Dear 21st Century Maiden,
Why weren't we ever given a manual on how to treat guys? Why isn't there a "Guy Relationship 101" in Scripture? Is it really supposed to be this complex?
These are questions I've asked myself recently. And I thought I'd share my thoughts with you. I think we'd all agree that boundaries with guys makes sense. There's the appearance of evil factor, the fact that Love seeketh not her own and vaunteth not herself, and the desire to set up our brothers to succeed. If we know that certain things cause inevitable downfalls, we will steer clear away from those things out of love for our guy friends.
But what about the not-so-clear issues? The "gray areas"? The constant mysteries -- How often? How long? In what settings?
Jesus must have known that each situation would be different. That each individual would be different. Because of this, He purposefully didn't give us regulations on our relationships with the opposite gender.
Here are some things I've decided to consider:
1. Am I setting up my brother in Christ to fail? This could apply to how we dress, how we talk to him, how often we write, how we say something -- the list goes on. If it's questionable, we should give it some thought and prayer.
2. Would I recommend this behavior to someone else? If we know this would be wrong for someone else, it might be worth checking into for ourselves. Of course, just because it is wrong for one person doesn't mean it is for us -- but it's a good reality check.
3. What about my heart? This is a tricky one. Just because we're sharing our heart doesn't mean we are committing the unpardonable sin. We will share our heart with our friend. Everyone shouldn't be our friend, but those who are, will know and share our heart. If we have a friend who is a guy, we will share some of our heart -- and that's okay. That's what friends do. A biblical mandate against friendship with a guy does not exist.
As women though, we have to be diligent in guarding our heart. We are responders. If someone initiates we naturally respond. We were created to abandon our heart to one man and to be his helpmeet until "death do us part". It's ingrained into us. There is nothing more natural in the world than to pledge our heart to someone. It's beautiful and godly -- if done in His time and in His way. If we are sharing our heart with someone who has not committed himself to us, we better be alert. We are in a situation that calls for diligence and care.
He is a friend. And if he hasn't promised anything else, than that is all he is: a friend. We have no right, no obligation, no loyalty, no privileges and no prerogative towards him. He is still our friend and there is nothing to differentiate us between any other girl friend of his. Even if we feel differently. We still must act like a friend until something more than friendship has been declared.
I'm not negating that we won't feel more than a friend towards one of our guy friends. And that's okay. Those feelings are real and need to be addressed, not ignored. Denying them won't make them go away. It's an inevitable part of life for any girl. But to act on that feeling would be treading on dangerous grounds. And why? Firstly, because which one of us wants to encourage a relationship into forming that God didn't intend? Personally I desire for my man to fall in love with me for me -- not because I coaxed him into it. Not because I rashly acted on a fleeting passion. Feelings can be deceitful and temporary and incredibly powerful. To act on any feeling should first be given thought. And secondly, when a girl acts on her feelings she is in essence pledging herself. We are forming attachments. Some attachment might be perfectly innocent. But we must take into consideration -- are we setting up ourselves to fail in purity?
4. What about my brothers? Would I be okay with girls treating them how I treat my brother in Christ? Obviously I wouldn't want every girl I know to be my brothers friend. But that aside, would I be okay with godly girl friends giving my brothers the same attention that I do to my guy friends?
If not, we should stop and examine ourselves. This isn't a perfect rule, but again, a good reality check. For example, if we'd be upset that a girl was texting our brother, maybe we should consider whether it's alright for us to text our guy-friends. Just because we'd be okay with something doesn't logically make it alright -- but if we are uncomfortable for our brothers to be treated one way, it might be good to question whether it's alright for us to treat anyone that way.
5. My conclusion: If we can make it down such a list and still find our position in good conscience then I think we can proceed with prayer and humility. Sometimes I double-guess myself and wonder and analyze and worry. I think -- well, I don't think I am setting up my brother to fail, but what if I'm wrong? I would only recommend this to some people not all -- so is it therefore wrong? I'm not acting on my feelings, but I do find myself enjoying this person and growing fond of them and desiring their company. And, I would only be okay with some girls treating my brothers this way, not all of them -- am I wrong?
In such a case I've learned that this is when I must come to my Father and seek His counsel. He happens to know exactly what I am to do and what I can handle. And in loving care He will reveal His desire for me if I am truly seeking an answer.
To act in fear is unhealthy. To continue in something because we are selfish is wrong. Either way is unbalanced.
Before signing off I want to say this -- to fall in love with someone isn't evil. Our responsibility is to act like a loving friend. God will do the rest. We have more options than either --
a. throwing caution to the wind, or
b. throwing our relationship out the window.
It is easier to be an extremist. It would be easier just to either "go with" our emotions and just be and do everything our heart tells us, OR, to call everything off and shun mankind because it's safer.
But like everything else in life God's way is always balanced. We can co-exist with the men in our lives in charity and purity. If God tells you to stop a behavior or to call off a relationship -- by all means, obey! But there should be no guilt in being an appropriate friend with godly men. And no shame in "falling in love" either. It's a perfectly natural beautiful thing. We are given the opportunity to do so in balanced purity, in the love of God and in His guidance.
Blessings on your journey,
Can't We Be Friends?