Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Titus 2 and Irritable Man Syndrome
Titus 2 Being Godly Men
1. But you must speak what is consistent with sound teaching. 2 Older men are to be self-controlled, worthy of respect, sensible, and sound in faith, love, and endurance. 3 In the same way, older women are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not addicted to much wine. [They are]to teach what is good, 4 so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be sensible, pure, good homemakers, and submissive to their husbands, so that God's message will not be slandered. 6 Likewise, encourage the young men to be sensible 7 about everything.
Dr. Thom Rainer went to visit Billy Graham in his home in Montreat, North Carolina just last week . His time with Billy Graham was poignant because he is in his twilight years. He will be ninety-one in November. He wrote to me "I came away realizing that I had been on the mountaintop in more ways than one."
A life pleasing to the Lord is a life of integrity. The name of Billy Graham inevitably reminds us integrity. His is a life that did not compromise morally. It is a life that has been above reproach financially. And his is a life of incredible honesty. Leadership at any level cannot begin to function well unless the leader has integrity.
Our first ministry is to our family. The home of Billy Graham is a home of love. It is the place where Billy and Ruth Graham raised children and welcomed grandchildren. At one point in my visit with Mr. Graham, he pointed to a portrait of his late wife Ruth. With tears in his eyes he said, "I can't wait to see her in heaven." Thank you, sir, for reminding me again of the priority of family.
WOW. Wouldn't you and I like that experience to learn how to make an eternal impact with our lives in the lives of others. Yet we can learn from God's Word, for here in this short passage, the Apostle Paul has given you and I some directions to really make an eternal impact.
Our God is a Consuming Fire (Deut. 4:24 ; Heb. 12:29 ); and He forever dwells in Unapproachable Light (I Tim. 6:16 ), surrounded by His exquisite creations that chant Holy, Holy, Holy—and fall down in worship before Him (Isaiah 6:3; Rev. 4:8 ); and since the Lord God Almighty is Immutable, He is always that way, He will never change —it is we who MUST change.
Grace does not change God, it changes us. Grace has opened a way to God, a safe passage through the fire. Christ's work on the Cross opens the way for us to approach and know, serve and love our Holy God.
Knowing our Holy God
How constantly we need His life-changing grace, to energize us in our struggle against the flesh within, and the sins that so easily beset us. Sin constantly surrounds us, like flood waters; and swirling around, seeks to seep into any crack or unprotected area of our life. Salvation described by Jesus is, "knowing God". Grace made us able to know the Unapproachable, Holy God of the Universe. But our God says that there is a choice about our purity we must make.
Participation in Purity is Demanded by God for all , including the Older
men .. well by comparison to younger men, the younger men were probably in the under 30's category. Any one over 30 was regarded as an older man. What was the life expectancy in New Testament times? Psalm 90: 10 Our lives last seventy years or, if we are strong, eighty years.
There are particular temptations that occur to men as they grow older. These temptations are not dissimilar to those that younger men face. But it is interesting to note how they affect us all.
Older men are to be self-controlled,
This highlights the issues of anger that men face. The movie Grumpy Old Men and its sequel Grumpier Old Men are comic portrayals of anger in older men. The reality, however, is far from funny. According to the Senior Journal, the stress chemicals that are released during anger episodes can speed the onset and progression of Alzheimer's disease, and contribute to a faster-than-normal reduction in lung function due to aging. A seven-year study at Harvard University shows that older men with high anger scores on a personality test have about a three-times-higher risk of heart disease than men with lower anger scores. Anger remained associated with heart disease even after adjusting for smoking, drinking, being overweight, and other factors. Scientists speculate that anger releases stress hormones into the bloodstream, increases oxygen demand by heart muscle cells, and increases stickiness of blood platelets, leading to blood clots that initiate heart attacks.
What Is Irritable Male Syndrome Irritable Male Syndrome is defined by Dr. Diamond as A state of hypersensitivity, anxiety, frustration, and anger that occurs in males and is associated with biochemical changes, hormonal imbalances, stress, and loss of male identity.
Chronic anger and stress can also lead to the beginning of a drug and alcohol problem, or exacerbate substance abuse that was already occurring. Substance abuse can cause erratic behavior, including anger or irritability. With the loss of inhibitions due to drugs and alcohol, this anger can quickly spiral out of control into physical violence or emotional abuse of a spouse or caregiver.
That the aged men be sober νηφαλους εiναι, σεμνος, σwφρονας,
Key Cause of IMS Biochemical changes
We've all heard about brain neurotransmitters such as serotonin and how they can impact our moods. Having a constant level of serotonin is vital for men if they are to prevent IMS from upsetting the balance of brain chemicals that we need to maintain a positive mood. Siegfried Meryn, M.D., author of Men's Health and the Hormone Revolution, says, "The more serotonin the body produces the happier, more positive and more euphoric we are. It plays an essential role in psychological stability and affects eating behavior, the circadian rhythm, mood, sexual behavior, and the perception of pain. Low serotonin can contribute to a man's irritability and aggression." So how do we keep our serotonin levels up? It's actually quite simple. One of the things we can do is eat the right foods for mood stability. Too much protein suppresses central nervous system (CNS) serotonin levels.
Communication and conflict resolution Conflict is inevitable in relationships, but this doesn't mean that every disagreement needs to lead to an angry fight.
Relaxation Anger can be the result of a build up of unresolved stress, bottling things up or a front for other unexpressed emotions
Changing the beliefs that contribute to anger Some anger problems are related to underlying belief systems about how the world 'should' be. If you have a belief that the world should or must conform to your expectations, when in fact it doesn't, you may experience a lot of frustration and anger. Changing the beliefs that cause anger can take some time and effort.
Older men are to be worthy of respect, grave,
Levity is unbecoming in any, but especially in the aged; they should be composed and stayed, grave in habit, speech, and behaviour; gaudiness in dress, levity and vanity in the behaviour, how unbeseeming in their years!
I don't actually think that the issue Paul raises before them is the use of humour. Rather I think that this is one of the chronic problems of men in mid life crisis that is being described. Men in mid life find that their hormones run wild.
Mid life depression.
Many men reach mid-life and their emotional world begins to come apart. The slide may be triggered by physical illness, the death of a parent, the loss of a job, or the dying of a dream. They begin to feel that their life has no direction. It's as though the rudder of their ship has been damaged and they can't steer a straight course. They feel lost and alone and terrified. However, on the outside they may appear to be on top of the world. They are successful at work and good husbands and fathers at home. However, the rust of despair is eating away at the foundation of their lives. Afraid to confront the wreckage of the past, they go for the quick fix. Their unconscious mind grabs a hold of their psyches and whispers, "Get away, get away. It's your old life and your old wife that is the problem. Create a new life and everything will be fine."
Contrary to literary tales, we must go home again. We can't run away from ourselves. Mid-life is either a time of withdrawal and retreat or a time to go deeper. We either heal the old wounds or they will eat away at our bones.
When people think of irritability, anger, hormones; they often think of a football player or weight-lifter juiced up on anabolic steroids with everything bulging—hi neck, his biceps, his eyes. Though a small number of males experience IMS because of hormone levels that are too high, the more typical problem is that hormone levels, such as testosterone are too low. Dr. Gerald A. Lincoln is a research scientist at the Centre for Reproductive Biology in Edinburgh, Scotland. Dr. Lincoln and his team were trying to develop a male contraceptive. One of their studies involved lowering the testosterone levels of rams to see if it prevented conception. It didn't. But surprisingly he found that it did make the animals "irritable."
Older men are to be sensible, temperate,
Increasing stress Fifty years ago only bridges were stressed. Humans were irritable, angry, anxious, or worried. Since the 1950s stress has evolved from an engineering term to become the most prevalent cultural construct of our time. It seems that nearly everyone is stressed these days and the interest in stress and how to deal with it increases all the time. Interestingly, in 2003, I Googled "stress" and was given nearly 10 million listings to choose from. Googling stress" today I get 164 million listings. In the study I conducted for the book, 91% of the men I surveyed said they were suffering from stress in their lives. I suspect that number is approaching 100% now.
But what exactly is stress? For most of us, stress is synonymous with worry. If it is something that makes us worry, then it is stressful. However, our bodies have a much broader definition of stress. To our body, stress is synonymous with change. It doesn't matter if it is a "good" change, or a "bad" change, they are both stressful. When you find you find your dream home and get ready to move, that is stress. If you worry that you won't be able to pay for it, that is stress. If you get a divorce or fall in love, that also is stress. Good or bad, if it is a change in your life, it is stress as far as your body is concerned. Stress is part of life and we wouldn't want to eliminate stress, though at times, we'd like it to ease up a bit. We might think of stress that leads to Irritable Male Syndrome at "distress" or "overstress." When we have too much change in too short a time, our system gets overloaded.
Being temperate is knowing how to handle stress.
Becoming prayerful… Phil 4:6 Don't worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
1Peter 5: 7 casting all your care upon Him, because He cares about you
If we do not handle the stress properly this stress can result in older men doing intemperate things.
The picture of the man in his 50's in the red sports car with his shirt unbuttoned to his navel sporting a gold chain around his neck with the hairs of his chest blown dried and bursting forth in plentiful array.
The picture of the older man sporting a younger woman under his arm, or making himself a fool for a younger woman.
As we come to understand the roots of irritable male syndrome and how it can impact relationships, we see that there is a strong connection to addictions. As men repress the pain and memories of childhood wounds, they often use various forms of escape in an attempt to deal with the pain. Some men overuse alcohol. Others, get hooked on marijuana, cocaine, or other substances. Gambling, over-eating, compulsive work, or sexual acting out, are ways men try to deal with the unresolved issues.
Since we live in a culture where addictions to legal and illegal forms of escape are the norm, we often don't even recognize the degree to which a man may be using one or more of these crutches. However, at mid-life, with stress mounting, the addictions may become more obvious and more serious. Men who have lead exemplary lives all of a sudden become sexually involved with someone at work. Men who have been life-long advocates of sound fiscal management become addicted to some get-rich-quick scheme and steal money from people who trusted them. Men who have been against drugs all their lives are suddenly arrested for the use and sale of large quantities of marijuana.
Older men are to be sound in faith,
Dr. William S. Pollack has spent a great deal of his professional life working with
males. In his book, A New Psychology of Men, co-authored with Dr. Ronald F.
Levant, he says, "Men suffer under a code of masculinity that requires them to be: · Aggressive · Dominant · Achievement oriented Competitive · Rigidly self-sufficient · Willing to take risks · Emotionally restricted."
It's a terrible bind for men. If we don't follow the masculine plan, we are told by society, in no uncertain terms, that we are "wimps," not really men. If we do follow the male dictates, we are told we are "unfeeling brutes" and we feel ashamed. It's no wonder we dream of escape, even through death.
Here in this passage is the solution.
How can you get through the crises that can change a man from changing from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde, from Mr. Nice to Mr. Mean to Mr. In-the-Wind.
Be sound in faith. This has a two fold meaning. Sound in faith means being sound in our beliefs. Jude 3 Dear friends, although I was eager to write you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write and exhort you to contend for the faith that was delivered to the saints once for all.
Titus 1: 9 holding to the faithful message as taught, so that he will be able both to encourage with sound teaching and to refute those who contradict it. So, rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith 14 and may not pay attention to Jewish myths and the commandments of men who reject the truth.
2 Peter 1:3 For His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. 4 By these He has given us very great and precious promises, so that through them you may share in the divine nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world because of evil desires.
It also means have a growing trust in God. In these times you may be tempted to find your own solution to your problems. Your anxieties, your desires and lusts! Don't! Trust the Lord to bring you through this crisis time. Trust Him that He has greater purposes to work out. Trust Him and rest on Him! Trust that those promises will work for you too!
Older men are to be sound in love,
Matthew Henry said : "love to God and men, and soundness therein. It must be sincere love, without dissimulation: love of God for himself, and of men for God's sake." Is there a time better suited to discover what it is to truly love people than as we get older? Love is being forbearing over the things that irritate us. Love is finding new reasons to love our spouses in spite of the changes within us that make us anxious and revive some of the old hurts from the past. 1 John 3: 14 We know that we have passed from death to life because we love our brothers. The one who does not love remains in death. 15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.
Older men are to be sound in endurance, patience
Matthew Henry wrote Aged persons are apt to be peevish, fretful, and passionate; and therefore need to be on their guard against such infirmities and temptations. Faith, love, and patience, are three main Christian graces, and soundness in these is much of gospel perfection. There is enduring patience and waiting patience, both of which must be looked after; to bear evils becomingly, and contentedly to want the good till we are fit for it and it for us, being followers of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
Billy Graham Listen to critics, but don't dwell on them. In my position, I am subject to criticisms more often than I like. Indeed I am pretty thin-skinned, so it is an area in which I constantly struggle. So I asked Mr. Graham how, in a lifetime of international ministry and scrutiny, he dealt with the constant stream of criticisms. He smiled at me and simply said, "I ignored most of them." While he never implied that he was blameless, he knew that dwelling on criticisms would distract and harm his ministry. So he simply moved on.
Humility is one of the greatest virtues of leaders. He has counseled presidents and kings. He has preached to millions. Volumes have been written about his life and ministry. Some have seen him to be the world's most influential person of the second half of the twentieth century. Yet in each of the times I have been with him, I have witnessed one of the most humble men I've ever known. Billy Graham never thinks too highly of himself. What an incredible example he is.
All that really matters is Jesus. Mr. Graham preached about Him for most of his life. The message of the gospel is the heart of his ministry. He understands the brevity of life. And he knows, when it is all said and done, our relationship with Jesus Christ is all that really matters.