Some people believe that platonic friendships can exist – some don’t. Either way, we need to have ways of relating to men who are unavailable to us that honor Christ.
1 Timothy 5:1-2 contains instructions for a young pastor – but I think we could also learn from this passage:
Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.
Let’s seek to treat others as brothers and sisters with absolute purity.
If you are talking with a man who is dating/courting/engaged/married to another woman or a man who is not “in Christ” – here are some things to prayerfully consider:
- Talk only about wholesome Philippians 4:8 kinds of things.
- Copy his wife/girlfriend on electronic communication as an accountability measure. Or copy a godly accountability partner of yours.
- Treat him with common courtesy and respect – as you would treat anyone as a believer in Christ – but be careful not to go overboard with non-verbal or verbal admiration and respect.
- If you have feelings for this guy, it may be better to try to cut contact with him than to attempt to have any kind of relationship under these circumstances. If you can’t avoid him, you can at least focus on not smiling a lot, not flirting, not complimenting him, not seeking out his company, not having personal conversations, avoiding private communication, etc… (Proverbs 7:6-26 – reverse the genders about “avoiding the adulteress,” and it is still true!)
- If he has feelings for you that you are aware of or that you suspect, it is time to cut off contact if at all possible or dramatically reduce contact and friendliness. No need to be hateful or rude. But you will not want to encourage his interest in you. Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak. (1 Corinthians 8:9)
- Flirting with someone who is not available to us in ways that would honor Christ would be something to avoid. (Check out the article below this post about flirting.) Even if I am dating a godly guy myself, I still need to be careful about flirting (in very sexual ways) with him because if we are not married, we still need to avoid stirring sexual desire too much since the relationship may not yet be consummated. There should be sexual attraction if you are in a relationship moving toward marriage – if there is – but each person will need to exercise self-control by the power of the Holy Spirit. I don’t want to create a stumbling block for him or for myself.
- If anyone (other than your lawfully wedded husband) propositions you for sex – RUN! “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality…” (1 Thessalonians 4:3) Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. (1 Corinthians 6:18)
- If his girlfriend/wife is upset about you talking with him, respect her concerns and back off. Love is not rude or disrespectful. It is not self-seeking. If the guy, himself, expresses concern about that being friends with you could create problems in his relationship, please respect his relationship/marriage and give them a lot of space. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered... (1 Corinthians 13:4-5) Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. (Romans 13:10)
- If you are finding yourself looking forward to emotionally connecting with an unavailable guy a lot, that may be a sign that it is time to invest much more in your walk with Christ and with other relationships with godly men who are available to you or with family and godly girl friends.
- Recognize that the enemy would love to tempt you to get entangled in an affair, adultery, sexual immorality, or some kind of scandal that would undermine your witness for Christ and that would malign the gospel. Ask God to help you see and avoid the snares that Satan has laid out. “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23
- Keep in mind that these same principles would also apply if there a woman is attracted to you or you feel attracted to a woman. God calls us to live holy lives by the power of His Spirit transforming us. We are to take every thought captive for Christ.
- Remember only to consider dating a guy who is truly seeking to live for Christ wholeheartedly. God’s Word commands us to only marry another believer, a man who is “in the Lord.” God does not allow us to be unequally yoked with unbelievers (2 Corinthians 6:14).
- More than anything, focus on finding all of your identity, security, emotional connection, spiritual intimacy, and sense of belonging in Christ. We are to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strength – not anyone or anything else. (Luke 10:27)
But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. Romans 13:14
What are some ways God has inspired you to guard your heart and to treat others with absolute purity?
If you need prayer or encouragement about this issue, you are welcome to share. I would be glad to pray with you and to seek to point you to the wisdom of the Bible.
Much love to each of you, my precious sisters!
What Does the Bible Say about Flirting? – by www.gotquestions.org
Taking Thoughts Captive for Christ – video on my Youtube channel, April Cassidy