November 19, 2013

Slippery Friendships

My friend Lisa sent me an email saying this topic–friendships between men and women–needs to be talked about. Based on this Barna study, I think she’s right:

  • 4 out of 10 Amer­i­cans believe that adul­tery is morally accept­able.
  • 1 out of 10 Christians feels the same.

While I agree with Lisa, I bet I’ll get some flack for this one.

Some will feel I’m overly conservative being so guarded in my friendships with guys. Others will say I’m too liberal, not drawing stricter boundary lines.

4 things mte And if you fall in either camp, I hear you. Please know I do {I have had many, many conversations around this topic}. But ultimately my boundary lines are drawn from what I understand God’s Word says about wisdom, and honoring my husband. I have guy friends, besides Josh. Some of them are married, some single. Many are Christian, quite a few are not. A couple I’ve known for almost 20 or 30 years, and I consider to be like brothers. We hang out, text, play games, enjoy dinner together … but not alone. This isn’t a boundary line I wait on them to make for me. Nope. Years ago [long before I was married], I personally decided it was wisest for me to not be by myself with a married man.

Why, you might ask?

45 per­cent of Chris­tians indi­cate hav­ing done some­thing sex­u­ally inap­pro­pri­ate, and 23 per­cent hav­ing extra­mar­i­tal inter­course (Ander­son, 2000). These num­bers nearly match national stats.

Maybe it seems like a stretch to leap from friendship to affair. For heaven’s sake, lunch with a guy friend at a restaurant isn’t a one-way ticket to the bedroom, right?

Yes. That’s absolutely true. However, according to Jesus {and, sorry George Barna, but Jesus trumps statistics}, affairs aren’t merely of the physical kind behind closed doors. Oh no, my friend. They can start behind closed hearts.

“You know the next commandment pretty well, too: ‘Don’t go to bed with another’s spouse.’ But don’t think you’ve preserved your virtue simply by staying out of bed. Your heart can be corrupted by lust even quicker than your body. Those leering looks you think nobody notices—they also corrupt.” Matthew 5:28

Again, you’re right to say that time spent alone with a friend doesn’t always lead to uncontrollable thoughts. So true.

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That’s why I’m not going to tell you what kind of boundary lines to draw. That’s between you and God. And you and your husband if you’re married. But what I would suggest is to study Scripture and conclude for yourself what God says about wisdom and folly {Take Proverbs 28:26 for instance, “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, But he who walks wisely will be delivered”}. Especially if you linger over an email or text message your friend sent you. If your mind wonders, “What would it be like to hold his hand?” {sound elementary? It happens.} Or if you imagine what life would be like if only he were your husband.

I err on the side of caution. I’ve listened to friends like Mia get caught off-guard by their own hearts. I’ve gotten the call from a friend after she left the hotel room.

1381889_601872119870153_1406437578_n Bottom line: our hearts are deceitful {Jeremiah 17:9}. I wouldn’t hang out with a person known to play tricks without setting up some clear parameters. Then based on Jeremiah 17:9, why wouldn’t I make some effort to protect myself from … well, myself? Above all, remember … we’re aiming for holiness here and holiness is worth contending for. We’re not just looking out for the protection of our own hearts, but we’re acting in a way that loves God {and His Word … remember the 7th Commandment and Matthew 5:28?}, and loves others {that means your friend’s wife, no matter what dirt he may dish about her}.

995672_10151507472253391_9572655_n Thanks for reading this. I pray God gives you wisdom in your friendships. And one last thing to note: If you have already crossed boundary lines, please know you can ask for forgiveness and God grants it freely with great joy.

 

 

 

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xoxo,
Sam

Comments

  1. Thank you for posting this! One, it was something my deceitful heart needed to hear. Two, its a topic most people don’t have honest conversations about. Such a great perspective on guy-girl friendships and thought-provoking! Thanks again for delivering a message that God knew I needed to hear at such a crucial time in my life!

  2. I find myself on your blog after reading your post on Proverbs31. I’m sitting here, not sure what to write. This topic has been debated for years, in many circles. I have been on both sides of the conversation…can a guy and a girl be “just friends?” I grew up as “just one of the guys,” so I always thought that answer was yes. But I’ve also watched men and women in relationships “just friends” and lines got blurred, crossed, and hearts and minds were confused and broken. Lives change, fall apart, something that begins very innocently affects many lives, not just the two who begin a very innocent exchange. People get hurt and trust is a very difficult thing to rebuild. Relationships are precious gifts. Lingering over “what-ifs” — Also standing by and watching a man and a woman who are supposedly “just friends” share intimate conversations and private jokes is very difficult for the “third party,” who happens to be the spouse; the “loved one.” Rebuilding and repairing a relationship that has been damaged from what was an innocent man/woman friendship is extremely difficult as well without the Lord. Trust in the Lord with all your heart. If men and woman spent as much time working positively on their relationships with their significant others/spouses, as they do on innocent friendships with others, there would be fewer divorces and many more happy marriages! Thank you for the post today. Thank you for this blessing.

  3. I read your devotional Samantha and I would so benefit from a copy of “Encouragement for Today: Devotionals for Everyday Life.” Slippery Friendships was me not too long ago. All the warning signs were there, but I just did not listen to what anyone said, and I was far away from GOD at the time. I am steadfastly remaining as faithful as can be in the midst of a storm, and I know it isn’t easy. But I have to believe that GOD will get me through it. I believed that by myself I could guard myself, but my heart like Jeremiah said: The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9 (NIV), was in fact deceitful. However, it got me caught in a stickier situation than that of Mia and her coworker. Had I listened to GOD, and came back to GOD sooner, I may be in a better place right now. BUT that is not the case, and with time, GOD heals. So again, Samantha, thank you for sharing your devotional. It speaks to me. And I hope it speaks to others before it gets to the point of “too late.” It never has to be to late, if we remain steadfast in GOD.

  4. Thanks for this! I think everyone needs to read this. It is so easy to fall into this trap! I found myself in a ‘friendship’ with a single man when I was married. We became ‘best friends’ and messaged each other all day long – first thing in the morning and last thing at night. My marriage wasn’t great and eventually ended in divorce when I discovered my husband was having an affair. By this time my friend was engaged but he spent more time messaging me during the day than he did his fiance. That relationship eventually ended too. I remember saying to a friend that I felt guilty about my relationship and she assured me there was nothing wrong with our relationship. I could kick myself for listening to her instead of my conscience! That deceitful heart of mine fell in love with my best friend, but despite the time he spent messaging me, he didn’t feel the same way. I eventually broke off our friendship – I felt like I would always be ‘the other woman’ in his life and I realized that our relationship was more destructive than good. I could have saved myself a lot of heartache if I had heeded my conscience, which was pricked by the Holy Spirit! I am a poster child for Ms Goody Two Shoes, so I never imagined I would fall into this trap! I felt like I needed to go around warning others, but didn’t quite know how. Your blog post is great and does a good job of pointing out the dangers. Again, I think every adult should read this – even those who think this could never happen to them! Not only is our heart deceitful, but our enemy the devil is like a roaring lion seeking to devour us. He is always looking for a way to destroy us – this starts off so innocently we often don’t recognize its destructiveness until it is too late!

  5. Samantha, I so respect your message today! Based upon my own life experience, which caused great heartache many years ago! God bless you for sharing today!

  6. I usually do not comment or post or write after reading a devotional, or blog- but today I just had to. Thank you, thank you for allowing God to lead you to write about this so clearly and on point. About two years ago, my heart led me into a relationship that I am still recovering from with a married man. Here in Windhoek, it is an issue not many Christian leaders, brothers and sisters or ministers want to address. It was a hard and lonely time and today I am thankful that I am wiser and more aware of how I behave. I will send this post to many I know because it is ‘the little foxes that ruin the vineyard’ and being made aware is very important in safeguarding our hearts.
    Thank you once again.

  7. Just wanted to say thank you for writing this and if you think of it please pray for me b/c my marriage is very difficult-has been for all but maybe a couple years where it appeared to be fine. I don’t want to fall in this area but am lonely and overburdened and sometimes have help from my husband and sometimes not. On the “not” days it’s hard to deal with husband’s attitude and do single mom act and not let thoughts go to what if thoughts-like what if I had married ….instead. Dear Lord, please keep me and all women (and, men)
    Pure in body,heart and mind. Amen..

  8. Dear Sam,
    These words that you penned are truly from the Holy Spirit and I am grateful that you had the courage to write them. I agree that it is important not to place yourself in compromising situations and I remember several years ago when God revealed the truth to me regarding how committing sin was not just referring to a physical act but it could be a heart issue or a thought. I was forever changed by this revelation and I believe that we really need to teach our sons and daughters this truth so that they will not be ensnared in the enemy’s trap. It is also a great teaching for our engaged and married couples. Great word !!!

  9. I was reading email this morning and then I clicked on the link for your devotion and sharing. I have often wondered where the fine line is or was. Thank you for making it clear and showing scripture .

  10. Thank you so much for posting this! Your writing speak volumes to me. I had put myself in a situation with a so called friend for 13 YEARS! We were just friends, and friends only, but for the past year that I have been away from that situation, learning to lean on God, and not myself has been a journey. I feel that if I had put God first in my life, I would not have spent those years lost and lonely. With my rediscovery of my Heavenly Father I am so happy to know that God loves me just as I am. Knowing that gives me strength to continue in the one relationship I should have never let slide.

    God Bless

  11. Thanks for writing this! It definitely spoke to me in more ways than one. God bless!

  12. Thank you for writing about this, too many people do not realize the situation they put themselves in until it is too late.

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