Where Are the Men?

We recognize the problem. Will we admit the cause?

Video recently emerged of a black man behaving erratically and threateningly on a crowded New York City subway. When he seated himself next to two women, they got up to move away, but the man forcibly grabbed one of them and sat her back down. The woman, eyes closed and terror on her face, repeatedly mouthed, “Help me.” Nobody flinched. They watched (and filmed) as this man, probably no more than 150 pounds, then shouted at her, grabbed her by the hair, and shoved her.

“What does it say about society that not a single man stepped in to help—they allowed it to happen?” Rita Panahi of Sky News Australia asked. That is a terrific question.

The answer is that society is suffering from a dangerous dearth of men willing to stand up as protectors. Panahi rightly called this “another sign that our civilization is in serious decline.”

A much graver incident was the mass murder in Uvalde, Texas. The scene is sickening beyond imagination: A deranged 18-year-old murdering 19 third- and fourth-graders and two teachers, while 19 armed police officers stand outside the room, armed with tactical gear, waiting for permission to enter for nearly an hour. The commander on the scene held the officers back because he assumed all the children were already dead.

Many people were justifiably outraged. Society still shames cowardice. We still expect men to stand and defend those helpless to defend themselves. I find this extraordinary, considering how hard society has worked to cast masculinity as “toxic” and trash man’s duty as protector and defender.

Naturally people are self-absorbed. Men must be taught to look after the weak and helpless, to sacrifice for others. We must be trained to protect women and children. Rather than teaching this, our “enlightened” society condemns it as patronizing and patriarchal. They insist that women can fend for themselves.

The results provide a powerful example of the danger in throwing out tradition and reshaping society based on our own ideas—ideas like sex roles don’t matter and, more perversely, that gender is fluid. As we embrace these errors, we should expect more and more such tragic events. Emasculating our protectors makes us vulnerable to terrible evils.

But it’s not just tradition we are throwing out: It is God’s design. A man’s duty to protect is God-given.

God designed men with a greater capacity for physical strength, and a tougher mental and emotional temperament, than women. There are obviously weak men and tough women, and God wants women to be strong as well. But He designed her capacity for physical strength to be less, and for her to express her strength differently from a man.

Is it arbitrary or unfair for God to give men greater physical, mental and emotional toughness? God created physical strength in men to be unselfishly used to protect those who have less strength—who are being grabbed by the hair, for instance, or menaced by a gunman. God’s purpose is for us men to overcome our natural selfishness, to protect, provide for and defend women and to benefit society.

The Apostle Paul wrote, “I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak …. We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves” (Acts 20:35; Romans 15:1). In Isaiah 1:23, God condemns our selfish society and men who neglect the needs of widows and the fatherless—women without husbands and children without fathers. He says providing a masculine presence and relieving their affliction is pure religion (verse 17; James 1:27).

What a terrible price we are paying for dismantling the godly masculine role.

As outraged as people are at the police officers’ cowardice in Uvalde, this is not merely the moral failure of a couple dozen officers. It is the inevitable result of society ignoring, then attacking, God’s law and even God’s natural design—pillars that have supported family and civilization for millenniums.

Society continually accuses police of racism, excessive force and other evils. Should we be so shocked when they hesitate to act in a situation requiring courage and conviction, not to mention force and violence? How can we keep blasting masculinity, then be aghast at the lack of masculinity?

In Isaiah 3:1-3, God says that He has cursed our rebellious society by removing the strong, capable, courageous, masculine leaders. Without the mighty man, the man of war, the captain of 50, the incident commander, the officer, the subway rider willing to confront a threat, a nation is cursed and vulnerable.

In Leviticus 26:19, God warns that if we rebel against Him, “I will break the pride of your power.” This has happened: Our nation has turned into cowards. We cower outside the classroom door, in the face of one skinny man clutching a woman by the hair, and at the prospect of being canceled. Evil spreads—unless it is confronted. And people are cursed.

It is crucial that we men embrace our God-given duty as protectors, and that we teach our sons to do the same. Our book Biblical Manhood will educate you about that duty. It provides detailed, practical direction on how to fulfill seven God-given roles for men, including protector. It shows how a man can build this godly mindset and come to think more like God, who Himself is a Defender of the weak, a Protector of the helpless.