Being a Man Who Lives With Illness

“Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” (Genesis 2:7)

What does it take to be a man? Must one be stoic, never showing any weakness? Should a man hide his feelings, and pretend that everything is fine, even when it isn’t?

It is my experience that women are generally more willing to discuss their problems than men. There are exceptions, myself being one, but I think it is safe to say that men do not easily admit weakness, and they rarely share problems with other men. This is especially true of the older generations of men.

My guess is that many men suffer affliction in silence, feeling it is their duty to bear their burden alone, and that sharing that burden with others is somehow wrong. I would remind the Christian man that not only are we to take our burdens to the Lord, but we are to help each other with our burdens. No believer stands or succeeds alone. Our victory is through Christ and with our brothers and sisters.

It is not easy for men to admit weakness. By nature we are competitive, geared to succeed, and generally gather with other men for common goals and interests, and not to share burdens with one another. It somehow seems unmanly to admit we have weaknesses, afflictions, troubles.

It is not just men who have unrealistic expectations of other men. One of the strangest backhanded ‘compliments’ I ever received was from a woman who had read an article about me suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome that had just appeared in our local paper. I’ll never forget the day this elderly Christian woman approached me and said, while patting me on the arm, My husband is not a man either. I guess it is no wonder some men do not want to express their challenges openly.

You develop a thick skin after awhile. You have to when you suffer from affliction. All that really matters is what the Lord thinks of you, and what you think of yourself. The thing is, if you belong to the Lord, you are already a child of the kingdom, with a high standing in God’s eyes. But if you only measure your worth by what you can produce, or by what others think of you, based on your affliction, that is a dead end that can only cause you pain. You are a true man if you belong to Christ, and His love and grace is in your life, regardless of your physical abilities or limitations.

Prayer: Dear Lord, I pray that every man who reads this will evaluate themselves based upon Your presence in their lives. And I pray that every woman who reads this will also evaluate the men in their lives based upon their relationship to You, and not some unrealistic standard found in our culture. Amen.

About The Author:
Karlton Douglas lives in Ohio with his lovely wife. He has found strength in the Lord for his afflictions.

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How do you think a man should handle affliction?

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