Mixed Messages Pt 2

To the future man my finger is now pointed at you. Those people who give you that bad advice are not going to be around when things go south. It's going be one person there to face those repercussions...you. Therein lies the problem with bad advice and bad examples.

The advice of others affects our future man. I got the same advice that young man received. Don’t just date one girl. Play the field. I can recall being asked by my dad, other male relatives, and even some aunts “How many girlfriends do you have?” It was odd to me that it was not a question of having a girlfriend but of how many I had. The message I received was having anything less than one girlfriend meant something must be wrong with me. In other words, if I had only one girlfriend then I must not be doing something right. The question of how many girlfriends I had was translating to me as marker of if I was growing into a handsome, successful young man. I can see that now looking back from my mid 30s. But at that time of my life I did not have the maturity that I have now.

Here’s what it lead to in my life: I saw my first pornographic image when I was around 10 years old. I started masturbating in the six grade and for the next 20 years nearly every day I either masturbated or looked at some form of porn. For some men this may be viewed as no big deal; just a right of passage into becoming a man. But this filled me with shame, isolation, lies, obsession, and spiritual brokenness.

Then I saw first hand pastors, deacons, and married church members who would praise God on Sunday morning but by Sunday afternoon those same people would be yelling, cussing, cheating, or shacking up. These were the people on Sunday who portrayed themselves as the model citizen or the model Christian and then the rest of the week it was a different story.  Those examples made me feel that it was okay for me to be doing things I did because everyone else seemed to be living a lie. These examples helped me to justify my wrong actions.

The seeds that these experiences plant in a young man are damaging. We do not think our children are paying attention, but believe me they are. In my life I have watched the people I was supposed to emulating.  I have watched my uncles, deacons, and adults in my life do and say hypocritical things. It's their actions that I saw that made such a big difference in my life. Their actions were so different from their words.