This morning I was reading in Genesis about the fall of man in the Garden of Eden and realized the fall of man started with a passive man. I think as men, it’s important for us to realize that this was Adam’s very first struggle with sin and its a struggle for many of us today.
Passiveness typically begins with an effort to keep the peace. Maybe your wife is super passionate about how the dishes are loaded in the dishwasher or how the kids bedtime routine goes down. Maybe it’s your boss and he’s particular about timelines or budgeting. And one time too many you have learned that if you push back on those passion points then things don’t go so well. Take your relationship with your spouse for example: instead of learning how 2 opposing views can come up with a winning idea, or how to fight well...or how to both be engaged and satisfied. Oftentimes, we pull back. We just let it ride. Over and over, year after year, we let it ride. Until unknown to us we are letting everything ride…the management of the home, the finances, the parenting of the kids, the social calendar, the vacation plans. We let it all ride.
But the problem with this is…we aren’t keeping the peace. We are ruining it. We are harming our family. You see passive leadership promotes problems it doesn’t pacify them.
When we choose to be passive we are simultaneously choosing to dump the responsibility God chose us to carry on someone else. In our home, we often dump it on our spouse or eldest child. In our workplace on our employer or our direct report. We are saying without saying: you take all my pressure and yours. Instead of feeling like a team, we just made our partner feel isolated and overwhelmed.
When we are passive, we are also saying without saying, “You aren’t worth fighting for” or “What concerns you isn’t even worth a conversation to me. My ball game on tv or scrolling my social media is more important than the burdens on your heart.” When a woman feels unloved, most times there’s a passive man on the other side of that equation. Passive leaders promote problems, they don’t pacify them.
We tend to think that the opposite of passive is dominant, but this isn’t true. The opposite of passive is engaged. An engaged husband cares about the concerns of his wife’s heart, even when it’s inconvenient. An engaged father works to get to know his child’s interests and routines. An engaged employee feels the weight of the finances of the organization. An engaged leader makes those around him feel protected, guided and loved.
Engaged men are compelled by love. Love for God and what He has asked of him…and love for his family. Love demands action. You cannot be passive and be loving at the same time.