This post is primarily aimed at Christian men, but I hope everyone will find it engaging and useful.
The rain dripped off his umbrella as he struggled in through the glass-paned door, gripping his briefcase tightly under his arm. Pulling the door closed, he breathed a sigh of relief, leaning heavily against the wall. Stripping off his sodden coat and hanging it up, he lent his umbrella nearby. A pool of water began to gather on the red and black tiles, glimmering in the soft light.
Walking along the corridor and into the kitchen, he left his rain-speckled briefcase on the slab-like oak table and chose a tumbler from the nearby cabinet. He decanted a measure of whiskey and took a sip, his body relaxing like a deflating balloon as the exquisite alcohol slipped down his throat.
He found her in the bedroom, sat on the edge of the bed, her back to him.
“Still quite wet outside,” he offered as he took off his cufflinks, setting them on the bedside table.
“The press have been hounding me all day,” he continued, oblivious. “Did you have any trouble? Have any of them tried to get up to the house?”
“Come on, dear,” he said, moving over to her. “We’ve got to stick this out together. What’s done is done and we’ll get though it.”
He reaches out to place a hand on her shoulder but she flinches away from his touch.
“What have I done?” The question hangs in the air.
She turns around, revealing a tear-stained face contorted with malice. Grabbing the tablet computer lying on the bed, she stabs at the screen, initiating the playback of a video.
He is on the screen, half a dozen microphones jabbing towards his face. Voices bray and cry out, demanding answers to invasive questions.
He raises his hands in an effort to quieten the mob. They sense that this may be their chance for a juicy morsel and lower their voices.
“As I have already stated at the hearing, I do not deny that I have been led into behaviours which are unacceptable for someone with my role and responsibilities. I am prepared to pay the price for this indiscretion and hope that my honesty will go some way towards making amends.”
The questioning explodes once more, the words running together into a sea of drivel. As he goes to move away, a man manages to accost him, thrusting his microphone out.
“Is it true that your wife set up the account with Friedrickson? Would this have happened without her prior relationship to his organisation?”
Surrounded and taken by surprise, he blurts out an answer.
“Yes, she did. That is to say, the account was in her name. But – “
“So, she compromised you?”
“Well, no, but…”
“If it hadn’t been for her actions, you wouldn’t be answering these questions?”
“Yes, in way. Now I must…”
The thick black-sleeved arm of a bodyguard blocks the camera as the journalists are ploughed aside, clearing a path.
Pressing the screen again, she pauses the video, leaving the image of his harangued face floating there in stasis.
“Honey, you can’t think…”
“You offered me up,” she whispered, he voice trembling with rage. “You abandoned me to those, those jackals.”
“I took responsibility, I was honest.”
“Took responsibility?” She stands up, hands shaking, inches away from him. “You told them that I was to blame.”
Just one word. He didn’t have to say any more. It flew like a poisoned dart, puncturing her soul.
“You were there,” she cried out, anger and sorrow wrenching her voice. “You listened to all of it, the presentations, the pitches. You may not have taken the first bite but you weren’t too fussed about having a taste once I made the first move.”
“Yes, that’s true,” he replies, his voice rising. “But as you’ve just said, you made the first move.”
“Oh, I see. That’s your version of ‘we’re in this together’, is it?” The venom in her sarcasm sears the air.
“But it was you, you can’t deny it.”
“That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t protect me.” Her words crack as tears run down her face. “You’re supposed to be a man. That means standing by me, even if I get it wrong. You stood by and let this happen. What, were you too afraid to stop me? Or him? No, that’s not it.”
She pushes past him, heading out of the room. She stands in the doorway, looking back, sorrow streaked in black lines down her face.
“The truth is, you wanted what he had to offer, but you didn’t have the guts to take it yourself. So, you used me. You used me as a shield. You have no idea how you’ve hurt me.”
With that, she leaves.
He crumples onto the bed, sitting in silence. Looking down at the tablet, he sees his face on the screen. The title banner running under the image summarises the scene:
“The fall of Man.”
Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’” “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
This is a challenge to all Christian men in marriages and relationships, and to those seeking a partner. Don’t be like Adam. Take responsibility. I think one of the reasons people take so much offence to Paul’s instruction, “wives, submit to your husbands,” is that men haven’t lived up to their end of the deal – “love your wives as Christ loved the church.” (Eph 5:22-33) That’s a sacrificial love which doesn’t count the cost. Praise God that He gives us His strength to do this. Look to Jesus to see what it really means to be a man.
Prayer: Father God, give me the determination and perseverance to follow Christ’s example as I seek to fulfil my role and responsibility as a man. I don’t want to be defined by the masculinity of this world. Help me to take responsibility for my household, to ensure that it is a holy place where You are glorified. Let me do all this in Your strength.