Many people are talking today about morality in society and morality within the church. Recently Matt Chandler, a popular pastor, stepped down because of what he called “crossing a line” in a relationship with a woman who is not his wife. I do not know Matt or his church, so I offer no comment on his scenario because I (nor most social media commenters) do not have all the information. I have seen many people make comments on social media about his situation with vague innuendo and assumptions. Many share their personal thoughts, others suggest scriptural thoughts, and some offer seemingly contradictory advice – all hoping for the same outcome – healthy morality in relationships.
The Every Day Carry Christian will carry with himself/herself several Bible truths to deal with relationships with each other and with the opposite sex. A man or woman can enjoy many friendships with people of various backgrounds, faith traditions, work or school experiences, and other denominators, including being older or younger, or being of the opposite sex. It is possible!
Paul gave Timothy great truth to help with these personal interactions:
Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren; The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.1 Timothy 5:1-2
A SIBLING MINDSET
Men are not objects to covet. Women are not objects to lust after. Men and women are to be viewed through the personal lens of being a brother or a sister. For those readers who are born-again Christians, we have brothers and sisters in the Spiritual Family of God. They are siblings along with us in God’s Church. Perhaps much of the poor decisions of men and women about safe guarding their relationships could be solved with this sibling mindset.
In your lifetime, you may have only a handful of genuinely close, intimate, raw, and real friendships. For example, there are only a few people you want to go camping with and stay with in the same tent or campsite. Then there are others, that you want to see while at the campground and perhaps go fishing with, but they are staying in a different tent. Then there are still others you hope to never see at the campground! Most friendships will be more like acquaintances when compared to the few really close friends you may have.
While treating men as our brothers and the women in our lives as our sisters, it is important to observe the several Proverbs about being alone with “strange” people. Please note the following question:
And why wilt thou, my son, be ravished with a strange woman, And embrace the bosom of a stranger?Proverbs 5:20
A STRANGE GUARDRAIL
“Strange” is used several times in Proverbs. It does not mean “Weird!” “Strange” essentially means “someone that does not belong to you.” We “belong” to families, not as property, but as members. If you are married, you “belong” to your spouse, and your spouse “belongs” to you. When we “belong,” we are not “out of place” and the other person is not “out of place” because of the status of our relationship. A man or woman married to each other has a relationship that is consensual, legal, and approved by each other and by God. Unless it’s a real physical sibling, we create families and places of “belonging to each other” in marriage. Anyone not in that guardrail of marriage is “strange.” They do not belong to you, and you do not belong to them.
If you are attracted to someone, anyone, and they do not “belong” to you in marriage, then it would be best to not place yourself in a place to be tempted to entertain sin, flirt with sin, or actually physically sin against God and against that person. Don’t be alone with anyone of the opposite sex, behind closed doors. Being attracted to someone is not a sin; it’s a natural feeling. God created us with feelings and attractions. However, continually thinking about someone who does not “belong” to you can become a sin. Those thoughts can become lust or covetouesness. Coveting is a word that simply means to crave and desire something that does not belong to you. The Scripture is full of warnings about coveting. If thoughts are entertained and if you put yourself in a place where you can act upon your thoughts – you may sin against God and against your spouse and against the person you are alone with either emotionally or physically.
So here is a short list of the Every Day Carry Thriving Skills you need to carry with you to stay morally healthy and morally aware: