This blog post will also serve as Episode 36 of my Podcast.
This Guide is Harmless
I would like to present to you, without any introductions or fanfare, the Harmless Guide to Being a Better Man. This post is meant to be a companion to the upcoming book release and the made-for-TV movie. Well, OK... that part is not true at all.
The Harmless Guide to being a Better Man is, at its core, a two step process. Keep in mind, though, these two steps aren't like the two steps leading up to a comfy patio with a reclining lawn chair... they are more like the two types of steps that one will take to get anywhere: a step with the right foot and a step with the left foot. In other words, these two steps aren't a "1 and 2 and ... done!" They are ongoing, forever progressing, sometimes more difficult (like stairs), sometimes more cautious (like stepping stones across a creek), sometimes changing the rhythm or direction (like when playing a sport), and sometimes with greater effort (like when running).
In honor of my father-in-law, who by the way, actually is a great man, I will apply some of his advice in the typing of this post. He once told me, "K.I.S.S. -- Keep It Simple Stupid." ... and I wasn't even offended that he did it right before I started preaching!
This step is simple. Just do the right thing. Don't let anything else play a role in determining what you do. Men aren't Disney Princesses, so we aren't following our hearts. Besides, the heart is deceitful and desperately sick! (See Jeremiah 17:9). As a better man, the heart still has a voice, but it is never allowed a vote at mental-decision council meetings.
Great men do the right thing with a seemingly blatant disregard toward how they feel. They work, because it is right. They have jobs, because it is right. They clock in on time, because it is right. They take care of their families, tend their yards, study the Word, attend church consistently, avoid "mental health" days, get up with their sick children, pay their bills with earned money, rise early, work late, refuse to watch pornography, sleep when needed, stay faithful to their wives, discipline their children, refuse to take drugs, speak respectfully to their superiors, practice moderation with alcohol, help other people, break bad habits, give their tithes (and above), pay their taxes, speak with honesty and integrity, deal fairly with others, listen to wise counsel, and give their best efforts in everything... Why? Simply because it is right.
You really can say that there are basically two ways to live: You can either live this life based on feelings or based on principles. Great men, without exception, are principle-based people when it comes to their actions, decisions, and even their thoughts. Things like fatigue, desire, hunger, lust, exhaustion, and anger are all refracted through the prism of their principles. For example, fatigue tells great men that sleep might be needed, but will be balanced with job completion, family need, responsibility, and safety -- with the decision to sleep ultimately being done for the exact same reason they do anything else - because it is right.
This step isn't always the first step, but in the Harmless Guide it is. Start here. We all have things that we already believe to be right, start doing those things. If you are not sure where to start... Get a job, if you don't have one.
Step 2: Know what is Right.
There are right things and there are wrong things. Regardless of what anyone says, we all believe this to be true, the only difference is where the line is drawn. There are a myriad of ways that this line can be drawn, and for many it is an ever-fluctuating line. Great men don't operate this way, they seek what is right, not by their own standards or the standards of the populace, but by the standards of the one who creates standards. Individuals are flawed, the masses just make flawed assessments (which is why a true democracy won't last and those democracies with checks and balances will still require a noble, upright, honorable people to continue to function in noble, upright and honorable ways).
Great men base their beliefs on things that are more ancient than they are. True "rightness" must stand the test of time, to show itself truly right, and there is no other book that has endured such scrutiny for a longer amount of time than the Canon of Scripture (The Bible). It has shown itself to be of a rock-solid foundation in its infallibility, a stalwart beacon in its inerrancy, and unflinchingly timeless in its truth. (Feel free to challenge me on this.)
When men know what is actually right and then do that right... they will be better men.
The Better Man's Motto
These two steps combined will create the Better Man's motto: Do What You Know. This has been this Harmless Man's motto for over 20 years, and it hasn't failed me yet. There are plenty of things that I don't know, but I haven't reached the end of doing what I already know. Many a man gets caught up in this, and their step falter. Better Men always know that there is an option that is right, and that is what they will do. Sometimes what is right is simply known by being Not Wrong. Great Men don't do wrong, and when they find that they have, either by choice or ignorance, then will immediately seek to ask forgiveness for their wrong (if needed), correct their wrong (if possible), and avoid that wrong (in the future).
I don't have any. You can always do what is right. There is not a person on this planet that doesn't have the ability to do right. Doing right doesn't depend on equality or equity, nobody needs more boxes to stand on, in order to do the right thing. Doing right doesn't need money, health, shelter, power, or privilege.
I know that there is much more that could be said here. In the same way that using your two feet can look like walking, running, jogging, sidestepping, skipping, marching, dancing, or leaping... Great men do what they know, even if (to the world) they look like they need to be reported to the Ministry of Silly Walks.
If any of this offends you, well... I guess you will just need to do what you think is right.