Several weeks ago I preached 1 Corinthians 6. We got to the list of people who will not inherit the Kingdom and I read the words “effeminate men.” I really wanted to unpack this. Was Paul saying every man who doesn’t act like a lumber jack is disqualified from Heaven? Not at all. That doesn’t line up with the rest of Scripture. So, what does he mean here?
Paul is unpacking the sin list…again. These are things that the Church in Corinth struggled with. All sin is deadly; debilitating. But these are the ones that were keeping the people there from following the Lord. This particular word is referring to the male in the homosexual relationship who acts like the female. He is in no way saying men who have feminine tendencies can’t get into Heaven. He is saying to act like this goes against all that is holy and to continue acting like this after being exposed to the Gospel is proof of your outright rebellion. Only in Christ can we walk away from our sin. His urge to the Corinthians is to submit to Jesus so you can leave your sin!
Another way of translating this word is “soft men.” The topic is much wider than the homosexual audience would like for it to be. This sin has taken root in any man’s heart who refuses to be what God has created us to be. And what is that? A leader who serves his family, who loves the Church, who knows how to find and obey truth, and who gives himself wholeheartedly to the mission God has established for us. This isn’t personality driven, it’s Gospel driven. It’s not based on muscle strength but willingness. It has little to do with likes and dislikes and everything to do with God’s desires for your life.
A soft man refuses to accept blame. He accuses everyone around him, saying they are to blame for his own actions. The soft man will never be able to love. Love is not love. We’ve never had the freedom to define love. God is love. Love looks like Him, not us. This man will always wrestle with choosing to love someone based on God’s design, not his own feelings or desires. Soft men will never choose to lay down their lives for a bigger cause. They see their own plan as the most important thing in their lives. Their lives will be filled with lies and manipulation, because they are only out to get their own way.
It’s easy enough for a real man to spot a soft man. They stand out like a sore thumb. Some guys will get their feelings hurt reading this and say I’m trying to pitch myself as the perfect guy who has it all together. Let me assure you, I am not. I know full well my weaknesses. But I also know the capability of our faithful God to stand me up despite my failures. I know what it looks like to be redeemed and loved in a way that is totally undeserved. I cannot follow Jesus and continue to be soft. I have to stand up.
We are seeing a soft epidemic today among men. One way this is manifesting itself is through the quiet quitting movement. The idea is for the employee to do just enough to keep their job; just quit everything else. It prides itself in sleeping at work, missing meetings, taking the max number of vacation and sick days, surfing the internet on work time, finding ways to shortcut the assigned tasks…it is a gross misunderstanding of what it means to be a man and accept the responsibility of a job. But we are looking at a generation of men who’ve been held for so long they don’t know how to work. They think it’s funny to stick it to the man as often as possible. They have no thought of how this is affecting their future or what they are teaching their kids. They have no idea what they might do if they were fired. They’re just dosing and day dreaming through life. This is the soft man.
One of the greatest consequences this has on our culture is empty kids. We see them all the time. They fend for themselves, dress themselves, feed themselves and generally raise themselves. Why? There is no leader in the home. Their dad has chosen the soft route and given up. Is there hope?
Dad must come to the place where he is willing to put his wants and needs behind those of his family. Running the streets at night, shooting the bull with the boys all weekend, sleeping around on his wife, joking about booze and drugs are all signs that the man is soft; he only cares for himself. Come on man! God made you for more than this! Your life isn’t a funny meme on Facebook. It matters to people, especially the ones God has placed close to you. Give them an option to grow up and be what God has designed them to be. Ask Jesus to change you so you can change life for them. Stop playing around! Today is the day to step out of this game you’ve been playing!
If these words hit you, you know you need to get out. Go to a faithful man God has placed in your life and ask him for help. Real men are ready to serve. I promise you that guy will lay down whatever he is doing and focus on you. Don’t live soft forever. Change the pattern today for those who are following you.