Melvin Wong 黃偉康
Fathers have been misunderstood and under-rated, and this has hurt men and women for generations. To redeem and prevent these hurts, we need to aspire for and expect a higher level of non-toxic forms of masculinity from boyhood to manhood, and to achieve some level of godliness. Toxic Masculinity is a gender-relational paradigm based on personal identity insecurity of “win-lose”, “dominant-submissive” model. This is about control and emotional superiority. When there must be winners there are losers; for men to “win” generally the women that the men inadvertently tried to “love” must be losers. Evil, the invisible power of Darkness takes advantage of the selfishness of all men and women, and in some exceptional situations to perpetuate heinous violations of godliness in people. Human trafficking, while egregious, is just one of the unavoidable results. Evil is a Dark spiritual manifestation, so just being moral, or ethical in the futile secular hope for relief doesn’t work very well.
A godly father is first a godly husband, and a godly husband is first a godly man. Being a godly man is a rare quality to be observed and cannot be self-proclaimed, as saying “I am a very humble person!” may sounds good on the surface but profoundly troubling and disturbing to the ears of the wise. A godly father must be judged by his fruits: What does his children say about him and more importantly, what does his wife say about him! Regardless of his best of intentions, experience, level of spirituality, credentials and claims; his godly-fathering heart must, and can only be evaluated mostly by his loved-ones.
How a godly man becomes a godly husband and father?
This is within the character development and personality of the man that govern his behaviors. These qualities can be learned and trained! It is a hard and serious choice to be good and remain good all the time! It is not only about the avoidance of doing bad, which can simply be a moral choice to be “upright”. Godliness is a very personal spiritual discipline in obedience, and to seek after, and to emulate the character of God as manifested in the person of Jesus Christ in His humility. This is close to impossible to achieve as no one can be like God in terms of perfection, only be as close to God as possible.
How can this be done as hard as it sounds?
First it must be your personal choice: based on your personal relationship with Jesus Christ to reach Godliness. This is about relationships. To be “Christ-like” is about the trinity which is based on the Trinitarian relationships, so godliness must be relationally manifested. Godly boys grew up with godly parents, and or teachers, pastors, coaches, mentors and Godparents. Godly men can discern Godliness in other men and flocked to one another to form communities of godly men for support and inspiration. Most often, this can be found in a few healthy Christian Churches.
Second, to take personal responsibility to transform ourselves from our personal brokenness resulting from our dysfunctional family-of-origins, as part of an unavoidable fallen nature of humankind in the toxic masculine culture all over the world. This transformation can take the form of personal counseling from a skilled clinician, support groups for freedom from addictions, as well as some special churches that can provide answers for these struggles.
Thirdly, as evil is a spiritual influence that can manifest in the insidious corruption of a person in the form of domination and oppression; regular spiritual renewal and growth must be a daily routine. To stay spiritually awake with mindfulness! To have the sensitivity in heart to practice: “He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you but to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8
Fourthly, and most importantly, is to live the life of Godliness in being humbly and walk with God. A godly husband listens to his wife, and listens to his daughters and sons. In public, he listens and respects women and can take their advice seriously, not only those with authority but all females. A godly man is a generous man!
How to make this happen locally?
Toxic masculinity is like a silent cancer that insidiously and pervasively metastasizes in the culture of all nations. To reduce this lethal spread, we need to “signal and wake-up” and encourage growths of healthy cells in the cellular level in the “healthy body” of local cultures to “shrink” the growth of this cancer and stop the metastasizing.
This will be a work in progress and it will generally happen in small steps over years.
First, “the seed sowing stage by first preparing the soil” we need to seek out like-minded leaders locally to gather a group of core leaders. These are local men and husbands who manifest godliness in their lives. We will need to network with like-minded organizations to work and serve as a team in partnership serving local communities.
Second, we will next share the vision in educational conferences and meetings for all who want to hear about godly Men. We need to provide credible and trusted role-models of godly men, and their wives will need to be involved. For example, these wives will tell us about the qualities of their husbands that make them role-models for their sons and daughters. These will be promoted in social media platforms in the local languages so godly manhood can be shared in public so we can sow the seed of hope. In these conferences, special topics like addictions and anger management will be discussed so men and boys can learn skills to manage temptations. “Meeting the Emotional Needs of Wives” will be taught by mental health professionals. Fathering skills as well as effective parenting skills will be included. Videos, audio recordings, pamphlets and booklets on these subjects will be published for local use, for example in places of worship and social gatherings and social service agencies.
Third, we will need to enlist regional help in establishing organizations like “Dads for Life Cambodia”, “Good Fathering Movement Cambodia” with the help from regional leaders from Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Taiwan. We will then have annual conferences to keep these seeds growing to pick up momentum so communities can bear fruits.
Melvin Wong, Ph.D.
California Licensed Clinical Psychologist, PSY12233
Colombia International University, Director and adjunct Professor: Chinese Master’s in Clinical Counseling Program
Former Honorary Pastoral Counseling Program Director of the Hong Kong Baptist Theological Seminary
Former Assistant Clinical Professor: University of California in San Francisco, School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry