Men are called to lead and love such as Christ did (Ephesians 5:22-24). That is a huge responsibility. Leadership involves many elements: humility, foresight, courage and empathy, to name some. But it also involves a key element that isn’t thought about often: protection.
Imagine if a general took his men into battle without any regard for their protection. That would be disastrous. It’s doubtful the general would be a general for very long, because once word caught wind that the general was not interested in protecting others, no one would be willing to follow him. Protection is a concept usually overlooked until there is a distinct lack of it, and then it is incredibly evident. One example of this evident lack of protection can be found in the story of Adam and Eve.
Let’s do a quick recap of Genesis 2 and 3: Adam and Eve are told not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, but Eve is deceived by the serpent and takes the fruit. If you look at Genesis 3:6, you’ll notice something very interesting. It says, “[Eve] gave some to her husband, who was with her” (ESV, emphasis mine). Adam was there. He wasn’t hanging out on the other side of the Garden like we tend to think he was. He was with Eve the entire time. Could he hear the conversation between them? Was he paying attention? Was he on his guard? Why didn’t he step between the woman and the serpent?
Adam failed to protect Eve, and the results were tragic: Sin entered in. Men should look at this passage and realize that man’s role as protector is a serious one. As leaders, women are put into your care. If a woman is called to submit to you, then part of your job as a leader is to protect her. Women need different types of protection:
Protect women physically.
If a woman is in physical danger or in a situation that could lead to physical harm, speak up and get her out of that situation. Perhaps the outcome will not be the perfect success that you hope for, but do you think God won’t notice if you walk away? If the Lord can give Samson the ability to fight off 1,000 men with the jawbone of a donkey (Judges 15:15) then He can give you the same strength to protect another person from harm.
Protect women emotionally.
Women are emotional beings, yes. Sometimes it can be agitating (trust me, we don’t like it so much either) but it is the way God created us. And because of these strong emotions, we need you men to protect our hearts. Take special care to interact with women in a way that doesn’t play with their feelings, mislead them or tear them down, and guide them away from people who would. (For more on this, read Elisabeth Adams’ article “What’s a Guy to Do?“)
Protect women spiritually.
Women fall into sin just as easily as men do, and we need guidance all the same. You can protect us spiritually by keeping close to the Word of God and teaching women as well as other men how to walk in His ways. If you see a woman in danger of sinning, speak up with love and consideration. If you see another man failing to properly lead and protect a woman, speak up and guide them properly.
Men are given the task of leadership, and protecting is part of leading. Although it may seem like modern women reject the idea of a man protecting them, they actually desire it. We women have great respect for those leaders who stand and protect. Be those protectors, men. We need you to protect us, and God has called you to do so.