‘Hold that door!’ – toxic masculinity according to the Bible

By David A. Liapis

Author’s note: This is the first article in the series, How to be a Biblically “woke” Christian

I had the opportunity the other day hold the door open for a woman at work, and something made me think about how that gesture is considered “sexist” by some. I’ve actually been reprimanded by a few women in the past for whom I’ve attempted to hold open a door. “I’m perfectly capable of opening the door for myself!” was the theme of their replies.

I was taught as a boy to give preference to women in whatever ways I could, such as holding doors, allowing them to go ahead of me (“ladies first”), and offering them my seat, etc., and I am trying to teach my boys to do the same. But, why?

I posed this very question to my boys the other night. They responded, basically, “Because they’re women.” I pressed them further, “But why do we hold doors and give preference to women?” I realized then I had failed to really teach my sons the “why” behind this type of behavior that, nowadays, is frowned upon as somehow sexist or misogynistic. It was time for them to get Biblically “woke.”

Why the disapproval by culture, and why continue archaic forms of chivalry that reek of toxic masculinity? The paradox is that both sides would give the same answer: women are worthy of greater honor.

I am a Bible-believing complementarian, which means I believe God has created men and women equal in dignity and worth, but different in roles and responsibilities. I also believe, based on what the Bible, and Jesus in particular, teaches, that women are of an elevated class. Jesus was very counter-cultural in the way he interacted with women throughout his ministry. The Gospel writers were counter-cultural in the way they wrote about women, highlighting their contributions, stories, genealogical ties to Jesus Christ, the honor bestowed upon them (Matthew 26:13, Luke 1:42), and even that the first witness of the resurrected Jesus was a woman (and whose testimony, therefore, would have been invalid in a court of law at that time).

Progressives and feminists would have people believe that men such as me are what’s wrong with society. They would project me as a representative of an antiquated culture that oppressed women and viewed them as weak, second-class citizens. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Again, the “why” behind the way men like me treat women is because we value, honor and respect them. We see our God-given roles as those of provider and protector. We don’t think women incapable of doing things for themselves or using their talents and abilities (which often exceed those of men, especially in interpersonal relationships) to benefit their families, communities and society as a whole.

It angers me that our views of women are so skewed and misrepresented. But, rather than become upset that the culture twists, obfuscates and opposes all things Biblical, the decision must be made to keep doing the truly right thing. So, men – real men – hold that door! Give up that seat! Show that honor and preference! To hell (literally) with what our dying and warped culture says about so-called “privilege,” “patriarchy,” or all the “isms” with which they want to label us. Our call is to love God, love others and preach the Gospel – to the glory of God – no matter what, and a huge part of that is treating women in a way that honors them and the God who created them.

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