“Everyone one of you when you walk into a room can probably tell the difference between a man who is life-giving. That is, he essentially breathes life into other people. He is encouraging, passionate, listening. You know what that looks and feels like, right?”

The men in the audience nodded their heads in agreement. So I continued.

“When you encounter that guy you walk away a different person. You feel renewed. You feel encouraged. You feel like a better person. This man brings life to relationships.”

The men in the audience all seemed to be tracking as I spoke. So I continued.

“Then there is the man who is not life-giving. Instead, he literally sucks the life out of a room. He drains the energy from relationships. When you encounter that guy you don’t feel encouraged, renewed, and there is no passion inside of you that is stirred. Do you know what I’m talking about?”

The men in the audience nodded more fervently in agreement almost as if they have had more encounters with non-life giving men, than those who are life-giving.

These are the words I spoke a few weeks ago at Hope Fellowship’s men’s conference in Frisco, TX. They brought me out to the conference to interview me about my new book, and I believe that one of the most important questions I want men to begin to address…to begin to ask themselves is this:

What kind of man are you?

Are you a life-giving man who breathes life into others and initiates and creates growth and passion and life?

Or are you a man who takes away life? A man who doesn’t breathe life into others, and who literally inhibits growth and change and passion in yourself and those you come into contact with.

How would you answer this question?

How would your wife answer this question?

How would your kids answer this question?

How would your friends answer this question?”

As you think about this question I want to leave you with a quote from my book, What it Means to be a Man. It’s a very powerful quote from Richard Rohr. And every time I read it I have to ask myself, “What kind of man am I?”

“When a father tells a child that he can do something, he can do it. I don’t know why that is, except to say that there is some mysterious energy that passes from the male to his children. It is some sort of creative energy that can make things be when they are not, and without which things cannot come to be. When male energy is absent, creation does not happen, either in the human soul or in the world. Nurturance happens, support and love perhaps, but not that new ‘creation out of nothing,” that is the unique prerogative associated with the masculine side of God…Without the father’s energy, there is a void, an emptiness in the soul which nothing but that kind of energy can fill. I have seen it in too many people, men especially. It is a hollow yearning that feeds on praise incessantly and is never satisfied. It is a black hole that sucks in reward after reward and is never brightened by it. It becomes a nesting place of demons–of self-doubt, fear, mistrust, cynicism, and rage. And it becomes the places from which those demons fly out to devour others.” (pp. 37)

So I ask you.

What kind of man are you?

One that is life-giving and brings a creative energy and passion into the relationships around you?

Or one that takes away life and devours those around them?