I want to be upfront a bit, this article is tailored towards the brothers but it has its secondary application to the sisters.
The question of ‘how to manage an opposite-sex friendship with no strings attached’ within a godly setting could pose some challenges sometimes. After a while you begin to hear gist like, “he led me on” or ‘I didn’t have the slightest inkling I was giving her green light”. These comments are usually uttered after a semi-break up between the duo, leaving a crack on the platonic friendship that was in smooth sail.
Over the years, and obviously as I grew older, I am beginning to see how much hurt God feels when there is a crack in our friendships. The problem stems from our inability to master our emotions, be it sensual or sexual. It is God’s desire that we know how to posses our vessels in sanctification and honour not like those who don’t have or submit to the Holy-Spirit through Christ in their lives (1 Thessalonians 4:5)
When Cain had an emotional issue with anger, revenge and jealousy, God went to him saying “Satan has a plan against you, but you can master and rule over it” Cain refused and did the contrary, this act led to his banishment.
In same vein, we can master our emotions and master its dictates; this is the reason why self-control, a component of the fruit of the Spirit is extremely important for us all. This is not a one-sided effort, both parties in the friendship must be willing to trail this lane.
A scripture in 1 Tim. 5:2 ties nicely, Paul was admonishing his son Timothy and he told him “treat the elderly women as mothers, the younger sisters as sisters with all purity”
MY question is why will Paul add the “with all purity” bit to his instruction for the younger women? This spells out the exact way the brothers are expected to treat their sisters-in-Christ, ‘with all purity’.
While I ruminate on this, two ways may help my brothers.
Firstly, be open and sincere about your intentions and actions. There is no room for assumption in a friendship where you hope to guide each other’s heart. Ask questions where there is need for clarification. Brothers, tell her if you are interested in pursuing the prospect of a relationship with the intent of marriage and tell her if you are not.. Remind her of the boundaries for your friendship; don’t take it with levity when friends and family begin to play the match-making game around you both. Brothers take the initiative in helping her manage her expectations of you in the friendship.
This may seem absurd initially but this is one of the tests of emotional maturity. Matured Christians rarely act out of impulses; they are mostly intentional with their actions.
Furthermore, be accountable to godly people around you. Carry people along in your friendship, whether you are interested or not. These people will fill you in on needful update. You do not want to keep her too close or “Emotionally Engaged” when some other brother is interested.
God intends that we have pure friendships but we are sometimes derailed by the real culprit, lust. It will always attempt to rob us of our friendships. It lies to us that there is something better outside this normal godly exchange, something that can satisfy us. Each taste of its lies that we savor throws us into a deeper longing for what cannot be rightly satisfied. We have a responsibility to guide each other’s heart. We must mature beyond sentiment, live more intentionally and master our emotions; this is God’s desire for us all.
Postscript: Thanks for following us in the last four weeks where we looked at the theme; ‘he is my brother’. we know you have been richly blessed. keep striving to know God’s will by looking at his word and keep living for eternity.
Moment of Kairos Team!