Spoiler alert: This post is outside of the box and is specifically directed toward men. It is subject matter men are familiar with but don’t talk very much about. The subjects are relationship killers, maturity inhibitors, and soul deadeners. Very, very few men can avoid the troublemakers of their life and many are not transparent about their need to address them.
In my opinion, the three most common and universal troublemakers for men are their tongues, their eyes, and their penises–yes, you read that right. I came to that conclusion not only through personal experience, but from years of leading men’s small groups at churches and facilitating or staffing multiple men’s spiritual retreats. Universally the big three, those troublemakers, are what ultimately cause men the most grief, guilt, and shame in their lives as they act out behaviors involving those three. Aside from the tongue, the other two are consistently not talked about—they are secrets guarded well.
The troublemakers work through the mind and affect the heart, because the mind is the weak link. Desire overrides direction. Wrong supersedes right. Action trumps inaction. Pleasure stamps out propriety. Satan wins and God grieves—again, and again, and again. I don’t know what the thorn was that the apostle Paul referred to in his writing, but I can say with certainty that his metaphor applies brilliantly to the role these three troublemakers play in the lives of men. That includes myself.
One of the smallest parts of the body, the tongue can inflict lasting and irreparable damage to both self, and particularly to others. Words from the tongue that are not out of love can never be taken back. In time apologies fall on deaf ears. In time relationships die because of the tongue. A man with that kind of tongue has made bad choices and yielded to a troublemaker. Satan wins and God grieves—again.
A man’s ability to see is a great gift from God. Those two little round orbs on our faces were made by God to bring glory to him by enabling us to see His beauty all around us and to be thankful to Him for that beauty. Those eyes, however, are all too often used to objectify women, which yields lust in the heart. Our eyes, taunted by the lust we seem to so naturally carry, leads many men to pornography or affairs, perhaps the most secretive things a man will engage in. Make no mistake, the statistics for pornography use and sex outside the realm of godly conduct are off the charts—even for Christians, Pastors, and church staff. The man with those kinds of eyes has made poor choices and yielded to a troublemaker. Satan wins and God grieves—again.
The final troublemaker is the penis. Made by God for God honoring procreation and body waste elimination, this appendage can easily become one of the primary focal points of a mans mind, and then behavior. A man’s greatest desire is to survive. The need to satisfy the temptations, misconceptions, and fantasies of his life are often directed toward utilizing the penis in less than God honoring ways. In those instances, the penis has become a tool of self-centeredness and self-will. The man using the tool that way has made bad choices and yielded to a troublemaker. Satan wins and God grieves—again.
Volumes, both spiritual and psychological in nature, have been written about each of the troublemakers and how they manifest themselves. I am neither highly intellectual nor theologically trained. I’m a rather simple man who has a passion about helping others do life in a godly manner. Here, I share a rather simplistic and basic approach the each of the troublemakers….sort of like Cliffs Notes, or Troublemakers for Dummies:
- I control my tongue. It doesn’t control me. If it becomes a troublemaker, it is because I and only I have made the choice to use it in the wrong manner. End of story.
- I control my eyes. They don’t control me. If they become troublemakers, it is because I made the choice to look at someone with lust, or look at pornography. End of story.
- I, and only I can choose to use my penis for inappropriate purposes. I control it. It doesn’t control me. End of story.
- Numbers 1, 2, and 3 apply to all men.
As you read this did you find yourself squirming or uncomfortable? Are you rationalizing or justifying what it is you do or don’t do? Is there a possibility that you might need to look within yourself and evaluate things a bit? Are one of these three your troublemaker?
Did Jesus, who modeled doing life for us, model inappropriate use of the troublemakers? Nope!