Interacting with the Opposite Sex- A Response

So, it has been almost 2 years since my last blog. After moving to Texas, life seemed to fill up quick and I got a little distracted. I have been wanting to get back into the blogging world lately because I feel the Lord is really leading me to be more encouraging in the lives of others. I think the last 2 years has been a waiting period for me. The Lord has made it clear that what I have been waiting for is not part of His plan right now. So, I came to the point of thinking, ‘what the heck am I doing with my life?’ There is so much the Lord can do with me and I really do want to be of great and encouraging impact to those around me. Sharing what the Lord is teaching me is one of the ways that can happen. So here we go!

I read a blog entry earlier called ‘10 Lies We Believe About Interacting with the Opposite Sex’ by a girl name Courtney. As a single woman, I completely understand this young woman’s frustrations, but I feel a lot of what she is saying is not entirely helpful. I wanted to write a semi response to it. I’m not going to go point by point, but will just share some thoughts I have after reading it. (It may be helpful to go read the blog entry before my response in order to get some background info.)

* Disclaimer: I do not have all of the answers to this issue, nor am I claiming to be an expert. These are just some of my thoughts based on the above blog post, conversations I’ve had with women (and men!), and scripture. *

Relationships and friendships between men and women has become such a touchy subject these days. I think there definitely is confusion and frustration on both sides. In the ’10 Lies’ blog, Courtney brings to light her frustrations with guys not interacting with and initiating friendships with girls. She comes up with 10 lies she believes is the problem and goes into some explanation on each one. While some of her points may be a little valid, I think there are some issues with what she is saying. I definitely do believe a lot of Christian men are lacking in the whole pursuit department. I have had many frustrating moments of being surrounded by amazing godly women that the Christian men in church just aren’t pursuing. I believe a lot of it is men being completely comfortable with the ‘freedom’ of singleness. However, I am talking about pursuit that occurs when men actually want to get married. And that is another subject entirely.

As far as friendships go, I think men should not initiate and pursue women unless marriage is at the forefront of their mind. I think it wise for men and women to be guarded in regards to their relationships with the opposite sex. Am I against men and women being friends? Absolutely not! I have guy friends of my own. However, I have seen and found in my experience that doing 1 on 1 with opposite sex with the mindset of ‘just being friends’ doesn’t really work. So, while ‘let’s do lunch’ might not exactly mean ‘let’s reproduce’ it may just cause one or the other to hope something more may come out of it. I think it’s much better for a guy to be stand-offish and guard a girl’s heart than try to initiate friendships with multiple girls, causing one or more of them heart ache down the road.

I do agree that we can’t just sit at home hoping someone will fall out of the sky (Courtney’s Lie#5). If someone wants to eventually get married, he or she will need to be social in some aspect. I’m all for single men and women doing different activities together. (Catch that? Men and women. Not man and woman.) Group settings are a great way to interact with members of the opposite sex. However, we must be careful not to confuse ministry and finding friends of the opposite sex as being the same thing. Courtney uses the Great Commission verse (Matt. 28:19) to defend her point of getting out there to meet members of the opposite sex and eventually a spouse. This verse is speaking specifically of a ministry: spreading the gospel, making disciples, baptizing them, teaching them. Now, can you meet your spouse while working for a specific ministry? Absolutely! I know many godly married couples that met each other while working with a specific ministry. However, using the Great Commission as a means of defending that God tells us to ‘go out to meet members of the opposite sex’ is not biblical. Social gatherings to meet new people and the Great Commission are 2 different things.

Also, she used the verse where God says that man is not to be alone (Genesis 2:18) to defend men and women being friends. Look at what God says in this verse next: ‘I will make a helper fit for Him.’ God is specifically referring to marriage in this verse. Therefore, I do not think He intended it to be used as a defense that men and women should be friends. I definitely understand that it can be good for men and women to interact with each. Both men and women are part of the body of Christ and need to know how to rightfully interact with each other. Yes, let’s do ministry together and spread the gospel together, but let’s not make it into singles social event. All should be done first and foremost for the glory of God and spreading of His kingdom, not so I can meet a guy that could potentially be my husband.

Courtney also stated that she believes men and women spending more time together would decrease the dependency on porn (Lie#8). I will not get into the issue of porn or try to solve it, because I believe a solution to this issue is very spiritually complex. However, I can confidently say that a man struggling with dependency on porn will not be cured by spending more time with girls. Addiction to porn is a deep seated spiritual issue as a result of the fall of mankind, so this ‘solution’ is not helpful at all nor does it address the real heart of the issue.

Again, let me reiterate the fact that I am not against members of the opposite sex being friends or interacting with each other. I think there can be definite benefits to men and women being around each other. However, I think men and women need to be very wise about this. We should be guarded in respect to one another. I choose to be more cautious in my interactions with men not only to guard my own heart, but also theirs. Men and women are not created for close relationships with one another outside of marriage. God chose for man to not be alone, so He created a helper (wife) for him (Genesis 2:18). God originally planned for men and women to pair off and become one flesh (ultimately to exemplify Christ and the church through marriage) not for them to simply be friends. Because of the fall in Genesis 3, humanity has skewed what God had originally planned (even though the fall was still part of His plan, but I’ll save the sovereignty of God for another blog post!). Men have become more lax in their pursuit of women so now women are just starving for any attention at all from men even if it’s just friends.

I want to encourage single men and women to be guarded with your hearts. First and foremost, set your sights and pursuits on Christ. If you are struggling with insecurity and feeling lonely, be honest with Him about it! Pray for comfort, pray for Christ to show you your importance in His eyes. Being completely satisfied in Christ is more fulfilling than any friendship you may find with the opposite sex. Godly men, be guarded with your interactions with women. But, do not be afraid of marriage or stepping out and pursuing a godly woman when you are ready to get married. Set your sight on Christ and seek wisdom from Him and He will give you the courage and strength to step out. Women guard your hearts at all costs! Don’t be ready to open it up until someone is ready to keep it. Be wise in your friendships with the opposite sex. If you are feeling lonely or rejected, go to Christ who is our ultimate bridegroom (Matt. 9:15, John 3:29). Do not try to find your comfort and self-worth in relationships with other people. Yes, the Lord blesses us with amazing relationships that can be very encouraging. But, when we try to find our self-worth in anything other than Christ, we will always be left disappointed.

And, if by chance Courtney reads this, please know that I understand your frustrations. Sometimes the lack of activity in men can be so overwhelming and discouraging. I often have to pray about this issue and seek wisdom from Him. I completely understand having the urge knock a few guys’ heads against the wall. However, I implore you to continue your pursuit of Christ. If guys are stand-offish and don’t want to be friends, let them be. Fill your time and energy with godly women and ministries that tug at your heart. I guarantee you that God will bring along the right man in His timing and way. Yes, even if you aren’t interacting with them on a day to day basis. God is pretty amazing in the ways He works. I dare to venture that He will even drop one out of the sky if He so chooses. 🙂

May God be glorified in all we do!

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