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Peaceful Warriors and Toxic Masculinity

Peaceful Warriors and Toxic Masculinity

by Tim McKnight

Living like Jesus doesn’t mean that we are meant to be door mats. In a culture that struggles to understand what biblical masculinity looks like, here are some relevant thoughts.

I agree with the overall message of the Gillette commercial last year that reignited the debate over masculinity and what is toxic masculinity. It is a healthy, needful, and timely conversation for us to have and one that we need to constantly revisit. Let me insert this guy (Click on the link to read about a SAS soldier who stopped a terrorist attack…singlehandedly) into the debate over toxic masculinity. I totally agree with the fact that everyone should be treated with love and respect.

I do believe that we are omitting a category of men in this conversation…peaceful warriors. Peaceful warriors are gentle and kind; however, they are willing and able to use violence of action in the defense of the innocent and defenseless when needed. Men who use violence aren’t always wicked, evil, or bullies. Some of them are warriors who protect the defenseless and fight for the rights and dignity of men and women.

We tend to juxtapose violence and gentleness (I just read a recent article trying to make that argument in reference to toxic masculinity), until we need that violence to protect the defenseless against evil doers. Then we look around frantic with fear for a warrior like the one mentioned in this article. One who will use violence of action to stop such violent attacks against defenseless people. Why aren’t there conversations about such warriors in this discussion of toxic masculinity? 

The almost absolute silence regarding their existence is very telling. I’m not hearing many Christian leaders who are writing on this subject of masculinity quote Psalm 144:1-2, refer to the numerous biblical accounts praising such warriors, or even mentioning the biblical references to God as a warrior or captain of a heavenly army. Yes, we need men who are gentle like velvet. But they must be steel velvet, men who can rise to fight in the defense of what is right, everyone’s rights, and on behalf of those who need defending when the time comes. 

I am committed to raise my sons to be such men who show the love and respect of Christ to men and women, yet are willing to be warriors who use violence of action to defend the defenseless. I realize that this perspective might just be my “just war” theology surfacing. Or perhaps I’m an old warrior trying to defend my existence and the relationship between my faith and the martial arts. Perhaps, I’m right, and we’re missing a category of masculinity in this conversation that is biblical, good, and helpful. Just a few of my thoughts. Blessings!

To save you some time:

Blessed be the Lord, my rock 
who trains my hands for battle
and my fingers for warfare.
He is my faithful love and my fortress,
my stronghold and my deliverer.
He is my shield, and I take refuge in him; 
he subdues my people under me. — Psalms 144:1-2 (CSB)

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