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Ladies’ Thursday: Friendships Between the Genders, Part II

3 Jan

Ladies’ Thursday: Friendships Between the Genders, Part II

I Timothy 5:1,2:  “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.”

Actually, this post is Part II and the link is Part I.  Except I updated it over the New Year’s holiday so I guess it really is Part II.

And this addendum is just to make sure I imbue my list with a reality check.  Like almost all Baby Boomers,  I love lists.  We can be very linear and very task-oriented so lists can really amp up our brains!!!

But God transcends all cultures and all eras and He has merely told us that we are to treat each other with respect.  Or, as the above Scriptures say, we are to treat those who are our elders as mothers and fathers in the faith.  Those who are our peers are to be treated as brothers and sisters.

That is God’s instruction about how to manage relationships between the genders.  That, and His instruction to avoid impurity and sexual sin.

Beyond that, we have soul liberty to find and build our friendships where they work best for us.

Some may shudder at that much freedom.  “Give me a list of rules so I won’t crash and burn in sexual sin.”  Well, actually, God (a real, alive, thriving relationship with God) will keep us from sexual sin.  Without that relationship, no list of rules will do much for us.

I gave my list in the earlier post (linked above) as some guidelines from my experience as a woman who has worked around a lot of men in a 27-year Navy career, then subsequent three-year career as a Navy contractor (so far!).

But I fear that my list, not being all-inclusive and not being tailored to the personality of every person reading it, will prove a snare to someone.  To one person, it might truncate her soul liberty when it doesn’t need to do that.  To another person, it might invite him into a casual approach to relationships that will ultimately help lead him to a fall.

I don’t want either of those to happen, so I offer my list in the understanding that we are all different and your mileage may vary (smile).

I will give one example.  My husband has no issues with going in a car with a female co-worker to meet clients, then stopping at a shopping club on the way back to the office to pick up things for both of their spouses.  I am a little more cautious than that.  I really don’t feel comfortable alone in a car with a male other than my husband or my son.  That is just me.  And I honor that in myself and take separate cars whenever possible.  The exception would be when I travel with male colleagues and don’t have my own rental car.  I do sometimes wind up in a car alone with a male coworker under those conditions.  But that is all right.  God knows my heart and my comfort zone and He helps me be where I need to be to feel in step with Him.

The main things to remember are to not put yourself in a position where you or another person could be led astray by your flesh.  That would pretty much rule out being alone behind closed doors with a member of the opposite sex, except for your spouse.

And, as much as lies within you,  don’t let your freedom become an occasion for others to misunderstand your motives and gossip about you.  Some gossip is unavoidable.  People sometimes have boring little lives and look to others for material for conversation.

Just don’t purposely provide that for them!!!

Beyond that, if you make friends with someone of the opposite gender, realize that God is blessing you with that friendship!

Not everyone will have opposite gender friends.  Some men and women seem made to only have same gender relationships.  And that is okay.  Don’t try to force them into something unnatural for them.

At the same time, don’t let others lay guilt on you about having friendships that cross gender lines.  If you have already built godly controls into those relationships, then they are the business of you, your friend, your spouse, and your friend’s spouse.  Nobody else really needs to vote on them.

Have fun!

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