What’s Wrong With Me?

Has there ever been a guy in your life who made you ask this question?  Or maybe it was a girl friend.  As soon as you started hanging out with this person, you started hating the way God made you.  You began to wish you were prettier, thinner, more athletic, more girly…just plain different.  The funny thing is, none of the things you started to dislike about yourself were things that God dislikes.  They didn’t have to do with your heart, your faith, your focus on Him.  They had to do with your looks, your personality, your abilities…the very things that God loves and cherishes in you, because He designed them.

Sometimes we have an obsession to be loved, and an obsession to please.  We want to be valued and liked and needed, because we find our worth in relationships with others.  Sometimes this becomes so important to us, that we change ourselves completely in order to fit someone else’s definition of beautiful or worthy.  We can even find ourselves willing to exchange the essense of who we are, and all we stand for and believe in, for the approval of others.

Do you struggle with wanting to please people?  Does your desire to be liked and accepted usurp your passion to honor God?  If so, you are not alone.  But it’s important to realize that just because this is a common struggle, doesn’t make it OK.

If a guy or girl you know makes you feel inferior because of what you look like or enjoy, or what you believe in, that is not a person worth pleasing.  In fact, they’re probably not someone you should want be spending time with!  No true friend will make you feel this way, because a friend looks at the heart and encourages and builds you up, rather than looking at externals and tearing you down.  A true friend doesn’t make you ask, “What’s wrong with me?”  Someone who makes you want to change, to look better, to act differently in order to be accepted and liked, is not worth your time or your trust.

Jesus Christ is the only One truly worth living for, and He loves you just as you are.  He is willing to transform you from the inside out to reflect His holiness and purity, but you can never do or say or be anything that will diminish His love.  He does not judge you because of what you look like.  And when you come to Him with all you are, all your hopes and dreams, everything that matters to you, He is completely trustworthy.  He will never leave your or forsake you, and His love is eternal and perfect.

Dear sister, nothing is “wrong” with the way God made you.  This is not to say that you are perfect or sinless, because you aren’t.  None of us are.  We are all fallen and all of us desperately need the transforming work of our Savior.  And He is faithful to complete that good work in us, making us into the shining reflection of spotless beauty we were always meant to be.

Rejoice in this!  Rejoice in being the girl that God made you to be.  Live life in His service and for His glory and do not be ashamed of your walk with your Lord or the person that He designed you to be.  And don’t let anyone take your eyes off of Him.  Spend your time with people who love you as God made you, and encourage you to walk ever more closely with Him.

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God of the Brokenhearted

Lately I’ve been wondering what it means to have a broken heart, because there are times when mine feels cracked around the edges.  I know what it is to cry myself to sleep.  I know that there are times when I wonder if anything will ever be the same again.  I know what it is to be so afraid that I can’t imagine anything making that fear go away.  Afraid for my future…afraid of being alone…afraid of what will happen to those I love.  I know what it is to long with all my soul just to hug someone I love one last time…someone who is gone out of my life forever.  I miss their smile.  I’m tired of being alone.  I’m tired of these lonely miles.

I thought I found the love I’d dreamed of.  And those moments were some of the happiest of my life…just beginning to trust again.  Letting myself let go of those inhibitions and fears, those warnings and what-ifs and torturous premonitions.  I wanted so badly to make it right.  And now I am broken, again.  Disappointed and crushed and all the more hardened.  In my moments of sunshine I want to trust him again, but I know I shouldn’t.  In my moments of blackness, I doubt I will ever open my heart to anyone again.  I don’t want it to be hurt again.  I would rather stay curled up, like a rose that refuses to bloom, and never let myself feel the sunshine and the gentle breeze and see the blue sky again, because I am terrified of the rain.

Is your heart broken, friend?  Is your soul weary and lonely?  You may hide it with smiles and laughter and flirtatiousness and fun times.  But underneath it all, are you heartsick?  Would you, like me, trade all the attention, all the praise, all the teasing and games and foolishness, for one love that would never ever leave you?  For one lover who is everlasting?

 

I found Him.

 

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
and saves the crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18

“He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3

 

Perfectly Matched

My neighbor and family friend owns her own horse-drawn carriage business. Her barn is filled with exquisite antique, refurbished, and custom-made carriages that she drives for hire at weddings, funerals, in parades or at special events.  She has two gorgeous black Shire horses that are brothers and best friends and so perfectly matched that it is difficult to tell them apart.  They eat and play together and are the same size and build.  They are perfectly matched and perfectly paired to pull the carriages.

Because our modern culture is so different from that of Bible times, sometimes it is difficult to understand the word pictures that would have made perfect sense a few thousand years ago.  One of these is found in 2 Corinthians 6:14-15:

“Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers.  For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness?  Or what fellowship has light with darkness?  What accord has Christ with Belial?  Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever?”

In Biblical times, one would “yoke” two animals together in order to share the weight of a burden.  We could also think of this in the sense of “harnessing”.  In order to yoke or harness a pair of animals together, the animals must be as equally matched as possible.  Their size, strength, gait, and height must be even, or else one of them will end up pulling more than his share, or they will be out of step.

In the classic book Black Beauty by Anna Sewell, the protaganist (a horse named Black Beauty) gives his perspective on pulling a carriage with another horse, Ginger.  I think it’s a good picture of being “equally yoked”.

“I wondered how we should get on together; but except laying her ears back when I was led up to her, she behaved very well.  She did her work honestly, and did her full share, and I never wish to have a better partner in double harness.  When we came to a hill, instead of slackening her pace she wold throw her weight right into the collar, and pull away straight up.  We had both the same sort of courage at our work, and John had oftener to hold us in than to urge us forward; he never had to use the whip with either of us; then our paces were much the same, and I found it very easy to keep step with her when trotting, which made it pleasant, and master always liked it when we kept step well, and so did John.”

When the Bible talks about not being “unequally yoked” with an unbeliever, it means that believers cannot be tied, partnered, or teamed with unbelievers in close relationships, because they will be unable to see things in the same way and therefore they will be incompatible.  Believers have no more in common with unbelievers, aside from basic human experience, than light has with darkness or Christ has with the devil.  They are absolute opposites.  God commands us not to be paired with non-Christians, because we will see the world so differently that the relationship will be essentially going in two different directions.

Many people use this passage in a dating or marriage sense, and truly it does apply.  But this command also applies to friendships and business partnerships, and any other close human relationships.  This doesn’t mean that Christians should not associate with non-believers; after all, we are commanded to “go into all the world and preach the gospel”, and Christ was called the “friend of sinners”.  Imagine what would have happened if believers refused to associate with you when you were unsaved!  Chances are you wouldn’t be a believer right now.  So that is not what Christ is commanding us.  This passage simply means that we should not have close, intimate, trusting partnerships with those who see the world from a fundamentally different and godless viewpoint.  This encompasses close, influential friendships, professional partnerships, and dating/marriage relationships.

So is God just trying to spoil our fun?  Make life miserable to see how faithful we will be to Him?  Force us to live lives of colorless, joyless drudgery in His service?  No, He’s looking out for our best interest.

Imagine pairing an ox with a poodle or a beautiful Belgian horse with a runty Shetland pony.  There is nothing beautiful or purposeful about a partnership like this, and the stronger creature will end up pulling all or most of the weight alone.  Or maybe the poodle will get distracted and want to go somewhere else.  Or maybe the Shetland won’t able to keep up.  This is a fruitless endeavor, and it will lead to frustration and misery.

But I love to watch my neighbor drive her perfect team of Shires down the road.  Not only are they best friends, they are totally alike and perfectly matched.  Everything they do is together.  They’re identical and it’s a beautiful to watch.

Our Father knows what is best for us.  When He commands us to form close, lasting relationships only with fellow believers, it is for our own good and happiness.  Throughout the years, relationships with those who share your worldview and love for Christ will be a great blessing and joy.  You’ll find yourself spared from unnecessary suffering, disappointment, longing and loneliness, and instead will experience rich fellowship and joy, and a companionship that nothing can take away, and that will last for eternity.  God is not trying to steal our joy through this command.  He is freeing us to experience true joy and vision.

Jesus Christ died for you, dear Christian.  He gave His life’s blood for Your sin.  He should be the center of your life and the desire of your heart.  Why would you want to form some of the most important relationships of your life with those who distract from that vision and do not share that love and passion?  He is all that matters.  We chose to prioritize other things in relationships; why not a shared faith in Christ?  Chose to be influenced by those who will only enhance and encourage your devotion to Him.  Like a perfectly matched team sharing the same burden, you will be encouraged by each other’s presence, relieved in your load, and exactly in step.

Looking for love…

 

With Valentine’s Day come and gone, some of us are recalling sweet February-the-14th memories, and others of us are just hoping that next year will be better.  We hope we’re standing on the brink of something new, and Prince Charming is right around the corner, and we’re just about to be swept off our feet.

Meanwhile, there is Someone who loves us dearly, but it’s so easy to ignore His quiet, persistent presence.  Wrapped up in this waiting-for-my-Prince vision, we forget the King of Kings who loves us so perfectly and devotedly.  He is the One who will never leave or forsake us, and His love keeps going even when human love disappoints.

We dream of the perfect guy who would bring us flowers and chocolate on Valentine’s Day, sing us our favorite songs when we’re sad, call at all the right times.  But our Father in Heaven has given us every flower that ever bloomed, written us a Letter of love and comfort, and quiets our anxious hearts with His enduring promises every day.  He strengthens us, guides us, nurtures us, and promises us an eternity with Him in Heaven.  He loves us with a perfect love that never fails.  And, more than anything, He gave us a way of salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ, who gave His life for us.

“But God demonstrated His own love toward us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

Girls, I know it’s easy to get caught up in those chick flicks and love songs and wish we were loved that way.  But here’s the thing: none of us will ever find a perfect guy.  There will be a time when even the “boy of our dreams” will just cease to appeal.  There’ll be a time when he leaves us in the lurch, says the wrong thing, hurts our feelings.  No matter how good he is, he’ll never be perfect.  And we shouldn’t expect him to be.

The only perfect lover of our souls is Jesus Christ…who will never, never fail us.

I’ve been disillusioned by boys who promised me the moon and stars.  I’ve been broken by guys who didn’t know how to truly love me; whose selfish interests came first.  I’ve been left, abandoned, embittered, jaded.  I’ve cried myself to sleep over a boy I thought would be my everything. 

But Jesus Christ, my Savior and my Lord and my Best Friend, has never left me.  He has never deserted me or hurt me.  I trust Him with everything I am, and I know that I never need to be afraid.  He is faithful.

Someday, you may find a special someone who will hold you and love you as long as he lives.  He’ll be able to love you as you deserve, because he has learned from the God who is Love.  But he will be just another gift…another blessing…from the hand of God.  Your love story will be written by His hand.

Life is a lesson in loving Him.  Every day…every breath…every wildflower…every whisper…every moment…is a Valentine from Him.  Being able to hold the hand of a boy who loves Him too is sweet and precious indeed.  But this this is not the end or the means.  It is just another tool He uses to teach us how to love Him more.  It is just another blessing from the hand of our perfect Savior, who loves to give us good things.

You can face February 14th without a Valentine’s card in your mailbox, because you are dearly loved by the One who made the stars and died for your sins.  He knows everything about you…even those things you think most hideous…and has chosen to love you anyway.  Not because you deserve it.  But because He wants to.

Indescribable, uncontainable,

You see the depths of my heart,

and You love me the same.

You are amazing, God.

This is a love worth living for.

Part 3: Self-Serving Chivalry (A Warning to Christian Guys)

 

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I know this third part installment of SK’s Chivalry series has been very long in the coming!  I apologize for that.

Since writing Part 1 (True Chivalry) and Part 2 (A Girl’s Response), I’ve been totally surprised at how popular these posts have been with readers.  According to the WordPress blog stats, they’ve been the most popular posts on SK, partly because of many searches with phrases like “chivalry” (one of the top searches that brings folks to SK), “ways to show chivalry”, etc.  Apparently women want and appreciate chivalry (and men want to be chivalrous) more than pop culture would have us believe!

This last part of the series is really an admonition to guys…so pass it on to your brothers if you think it would help them.  My purpose isn’t to bash anyone or to judge, but only to share something I have noticed.  And that is false chivalry…or, as I like to call it…self-serving chivalry.  That’s when a guy tries to “flirt” or get a girl to notice him by treating her with deference and respect…or when he shows a chivalrous attitude only to women he finds attractive or interesting.  This is perhaps one of the biggest stumbling blocks and temptations when it comes to chivalry, but guys need to realize how truly hurtful and repulsive self-serving “chivalry” can be.

Teen writer Brett Harris puts this issue clearly in his article, Counterfeit Chivalry; “Men, if we only show courtesy to certain girls on certain days when we are in certain moods, we are not gentlemen. If we show courtesy to women in public but fail to do the same for our mother and sisters, we are not gentlemen.  In fact, if our motivation for serving a woman is anything other than, ‘This is a woman that I have been called to serve and protect,’ we have counterfeit chivalry. We must continually remind ourselves that women deserve our service regardless of their age or appearance.”

True chivalry is not acting gentlemanly in order to get attention, or by being “selective” with who you chose to treat with respect.  If you open the door for a pretty girl at church, you better be willing to do the same for the elderly woman in the store.  Chivalry is treating women of all ages and types and appearances with deference and respect…not because you can get anything out of it, but because it is what Christ would have you do.

It’s easy to offer a young lady you are interested in a seat when she’s standing.  It’s impressive and looks good.  And there’s nothing wrong with being kind to her in that way.  The question is much more elusive…it has to do with the position of your heart and what your motive is.  It’s not as easy to let your sister have the new book first.  It’s a little more tempting to ignore the less attractive girl at youth group who is struggling with a heavy load.  But that is when you are truly being a man…when you are not expecting anything in return, not a thank-you, not a higher opinion in the eyes of others, nothing…and yet you still do the right thing, knowing that the Lord sees and does not forget.  Remember what Jesus says…when you do it for the “least of these”, He sees.  He is watching.  And that is all that matters.

You may not get thanked.  No one may notice your little acts of courtesy.  But the rewards found in cultivating a truly manly heart will outlast any human praise…and you will reap them in your friendships, in your family, and one day, in your marriage.  And more precious still, you will store up for yourself treasures in Heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and thieves cannot break in and steal.

Because I am a girl, you may be thinking “easy for you to say”.  I know it sounds like I’m preaching something that doesn’t apply to me.  However, the lessons of courtesy and self-sacrifice regardless of who to and who sees, apply to both men and women.  This is something that every single Christian must learn…not just men.  But I do think that chivalry and flirting are so sadly entwined many times in our culture, that it deserves a special note to remind the Christian guys out there that chivalry is not “God’s way of flirting” or something like that.  When you love a girl, you want to cherish and protect her, and treat her with extra-special care and respect.  But as Christians, we are demanded to love everyone.  So shouldn’t you treat all women this way?  And when you meet the girl you want to marry, you’ll be glad for the practice, and she will feel privileged to have a man who serves others so selflessly.

I’d like to close on a personal note.  In the first installment of this series, I mentioned a time that a couple of my guy friends helped me out of a big predicament, and how much that touched me.  To this day, I remember that action as the sweetest thing any guy (outside of my family) has done for me.  What made it all the more special was the feeling that they were treating me that way because they cared, not because they wanted anything in return.  They never made me feel bad for my mistake, or brought up their actions like they wanted praise.  These guys never made a big deal about their incredibly selfless actions.  They never asked for anything in return.  They were sixteen year-old boys, juniors in high school, fun-loving guys in the middle of football season, without a care in the world.  And yet they acted like mature gentlemen at a time when I felt truly miserable and needed help, and I will never forget what they did for me.

Guys, you may never know what effect your actions have on the women in your life.  But when you follow Christ’s example of love and self-sacrifice faithfully, even in the little things, you can know and trust that He will use those actions mightily, when you fearlessly chose to be a light of Christian chivalry and selflessness wherever you are.

Part 1 “True Chivalry”

Part 2 “A Girl’s Response to Chivalry”

Part 2: A Girl’s Response to Chivalry

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Your hands are covered with flour, and there’s a spot of it on your nose (though you don’t know it!). On the plate in your hands lies a slice of homemade bread, fresh from the oven. Thick and warm, smeared with creamy butter, drizzled with rich honey. You worked hard to make this golden loaf; kneading, mixing, baking until your arms were sore and the kitchen quite a mess. Then you let it rise while you cleaned up and washed the mountains of dishes. And now your bread is ready, and it was so worth the work! A perfect loaf…golden and crunchy on the outside, soft and fluffy in the center. You breathe deeply and then smile. You can’t wait to see his face.

Because this slice of bread isn’t for you. It’s a surprise for your hardworking papa, who has been working outside all day. You can’t wait to see his face when you show him your treat! Carefully, you balance the plate and a tall glass filled with cool, frothy milk on a tray, and head outdoors to meet your father.

“Dad!” you call. You can’t contain your pleasure, and beam with happiness when he turns to face you. He wipes his sweaty, suntanned face with the back of his arm and smiles to see his daughter coming.

“Look what I made for you!” you say eagerly, “Your favorite, Papa…homemade bread with butter and honey. I worked all morning to make it. Do you like it?” You couldn’t smile wider or sweeter if you tried.

But your father’s face quickly darkens, his expression turning angry and offended. “Well thanks,” he says with biting sarcasm, “But just for future reference, I can make my own food, you know.”

Your smile vanishes. “Wha…what do you mean?” you stammer, miserably.

“I find it a little insulting that my daughter doesn’t think me able to cook,” he retorts, “I’m not helpless.”

“I-I know that, Daddy…” you say, feeling heartbroken, “I know you can cook well. In fact, you can cook some things much better than me. I only meant to show you that I care about you, and I…appreciate you.”

“Well thanks,” he replies stiffly. You hesitate, then set the tray on the ground by your father. Turning on your heel, you run back into the house…

I very much doubt that your father would ever do something like this. Instead, he would smile, give you a big daddy bear-hug and compliment you on how amazing the bread was…even if you put in a bit too much salt! He’d see the kindness displayed in your action, and appreciate the sweet intentions behind it, as he should.

We all see the wrong way the father in the above, fictional illustration acted. We see pride and ingratitude in his words, and we know how much it would hurt to have our good intentions rebuffed so rudely.

By making your father something special, you aren’t implying that he can’t make it himself. You’re just showing him that you love him. By helping your mom wash the dishes, you aren’t saying she does a bad job. You just want to show her that you appreciate all the work she does and would like to help make her load lighter. When you give your friend a sweet gift, you generally aren’t trying to tell her that you think she can’t afford it! It’s just a way of showing her how much she means to you.

So why do we girls treat men and boys with disdain when they show us chivalry?

When a guy opens a door for you, he isn’t implying that you can’t open it for yourself. He is showing deference, respect, and honor for you. A man following this passage is trying to communicate that he honors and cherishes you. This is true chivalry.

On average, women are the weaker vessels, physically and emotionally. But you may be an Olympic gold medalist; a woman athlete stronger and more capable than the average man. You may have a black belt in karate. You may be Miss Annie Oakley herself. That has nothing to do with it. As a woman, men are to show you respect and honor…they are to cherish and esteem you. And so, whether you could beat him in arm wrestling or not, the godly man opens the door for you. He offers you his jacket when its cold or gives you his chair when the room is crowded. He does it because he wants to show you respect and honor.

To accept chivalrous acts is not, as feminism preaches, to degrade yourself or to admit weakness. In countries where women truly are disgraced and degraded, men are never chivalrous. They are bullies, taking advantage of weakness to accomplish their own ends and surpress their wives and daughters. In countries and eras where women are esteemed as God would have them be, we see chivalry, respect and deference, because in such times the female gender is valued and honored.

Girls, don’t allow pride to get in the way of letting guys fulfill their Biblical duty! Allow yourself to be respected and honored. Women in our culture don’t get enough veneration. Under the mask of freedom we bind ourselves to the status of sexual toys by dressing shamelessly and acting with brazen immodesty. We are lowering our own status in this fashion and men see that and respond to it by treating us with less respect.

So when a guy comes along who does those little things that show honor, we sabotage our own end by treating him like the enemy. Men who could care less about our comfort, who lust after us and think of us as little more than objects…they are the ones to avoid. And the truth is, every woman, deep inside her heart, dreams of marrying a gentleman who honors and cherishes her and would put himself in harm’s way to protect her or ensure her comfort.

Our responsibility is to encourage that gentlemanliness in our friends and brothers. Not by chiding or goading or demanding, but just by taking those little opportunities to accept and appreciate chivalry. That speaks to a guy’s heart far more than nagging!

So your little brother offers to lift a heavy box for you? This may annoy you at first. After all, you are stronger than him. Who exactly does he think he is? But stop; this really is just pride speaking. Think of the future, when the women in his life will depend on him. And, for his sake and theirs, accept graciously. “Thank you,” you can say with a genuine smile, “You’re getting so strong and manly! I really appreciate your help.” He’ll probably beam from ear to ear as he hauls away your load; and stand just a little taller than before.

Maybe your guy friend offers to get you a snack during an activity at youth group. Consider pushing down that first impulse to say, “Oh, it’s OK, I can get it!” Of course you can…but let him do it. Allow him to serve you.

At the grocery store, when a guy holds open a door for you, no matter how many piercings or tattoos he’s got appreciate him for the true gentlemanliness he is showing and say a heartfelt thank you.

Show gratitude and appreciation for the little acts of chivalry that pop up around you. They will probably start to become more frequent.

One last note: at this point you may be asking, “But what about me? Aren’t I supposed to serve as well?” Yes, we are, and I think this is a point worth mentioning. Just because guys are supposed to show women respect and honor doesn’t negate our duty as Christians to serve one another. We are still to self-sacrificially put others before ourselves, and take opportunities to give of ourselves for others.

When we follow Christ and His design for the genders, we will definitely reap the rewards in our lives, our relationships, our marriages, our homes and our hearts. After all…this is how it’s supposed to be.

Part 3: Self-Serving Chivalry (A Warning to Christian Guys)

Part 1: True Chivalry

Part 1: True Chivalry

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“Girls are stupid. Chivalry? Why…what kindness are women expected to do for men?”

I saw this phrase on an icon. The picture accompanying those words showed a doodle of a girl with a dress and braids, looking wide-eyed and clueless with question marks by her head. Whatever sort of guy made it was obviously bitter and angry. But then, in all honesty, is his attitude uncommon? Tragically enough, it seems to be the norm.

Our culture is one of give and take. “What can you do for me?” is asked before “What can I do for you?” It makes sense that, with this attitude so prevalent, guys would balk at the idea of chivalry. Some might be angered. “Why should I? What is she giving to me?” Others might be confused. “Women spend their time trying to prove how tough and independent they are. Wouldn’t it be degrading to open a door for the modern liberated woman?”

Guys, let me be honest. Our culture, and particularly our entertainment industry, displays women as tough, karate-kicking, crime-fighting machines that men kill and fight as ruthlessly as they do other men, and songs that degrade females to “sexual object” status. A girl’s pride may cause her to be irritated when you (for example) open a door for her, because she may feel that it implies that you think her weak or helpless. But no woman, in her heart of hearts, is against behind respected, honored, valued, and cherished. Maybe her pride and culture’s influence twist her understanding of the kindness you are trying to show, but deep in her heart, every girl wants to be treated as the priceless princess God created her to be. Make it clear to her in your actions and words that this is all you want: to treat her like she is honorable because that is how you see her. Whether she is five or eighty-five she will appreciate that. (Our next section is on a girl’s response to chivalry; guys should check that out to see what gentlemanliness looks like from a female perspective.)

So what are some practical ways you can show chivalry? Here’s a list of ten ideas. 

  1. When it’s cold, give her your jacket. What an awesome way to give of yourself! I don’t know many (if any) girls that would take issue with this one.
  2. When she’s standing, offer to get her a chair. This doesn’t have to be a big deal. Just ask, “Hey, would you rather sit? I can get you a chair.” She’ll probably say no, maybe because she’s concerned about troubling you. But just asking will make her feel honored.
  3. At a party or gathering, ask if you can get her something to eat or drink. The more casual you are about offering your service, the more comfortable she will feel. Remember; if you really desire to serve the women in your life, never make chivalry seem like a big “all about me, you may kiss my hand” kind of thing. You don’t want to make yourself the knight in shining armor, but the servant who puts others before himself and doesn’t ask for recognition. Remember what Jesus said; “The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve.” How much more should we desire to give of ourselves for others.
  4. Help her out when she’s in trouble. You may think this is a no-brainer, but open your eyes and look for opportunities to help out the women around you. Maybe an elderly lady forgot her Bible in her car; offer to get it for her. Your mom could use some help carrying in the groceries; go without being asked. One of your female friends looses her car keys at youth group; help her out in looking for them. Actions like this speak louder than words. I’ll never forget the time a couple of my guy friends self-sacrificially helped me out of a tough situation. It meant a lot to me and showed me their true hearts more than anything else could have.
  5. When she’s upset, listen. Sometimes guys feel afraid to talk to girls when they are going through hard times; not sure that they will know what to say. But don’t worry about that. Just listen. Let her talk, let her cry, and be sympathetic and understanding. If she needs advice, give it, but sometimes the best thing you can do is be still and listen with warmth and attentiveness, like Job’s friends when they simply sat with their mourning companion in empathetic silence.
  6. Open the door for her. Perhaps the most pure and basic form of chivalry, but it endures as a simple way to show respect and a desire to be helpful.
  7. Encourage her. In this era, girls often feel pressured to compare themselves to the airbrushed models in magazines or the stylized faces on the big screen. Pop culture bombards us with the message that being beautiful and sexy will get us everything we want. And then we look at the standard of “perfection” we are held up to and feel cheap, ugly, and worthless. The guys in our lives play a huge part in instilling self-worth and a feeling of confidence and beauty in our hearts! Maybe you don’t realize how much girls hang on every action of yours, when they look to you so much for approval? One word of encouragement can make her spirit soar, whereas one flippant remark or one careless action (ignoring her for another girl or talking about other beautiful girls around her) can completely devastate her. That doesn’t mean you have to tell her she is beautiful and sweet or anything. But if she does something kind and you see it, tell her so. Here’s an example: “Hey, I saw how you treated that girl who was sitting all by herself. You were really kind to her. I could really see Jesus shine through you.” Or, “Hey, I just wanted to thank you for how cheerfully you served at the youth group car wash this weekend. You didn’t ask for anything; you just cheerfully did whatever no one else wanted to do. I could really see the beauty of Christ’s love in you.” Or, “You know, I really appreciate how you dress so cute and yet so modestly…it’s really cool. You are a pretty girl but you don’t flaunt it. I really appreciate that and I want you to know I think you are beautiful.” Don’t compare her to others and don’t flatter her…just be honest and real and encouraging. Take it from me: it could mean the world to her.
  8. Carry stuff. Yeah, that one is pretty self-explanatory. She may be the star on the softball team, but two extra arms never hurt anyone. Offer to help her out.
  9. Defend her to others. When you hear people trash-talking a girl or woman…whether you know her or not…stand up for her honor. She may never know that you do, but your Father in Heaven will. Whether a group of girls are spreading rumors or a bunch of guys are making inappropriate comments, even when it’s tough a true gentleman will defend the lady being discussed.
  10. Treat her like a sister in everything. Don’t flirt with a girl for the attention; the effect can be devastating. Honor her and respect her and treat her like a sister. Be her friend but don’t give her the wrong impression.

When you treat the women in your family, school, church, general aquaintance and happenstance meeting with respect and veneration, you are well on your way to becoming the man God calls you to be. A man who, like our Lord, would give of Himself for others…remembering how He made the ultimate sacrifice on the cross, for sinners like you and I.

A great resource for guys is The Rebelution series on Chivalry, written by two Christian teenage boys. Click here to read Part 1 of the five-part series (links for the other four parts are on this page).

Part 2: A Girl’s Response to Chivalry

Part 3: A Warning to Christian Guys

Check back soon for the next part of this series!