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How Jesus Christ Shows Us What Masculinity Truly Means

“Fleshliness never was manliness, and it never will be," Elder Carlos E. Asay taught. "A real man is one who yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit and seeks to acquire Christlike virtues. A real man is one who allows the Spirit to direct the course and to call the cadence in his life. . . .The Savior [is] the perfect model of manliness.”

Often, masculinity is paired with aggressiveness, power, and authority. Men are taught it’s best to be buff, boastful, and brazen. However, our perfect exemplar, Jesus Christ, demonstrates, through both word and action, a different definition of masculinity—one that’s softer, more compassionate, and kind.

Elder D. Todd Christofferson has asked, “The Lord asked His disciples what manner of men they should be and then answered, ‘Verily I say unto you, even as I am.’ That is our ultimate quest. What did He do that we can emulate as men?” 

Here are some answers.

1. Love without condition.

"But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you."—Matthew 5: 44

"A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

"By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." —John 13:34-35


2. Empathize.

"When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled,

"And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see. Jesus wept."—John 11:33-35

"And they arose from the earth, and he said unto them: Blessed are ye because of your faith. And now behold, my joy is full.

"And when he had said these words, he wept, and the multitude bare record of it, and he took their little children, one by one, and blessed them, and prayed unto the Father for them.

"And when he had done this he wept again."3 Nephi 17:20-22

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3. Seek after heavenly, and not earthly, treasures.

"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:

"But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:

"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."Matthew 6:19-21

4. Stay committed to your family.

"But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart."Matthew 5:28

"And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?

"Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder."—Matthew 19:5-6

5. Show compassion.

"And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.

"But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd."—Matthew 9:35-36

"And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.

"And when it was evening, his disciples came to him, saying, This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals.

"But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat."—Matthew 14:14-16

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6. Know and treat others as children of God.

"And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples.

"And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?

"But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician, but they that are sick."—Matthew 9:10-12

Be a Man (of Christ)

Peter taught, “[Christ] hath called us to glory and virtue”—glory because we are ministers of His gospel and virtue because we are to be of high moral character. As Dr. Taylor Halverson notes, the Latin root of virtue is vir, meaning “man,” and Jesus Christ is the perfect example of what it means to be virtuous. Speaking of Pilate's public presentation of Christ, Elder Christofferson said, "the Lord . . . stood before the people then as He stands today—the highest ideal of manhood. Behold the man!"

Behold the man, indeed. And, by His commandment, be as the man—be a man of Christ.

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