Week 21 in the year of our Lord 2020

Why “nice guys” hate their own flesh & “nice” self-sacrifice is unbiblical

10 minutes to read

One of the pushbacks we often get — and got from our recent email — is that we define red pill wrong.

“PUA is not red pill.”

“Red pill isn’t about sex.”

“Why didn’t you mention X, Y or Z?”

Etc etc.

The fact is, there is no defining text for the red pill. And endless arguing over what is and isn’t the red pill is a waste of time. We’re giving our perspective.

That being said, there are series of blogs, books, and forums which have loosely functioned as a sort of canon.

One of those books is Robert Glover’s No More Mr. Nice Guy: A Proven Plan for Getting What You Want in Love, Sex, and Life. The ebook describing “Nice Guy Syndrome” and what to do about it became a runaway bestseller in 2001, and then again when it was republished in 2003.

Understanding Nice Guy Syndrome is critical to understanding the feminization of the church. It is directly connected to the modern notion of servant-leadership.

Glover’s “nice guy” is a man who operates according to the belief that, “If I am good, then I will be loved, get my needs met, and have a problem-free life.”

Therefore, he must become what he thinks others want him to be, and hide the things which he thinks they’ll find displeasing. Glover writes:

Just about everything a Nice Guy does is consciously or unconsciously calculated to gain someone’s approval or to avoid disapproval.

If he can achieve this, then others will fulfill their part of the deal and meet his needs. But this “contract” is a covert one which only exists in his mind.

Glover, based on his observations as a therapist, outlines three of these “covert contracts” that invariably control the nice guy’s behavior—often unconsciously. These take the form of “if-then” equations:

  1. If I’m a nice guy, then everyone will love me and like me and women will sexually desire me.
  2. If I meet other people’s needs without them having to ask, then they will met my needs without me having to ask.
  3. If I do everything right, then I should have a smooth and problem-free world.

“Nice guy-ism” is ultimately a people-pleasing performance mindset rooted in a deep fiction.

This is not how the world works. And it definitely is not how women work.

Thus, the nice guy—no matter how hard he tries—is doomed to fail. This means he is also doomed to become embittered—which is why nice guys so often aren’t nice (as /r/niceguys so aptly demonstrates, if you’ve had the misfortune to stumble across it).

It is also why nice guys feel that being a man is a burden.

Glover says, “By trying to please everyone, Nice Guys often end up pleasing no one—including themselves.”

Why is nice guyism so prevalent? Glover connects it to societal shifts over the last several decades; shifts that caused men to be weighed down with “toxic shame:”

Toxic shame is not just a belief that one does bad things, it is a deeply held core belief that one is bad.

He is not talking about sin. He is talking about masculinity.

These are men who have been led to believe that there is something deeply wrong with them because of the masculine natures, attitudes, impulses and longings.

How did this happen?

Well, there has a been a concerted effort to teach boys to despise themselves for many decades. This was perfectly illustrated in 2019 by the new APA official guidelines for working with boys and men. Here is how these were reported in the New York Times:

The guidelines, 10 in all, posit that males who are socialized to conform to “traditional masculinity ideology” are often negatively affected in terms of mental and physical health.

While they acknowledge that ideas about masculinity vary across cultures, age groups, etc, they point to common themes like anti-femininity, achievement, eschewal of the appearance of weakness, and adventure, risk, and violence.

Of course, the “traditional masculinity” they are raging against is just normal masculinity. They see boys as defective girls.

This is nothing new. Gloria Steinem famously argued that we should be raising our sons more like our daughters. Masculinity is considered unhealthy, toxic; something to be treated, not embraced.

They believe we must teach boys to be more feminine, and shame them for being masculine. Boys must be raised to hate their maleness—to hate themselves.

A misandric culture produces a mass of deranged men who are ashamed of their masculinity. They have been taught that masculine discourse and behavior is toxic. More: they have been taught that adopting a feminine way will help them to get ahead in life.

These are Glover’s nice guys. These are men who have been led to believe that it’s not good to be a man.

How do men break free of nice guy-ism? Glover’s answer will be jarring to many Christians:

Since Nice Guys learned to sacrifice themselves in order to survive, recovery must center on learning to put themselves first and making their needs a priority.

This would seem to be a blatant contradiction of Scripture. For instance, in Matthew 25:24-28—a favorite passage among modern servant-leaders—Christ says:

You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.

And similarly, Paul writes in Ephesians 5:25-27:

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.

Isn’t self-sacrifice and servanthood at the heart of the Christian religion?

Yes…but not in the way that Christian nice guys think.

The self-sacrifice and servanthood of the Lord Jesus are not feminine.

It is true that he sacrificed himself to redeem the church—but notice where his motivation came from. He did so in submission to the will of the Father. The Church didn’t ask to be saved. The plan of redemption was conceived by the Godhead even “before the foundation of the world” (Eph 1:4-5). In the garden, Jesus prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will” (Matt 26:39).

His service was done in obedience God, and at his own initiative:

For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from Father. (John 10:17-18)

Christ put the mission of God first. It was his all-consuming priority.

His service wasn’t done to please the Church. He wasn’t trying to get something from the Church. His service was done to please His Father, to achieve His mission, to create a Bride for Himself. He went to the cross so “that that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory.”

This is service and sacrifice—but not of the sort that drives nice guys.

Christ did not despise himself. He despised the shame of the cross (Hebrews 12:2). His mission did not establish a covert contract with His bride. It was established by an overt covenant with His Father. And His service was not out of unsatisfied need, but the grace of abundance (John 10:10).

This is the antithesis of what nice guys mean when they talk about servant leadership. And the root of this antithesis is the direction in which everything is flowing.

With the Lord Jesus and his Church, everything flows from Him to us. He has what we need.

With a nice guy and his wife, everything flows the other way. She has what he needs.

To put it in red pill terms, nice guys don’t have an abundance mentality. They are, rather, afflicted with a deep neediness. They are desperate to be filled up.

Nice guy self-sacrifice is therefore at odds with biblical self-sacrifice. There is base level “self-care” or “self-love” that every man should have for himself, and this is not contradictory to being self-sacrificing. Rather, it is because of this self-love and self-care that a man is able to love and care for others.

This the basis of Paul’s argument in Ephesians 5:28-30:

So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body.

Paul pictures a married couple as being a single individual—“one flesh.” The man is the head; the woman is the body. So to be unloving towards your wife is like causing harm to yourself—like the head commanding the body to stick its hand in a fire.

But we know that “if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it.” Thus, it only make sense that a man would show great care for his wife. “For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it.”

But wait. That’s not exactly true. Many people have hated their own flesh. Destructive self-loathing is a real thing. We see this in self-harm, transgenderism, addiction, and suicide.

But Paul was writing about healthy individuals. Hence, in his commentary on Ephesians 5:39, Matthew Henry says, “no man in his right senses ever hated himself.” Only deranged individuals hate themselves.

Conjugal love, therefore, is as much a dictate of nature as self-love; and it is just as unnatural for a man to hate his wife, as it would be for him to hate himself, or his own body. (Charles Hodge)

The man of a sound mind, described by Paul, cares for and loves himself.

Read through this lens, Glover’s prescription for nice guys is correct. Here it is again:

Since Nice Guys learned to sacrifice themselves in order to survive, recovery must center on learning to put themselves first and making their needs a priority.

For the Christian man, this means learning that your sacrifice is meaningless, pointless, and ineffectual without the prior sacrifice of the Lord Jesus. It means learning that there is now no condemnation in Christ Jesus, but peace with God—the God who made you to be masculine.

And since there is no condemnation, and since he made you to be masculine, you can begin to love the flesh that he gave you—with all its tendencies to fight, conquer, rule, and exercise dominion.

Perhaps most importantly, it means that when anyone treats your masculinity as toxic, or tries to shame you into acting more womanly, you can cheerfully look them right in the eye, laugh, and say, “No.” And you are obeying God by doing so.

This is obviously not a blank check to be a jerk, or to deliberately make women uncomfortable. Rather, it is a blank check to be masculine in every way that is virtuous—in every way that God designed you to.

If you are a man, then it is good to live in a masculine way.

Michael & Bnonn

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