Do I find myself excusing intimacy that would be otherwise inappropriate? God rewards appropriate boundaries. Every relationship — all intimacy — flourishes with the right kind of boundaries. And the sort of relationship dictates what boundaries it needs to flourish. So what is the appropriate path for female-male friendships? The answer is, of course, different for each kind of relationship.
But the point is boundaries should exist. Some examples would be: No private text messages always include a spouse, or another godly friend. No private or secret meetings the right person or people always know. No detailed discussion of marriages or love lives. God rewards clear communication. Put the opposite way, sin thrives in the laziness of ambiguity.
Is it because we are subtly aroused by flirting with the boundaries of something that feels off-limits? God rewards a thoughtful answer that honestly reflects the state of our hearts. Once we have been honest about our own intentions, we must articulate them clearly. Are we friends for the sake of the church, for the sake of a project, for the sake of enjoying a mutual hobby, for the sake of serving the church?
God rewards strong community. The singles become the wild card, often throwing what might have been an easy system of purity out of sync. But friendships between men and women in the church are one holy expression of the hard-fought intimacy God has earned for us in Christ Galatians 3: But they should only be allowed when there are appropriate lines of sight with people informed and involved enough to protect both parties. What is good for some is not profitable for all — and may be harmful.
What may be a beautiful and holy male-female friendship in one instance may not be translatable to every male and female, and certainly cannot be absolutized to every male and female. Love, because it's something that is such a sign of our times and worth some commentary. And hate, because it can be easily misused and misinterpreted. Boiling it down, why do women respond by saying they want to be "just friends" with you? As a woman, I know why I have said this before.
Because I have been approached by someone with whom I'm not interested in anything more than friendship and feel like I must define the relationship and make this clear upfront, so that the other party will know that I do not have romantic feelings toward him. Perhaps some of your female friends feel the same way. And even at that, saying you want to be "just friends" with someone certainly does not mean that romantic feelings could never develop over time.
But sometimes a man already has strong feelings for a woman, and she is just not there yet. Or maybe she never will get there. Only time will tell. Thus, a woman may feel that she is being courteous by telling a man upfront how she feels. Maybe in her mind it's like putting a sticky note you both can see on your relationship "Don't forget! That is how I have felt every time I have shared the "just friends" message with someone who I thought was interested in me beyond friendship.
I knew I wasn't interested romantically , and I indicated that spending time together as "just friends" was only what I would agree to doing. But that was all. Some of the "ills" you refer to can be quite annoying. However, I also think it would be unfair to say every unreturned phone call or every time someone's words don't seem to match up with their actions that there is something wrong or that the other party you, in this case has a right to be offended.
For example, perhaps a woman has not returned an e-mail or a phone call, because she is trying not to lead someone on. Or perhaps an interested party keeps e-mailing and e-mailing and e-mailing. Or calling and calling and calling. By not answering, then a message albeit a firm one is sent. Are we willing to set anything aside for his sake? Will we trust him, even when we want something else for ourselves? How far should we go physically before marriage? How soon should I start dating after a breakup?
What things should I be looking for in a guy? What are girls looking for in a guy? Should couples live together before getting married? The scary reality is that we can find an answer somewhere to justify what we want to do — right or wrong, safe or unsafe, wise or unwise. The advice we choose might be from a book by a doctor, or a random conversation with someone at church, or a blog post by a teenager, or just something we found on Pinterest.
Instead of getting the qualified perspective and direction we desperately need from people around us, we walk away eating a candy bar for dinner, again, and washing it down with Dr. Real friendship, with real life-on-life accountability, may not offer the same amount of information or advice, and you will not always like what it has to say, but it will bring one new critical dimension to your dating relationships: These people know you as a sinner, and sinners who are never being confronted or frustrated by inconvenient truths are sinners drifting further from God, not towards him.
The Voices We Need Most Dating often isolates us from other Christians in our lives. The closer we become with a boyfriend or girlfriend, the more removed we are from other important relationships. Satan loves this, and encourages it at every turn. One way to walk wisely in dating is to oppose absolutely everything Satan might want for you. Fight the impulse to date in a corner by yourselves, and instead draw one another into those important relationships. The people willing to actually hold me accountable in dating have been my best friends.
They stepped in when I was spending too much time with a girlfriend or started neglecting other important areas of my life.
The Golden Rule in Christian Dating
BFFs (Best Friends First): Honoring God in Dating and Romance
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