“Put that woman first.” Crooner Jaheim put some real soul and sizzle in that song. We knew what he meant. He was advising us to treat our women right.
This was not just a song. It is an anthem that encapsulates the life of men. Society expects us to put our needs in the backburner for that … (fill in the blanks).
That sums up the reason for our existence as men; putting others first. Sacrificing for our family. It has been drilled in us ever since we were little boys that that’s what a man is supposed to do. We saw our fathers putting their lives on the line and foregoing all forms of luxury to provide for us. It became a badge of honour we wanted to wear with pride, although – now that we’re walking in their Oxfords - at times it feels like an albatross around our tired necks.
Today I want redo Jaheim’s song: “Put that man in the mirror first.” No buts. Because, as noble as this put-so-and-so-first idea sounds, it is the very thing killing some men.
Maya Angelou said life loves the liver of it. Man, you have one life to live. Live it without excuses. You have been given permission to love yourself. It’s not a crime to spoil yourself. When we give out all our love and have nothing left for ourselves, we’re living life on an empty tank. Sooner, our engine will break down.
The idea is to find balance. Your family all dressed to the nines, while you are in tatters may, to you, tell people that you are the best provider in the world. But that’s a twisted kind of love. Whitney Houston sang that learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all.
This mirrors my Bible’s teaching. It says I should love others as I love myself. This means my love for others is a reflection of the love I shower on myself.
I used to think I am supposed to take a bullet for my family. Now I know better. I know I am supposed to dodge a bullet for my family. Taking a bullet means I am giving my life. Then what? What’s going to be of them? What about my dreams? Dodging a bullet means I am staying alive for my family and myself. It means I am giving my loved ones and myself a shot at life.
A million bucks
Look, man, when you die, folks will clean you up nicely. They will want you to look expensive in your casket. Yet, while you were alive, you refused to buy that bespoke suit because you wanted your family to look like a million bucks. When you were alive, you only saw colognes in ads and thought they were a waste of money. Yet when you’re dead, folks will pour expensive perfume on you. For what?
I’m always fascinated by Jesus. A woman breaks an alabaster box and pours perfume worth a whole year’s wage at his feet. A disciple gripes that the perfume would have been sold and money donated to the poor. Jesus does not suffer this fool easily. He shuts him real quick.
The cost of the ointment was worth about 300 denarii. That’s a whopping $54,509. Jesus is a man’s man for that revelation.
Here’s what that means. When you are treating yourself like you are worth $54,509, there will be folks who will try to take you on a guilt trip. They will point at other supposedly worth causes. They will say you are wasting money. As long as your heart is in the right place, do not fall for their trap.
Class, please repeat after me: “Henceforth, I will put that man in the mirror first. So help me God to do it right.”