Do Men Need to Lead? (by Len Winneroski)

Unknown-1Yesterday I was scrolling through my Facebook traffic and saw the following comment from my friend Crissy, “If I ever wrote a Christian book it would be called “The Need to Lead; narcissism exposed.” This comment grabbed my attention. When I went back later to read all of the follow-up comments, I read, “Would it be dedicated to all men of our generation and those that follow?” Although the original comment didn’t specifically say, men need to lead, some of the follow-up comments suggested to me that some of the women interpreted it that way.

This was a great post, and although the goal of it may have been good-natured sarcasm, as a man, I’ll man up and admit that there is probably some truth to these comments. Now before you guys (and gals) go off on me, let me say that I can only speak for one man, the man writing these words. Those that know me, know that I like to talk and that I’m not afraid to say what I think. And yes, sometimes I feel the need to lead.

Occasionally I stop talking (and writing) long enough to listen to others. When I practice this dying art of restraint, I usually learn something. In my opinion, all of my fellow armpit scratching, bodily noise making, football watching, meat eating, gun shooting, muscle car driving, truth-stretching brothers would learn something if we listened more to our wiser, smarter, more caring, more giving, more empathetic, more mature, and sometimes brutally honest sisters.

Truth be told, I didn’t even know what narcissism meant until I read Niccolò Machiavelli’s book, The Prince a few years ago. Narcissism is defined as, “extreme selfishness, with a grandiose view of one’s own talents and a craving for admiration, as characterizing a personality type,” and worse yet, ” self-centeredness arising from failure to distinguish the self from external objects, either in very young babies or as a feature of mental disorder.”

So basically, this post was saying that men who “need to lead” might be doing so because they really think that the world “needs” them and they expect the world’s admiration in return. Adolf Hitler is a male poster child for narcissism. I’m not a shrink, but I think that it’s safe to say that Hitler had narcissistic personality disorder which is defined as, “a (mental) condition in which people have an excessive sense of self-importance, an extreme preoccupation with themselves, and lack of empathy for others.”

So are we narcissistic guys? I can’t speak for other men, but to be honest it does describe me sometimes. Sometimes I crave admiration from others. Sometimes I think that I’m more important than I should. Sometimes I am self-centered, and sometimes I’m not very empathetic towards the needs of others. Thankfully, God gave me a beautiful, loving, patient, kind, empathetic, discerning, wise and Godly wife who calls me out when I’m being, well…narcissistic. God certainly knew what He was doing when he made woman. God said, “It’s not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” (Genesis 2:18). Thank you Lord for my helper! God knew that man would need a good kick in the butt sometimes and I would contend that He created woman to do it for Him! I know that my life would be a complete mess without help from my sweetie.

I don’t want to be narcissistic. I’m not exactly sure what drives this nasty behavior. Maybe it’s because I was picked on as a child. I was short, fat and slow most of my childhood (and adulthood). When the neighborhood boys were picking teams for football or kick the can I was always the last one picked. I also remember working up the courage to tell a little girl that rode my bus that I liked her. I was devastated when she laughed at me and said, “Lenny you’re nice, and I would be your girl friend if you weren’t so fat.” I’m not writing these things to embarrass myself and make excuses for my narcissistic behavior (although I’m doing a very good job of it). I’m just willing to be honest in my self-analysis to try to figure out why in the heck I act narcissistic sometimes. My guess is that a lot of the men out there who are narcissistic have similar stories of being picked on, being rejected by a father, or growing up feeling rejected by women. I’m sorry ladies, we can’t all be tall, dark and handsome. To make matters worse, many of us lose our hair to boot!

I don’t know how to land this thought plane, so I’ll just end with this. Guys, just stop it! Stop acting like spoiled, selfish little boys. Shut up and listen to your wives. Wives are a blessing to protect you from yourselves. And you don’t always need to lead. Some of the best leaders that I’ve followed were women. And women, please continue to be patient with us. When we act narcissistic it may be because we are “damaged goods.” We may act tough, but we are really soft in the middle, and we need to hear that you love us and are proud of us often (whether we deserve it or not). Try it ladies and see what happens to your caveman. Most of my species are easily broken when we feel respected and loved.

Maybe we would all be better leaders if we learned how to be better followers.

7 thoughts on “Do Men Need to Lead? (by Len Winneroski)

  1. There are a handful of verses that made it pretty clear that men were the preferred leaders 2,000 years ago. Generally they were more educated and had status enough to vote. Some Christians interpret these commands to be applicable even today. “I do not permit women to exercise authority over men”, “women must be silent in keeping with the law”, “man is the head of woman”, “woman was made for man” … These teachings really bother me because they focus on the relationship between men and women and distract us from serving God together. If we are so busy debating over who is first, will we find the time to tell others of Jesus` love for them?

  2. In answer to the “why” we tend to be narcissists – Our gaze when left unchecked drifts toward self, and self has a bodyguard/promoter known as pride. Our two core sins. Good post friend!

  3. You are spot on, Leonard!!! I agree 100% with what you said, and the way you said it. I do not think man should always be the one to lead. And I also really, really don’t like the word “submission”. I know it’s in the Bible and all, but we should, men and women, only be “submissive” to our Lord and Savior. I consider my wife of 22 years to be my equal and my partner, in this adventure that we call life. I have to say I am a blessed man to have her in my life. Thanks.

  4. Men are not just the preferred leaders 2000 years ago. Here is a simple fact. God in the Old Testament expected men to be the leaders in the home. Adam is rebuked for his failure to lead when he sinned, God worked through the patriarchs of the faith. Abraham, Jacob, Moses, David etc… That never lessons the role of women or undermines the importance of women in the old Testament or now. God also used women in the Old Testament such as Deborah, Ruth, Esther, Sarah, etc… they are not lesser individuals.
    Yet God, who is a God of order in everything, also gives us order in marriage relationships. In the New Testament it has nothing to do with a cultural “need” for men to lead because they were preferred”, rather it was a mandate by God. Men are considered, by God, to be the head of the home. Just as Christ is the head of the church. The fact that God uses that parallel makes it a constant truth that isn’t bound by culture. Men are to be the leaders, heads(Ephesians 5), in the home. But that leadership is to be defined by love, just as Christ served and loved the church by dying for her. That love is to be defined as a self-sacrificing love that has the best interest of it’s object in mind(Agape). So the man doesn’t treat his wife as a doormat but as an object he values greatly and he serves her in his leading her. He must lead in this way, just as Christ leads this way.
    Because God is a God of order he also commands, not optional, the wife to submit to her husband(Ephesians 5). We just can’t throw out the word submit in the Bible because we “don’t like it.” That is the word God used. That word submit speaks of one who willingly places themselves under the authority of another individual. Again the argument God uses is, “just as the church submits to Christ in everything.” Are we going to say, the church no longer needs to submit to Christ because we don’t like that word, or submission is an outmoded term in today’s culture? No! God Forbid! We are not changing scripture because we don’t like the words used in the Bible.
    Using the example of Christ and the church once again takes submission out of the context of culture. The role God gives husbands in a marriage is to lead, is a great responsibility. The buck stops ultimately with him. The role God gives women in a marriage is to submit, also a great responsibility. No one can make her do it, she does it because she loves God and wants to serve God. She willingly places herself under his leadership. She willingly follows his loving leadership. If you look at proverbs 31, the wife in proverbs 31 is quite industrious using her skills and abilities for the greater good of their relationship, under his leadership. Ephesians 5 also states that the wife is to respect her husband. 1Peter 3 uses Sarah as an example of a wife who submitted to her husband and the scriptures say this, “For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands…” God saw Sarah’s beauty not as an external thing but an internal beauty demonstrating her faith in God by her submission to Abraham.
    God is the designer of marriage(Genesis 2) he understands best how a marriage should function. He, in his sovereignty has given roles for marriage in his word. God also has given roles for the church. Again, these are God given roles. One of the roles in the church that God has given is again that men are the primary leaders and teachers(specifically in a preaching context–where there is teaching over the whole church) In 1 Timothy and Titus the overseer is “the husband of one wife.” God isn’t unintentional in his directives, the word was given to us by men as they were “carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter) In 1 Timothy 2 What is being forbid here is women to be in a church teaching mode, where they are leading a congregation. What takes this out of the cultural context is the statement, “…for Adam was formed first, then Eve..” Again these are God ordained roles given to the church and again it does not lessen the importance or role women can have in the life of a local church. They just cannot lead in a pastoral-preaching role.

  5. It depends on the situation, If direction toward Christ is required, and no one else is doing it, yes, sometimes when someone else has clearer vision of the way, I follow. So Lon as the compass points of Scripture, the Holy Spirit, and Christian teaching line up!

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