Posted on Feb 16, 2017 | 0 comments

Guardian Angel is a terrifying book for men. It shouldn’t be, but it is. And not for all men, it seems. Some men just get it. Their relationships with their wives are on such solid footing that they recognize the blessing a wife can be and they welcome the biblical validation. But not most men.

Women, on the other hand, read Guardian Angel and feel comforted. They realize, sometimes for the first time, that their instincts for nurturing, care, protection and correction are godly, purposefully designed into the very fabric of who they are as women. They read Guardian Angel and feel empowered. At last they have biblical affirmation of their uniqueness, their strength, their clarity for God’s purposes. They read Guardian Angel and feel fulfilled. Now they see that the history of the Church has deliberately throttled their capabilities and their aspirations. Now they know that God wants them, needs them and plans for them to be vital contributors to His Kingdom.

But most men read Guardian Angel and feel fear. Of course, if they are open-minded enough to actually follow the argument and the exegesis, they will agree that the typical Church view of women is not biblical, that God has designed women to uniquely represent His purposes in specific spheres of influence and that they are intended to be a blessing, not a curse, to their husbands. But this doesn’t really help. It sets up a great schism of cognitive dissonance, that abyss where I know what is true but am unable to put it into action. Men are afraid to let women play the role they know God intended because to do so would mean setting aside control and, more importantly, the hope of filling their own felt needs. This fear is so powerful that men either reject the biblical teaching of Guardian Angel or they submit to the newly discovered role of their wives but hide who they really are behind impenetrable walls of numbing behavior.

I realize that this “analysis” seems too academic. It’s time for real examples. And the best person to use as an example is the author of the book since I know him better than anyone else in the world.

I wrote Guardian Angel because I saw the travesty of the typical treatment and theological bias toward to women. As I read Scripture, especially the Hebrew text of Genesis, it became clear to me that God’s design was radically different than religious practice, no matter what major religion one examined. I hoped to clarify the original design in order to provide inspiration and validation for women—and as a result, vastly improve relationships with husbands. But I underestimated the resistance two thousand years of cultural training can create. I know how this most vital relationship is supposed to work, but I find myself in constant internal conflict over what I know to be true but am afraid to allow. It’s important for me to understand why I feel such resistance, especially since it is not over disagreement about the meaning of the biblical texts. What I discovered is emotional sabotage.

I grew up in a world where men don’t cry. In fact, not only do they not cry, they do their level best to remain aloof from emotion. Feelings are frighteningly out of control. Of course, I still want to feel good, but I don’t want the equally possible experience of feeling helpless, insignificant, worthless or governed. I want to be in charge of my world, not in some megalomaniacal way, but in a way that allows me to manage the world so that I have a reasonable chance at personal happiness. I don’t need all the power. I’m smart enough to see the anarchist behind such a desire. What I want is enough power so that I feel good about my life. That, of course, means exercising control over others. In my world, a man who is pushed along by other people is somehow defective. He is less than a man. He has failed.

What I realize now, in principle, is that this is the natural growth of the yetzer ha’ra, the motivating force that causes me to want to change the world to meet my needs. In its most basic form, it is absolutely necessary for life. I want shelter, but not just a sheet of corrugated metal on pieces of shipping crates. I want shelter that I can be proud of, that comforts me. I want food. Not sustenance. Meals! Good ones (at least sometimes). I want clothing that speaks about who I feel I am. And I want a wife who satisfies me. Ultimately I want children who love me and whom I love and a purpose for living that reaches beyond staying alive. What I discover, however, is that as these basic needs are fulfilled, my motivating energy expands to embrace more desires. One car becomes two. One vacation becomes many. One gourmet meal becomes several. One sexual experience becomes the desire for more—and better. The exercise of my yetzer ha’ra pushes me to control more and more of the world around me so that my desires, now categorized as “needs,” will continue to be fulfilled.

The ‘ezer kenegdo is a threat to all of this. She reins me in—for my own good, of course, since she is God’s brake on my speeding path toward self-in-control. But if often doesn’t feel like it is for my own good because she opposes the aggression of my yetzer ha’ra. I have a hard time submitting to her godly advice even if I know it is from God because underneath all this is my desire to have it my way. Perhaps the principal role of the ‘ezer kenegdo is simply to be there, to be a present physical reminder that I am not God and that He has in fact provided a way for me to acknowledge what submission really feels like.

So the ‘ezer kenegdo is a threat—but she is a glorious, heavenly threat because she is a threat to my constant temptation toward idolatry, that is, the worship of myself as the one in control. And what I discover in the process of allowing her to actually do what she was designed to do (to nurture, protect, provide and chastise me), is that this is what love really is, not “head over heels” emotional fantasy but rather the day-to-day lesson of mutual cooperation and intimate fellowship.

It just takes a long time for me to really undo all those years of training that opposed the Genesis design. Please forgive me along the way. I’m trying.

by Skip Moen, D. Phil. (http://skipmoen.com)

 

If you would like to hear Skip in person and you’re in the midwest (or not!) plan on hearing him August 18-19 in Kansas City, MO! Contact us for more info! Or check it out and register at Ezer Kenegdo 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *