that sounds like the comment you’re supposed to make as a man and father. All I can say is I literally shake my head in wonder at the family I have: my wife Beryl; my daughter Barclay and son-in-law Vince, their four daughters, Bella, Brynn, Brooke and Blake; my son Alec, my son Conor and daughter-in-law Bonnie, their daughter Gemma and son Calvin. Every one of them is a genuine gift. Beyond that, I have a calling that I live out through Peregrine Ministries. It is to help men: Understand their identity in Christ, Embrace their role as men, and Live out their God-given calling in life. Bottom line is I’m convinced men matter and I want to help them live life on purpose.