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Masculinity: Brotherhood

“For we are nothing without brotherhood and brotherhood is nothing without your brothers.” –We Came As Romans

Our surroundings typically dictate the man we become. There are many psychological studies on environment-based transformations where individuals become a part of their surrounding environment. When you surround yourself in foul language, derogatory sayings, prideful attitudes, and cockiness, it will slowly trickle itself into your behavior. If you hang out with the stray dogs, you will eventually get flees. As men, we reach a turning point where we have to make a decision on the type of man we want to become. It is no longer the responsibility of anyone else; it is solely ours. We have to get a grip on our friendships and take care of the ones that build us up and free ourselves from those that bring us down. When it comes to our sanctity, we should stop at nothing.

Friendships, good and bad, need healthy boundaries. We can’t have our church friends be separate from our everyday friends. We need to surround ourselves with good men to join us in our daily journey. This level of brotherhood will harvest accountability since there is a common denominator of faith and a desire to be a better man.

It’s important to talk to your brothers in Christ about the joys and sufferings you encounter. By talking about the daily triumphs and trials, you show each other you are not alone. Talking about vices gives you a level of trust and confidence in your brotherhood; it offers possible solutions you may have never tried and the ability to create unrestricted accountability. Talk about this; don’t expect it!

A great tool to use is the new Victory App by Life Teen. It helps men battle daily temptations and have a common goal as brothers to work toward every single day. It helps establish great conversations about faith and the freedom to follow up about the struggles you are encountering. Just like ministry, if we have a conversation with a teen about something heavy we can’t stop at the initial encounter, we must follow up.

More importantly a brotherhood needs to be centered on Christ. My friends became brothers when we began to pray with and for one another. It added a new depth to our friendship and allowed the transformation to brotherhood to occur. If you are spending a Saturday on the lake or hiking trail together, pray before the day begins and end the day in thanksgiving to God for the time you were able to spend together. It’s not uncomfortable to pray with one another, it’s remarkable.

Lastly, do not force a brotherhood with your friends. It puts a needless expectation and added stress on a friendship. I’m sure you can think of a handful of guy friends in your life that you would like to transform into a brotherhood. Talk about your desire for accountability and holiness. In time, those friendships will become more than you can imagine.

At a Church I recently worked for a group of “older” men would go to breakfast every day after morning Mass. Together they would solve the world’s problem and share their joys. I was fortunate enough to be invited from time to time and was amazed at their humor. I was deeply impacted by how they loved and prayed for one another, especially when one of them struggled with health, family or faith. A brotherhood takes time. My best friend and I have been through many years of difficult conversations, mountains of emotional transparency, and 100% honesty. It doesn’t happen overnight; it takes patience and faith. Keep your brothers close, and pray for one another.

 

Photo by Jake Etcherverria

About the Author

Jake Etcheverria

Jake Etcheverria is the Director of Youth Ministry at St. Timothy Catholic Church in Mesa, AZ. Seven years of full time ministry brought him to south Louisiana for three years where a Cajun culture forever changed the kid from the desert. Now back in Arizona, Jake enjoys all things outdoors and at any moment can tell you how many days there are left until hunting season starts. He is an avid cook with a Cajun flair to just about everything. You can often find Jake up in the mountains camping with his wife Eden and their two golden retrievers Buck and Jolie. Yes, he did name his dog Buck, that happened!