Boys Who Are Friends

I became a Christian when I was 15. That is, at least, the easiest way to say it (if not the most theologically accurate).  And that means that for 15 years, I acted out of non-Biblically based presumptions.  Not all were bad, not all were wrong, not all needed to go.

Look how much we aren't dating.

One of these presumptions, which until recently I held with a passion, was that males and females could absolutely, with no issues, in total purity, (andplusalsotoo it was fun) be friends. Since high school, when I lost 50 lbs and grew 6 inches 🙂 , I’ve had a lot of male friends. It wasn’t until I went on staff at a church that this changed. Suddenly, the way I hugged was inappropriate. Propriety dictated that you didn’t hurl through the air into friends, pounce and wrestle on unsuspecting manfriends, and you didn’t go out dancing with a new one every weekend. (See above) Who knew? My boss, that’s who. She gave me a what’s-for, and over the months, I saw that maybe there wasn’t total purity in the friendships I held with guys.  Then, last January, my best friend (a guy) started dating someone. It became very quickly clear that we couldn’t be friends anymore. You can’t date someone while there is another someone who you say you love, who you say knows you better than anyone else, who you call beautiful.

It was terrible, it was like breaking up, only worse, because you’re not allowed to feel like you’re breaking up with someone you were never dating.  Thus began the slow process of re-evaluating my stance.  Recently I felt lead to not have any guy friendships at all…at least not ones that go anything beyond public, group style hanging out. None of this texting all day, no calling just to talk, no party hopping down 6th… I know this may sound so elementary to you, but Jesus came to save the sick, not the well. The relationally confused, not the ones that had it all figured out. So I made a few calls, or didn’t make a few calls, and basically retreated from the world  of guy friends.  Little changed on the outside, I’m a busy lady, but the intricacies of relational dynamics, they started to shine in new, holy hues.  “Maybe this is it, maybe people of opposite gender just really can’t be friends,” I thought.  I was certainly backed up.  Tanya, a friend and mother I respect a lot (and whose house is a haven of purity) agreed, “No, no guy friends.” And Shanna’s husband (I live with their family) said something very similar to, “Has she seen When Harry Met Sally? Do we need to have a movie night?”

So I thought I had a new paradigm. Then, in response to a facebook status asking what people thought biblical femininity was, my friend Terra suggested a few books. The first is Mixed Ministry which I am currently reading.  And this book, whoa. It talks about the Biblical call to live as brothers and sisters in Christ, “sacred siblings” is the term it uses. The key question it poses is “If biological brothers and sisters can manage it, can men and women not related by birth or by law share an affectionate, yet nonsexual, relationship?” (p64, Edwards, Matthews, and Rogers) It is tearing down all my ideas, in a great way, supported with Biblical texts. I love it! The pages look like Willy Nelson’s face, I’ve underlined so much. (see below)

i love this man.

I am no where near a conclusion on the issue, though. In fact, I think I can quite accurately sum up  my thoughts as follows:

“Whoa….what?”

But I would like to share the following, which i found interesting.  The authors suggested, if wondering how to love your brothers and sisters, taking the passage from 1 Corinthians 13 and replacing “love” with your gender’s sibling name. Mine, therefore, went like this

A sister is patient, a sister is kind. A sister does not envy or boast. A sister is not arrogant or rude.

A sister does not insist on her own way.  A sister is not irritable or resentful.

A sister does not rejoice in wrongdoings but rejoices with the truth.

A sister bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Please, join the conversation. What do you think, friends? 😉

11 thoughts on “Boys Who Are Friends

  1. I’ve always wondered about what opposite sex friendships look biblically. If you aren’t supposed to be friends, then how do you meet your husband/wife? I’m glad there seems to be information for both sides out there.

  2. I am very pleased that you think on things such as this. In the church, in practice, it often seems to be forgotten that we are to treat the younger people as brothers and sisters and the older people as mothers and fathers. Indeed the younger seems more likely to be viewed as the object of some romantic objective than as sibling. This is tragic and leads to all kinds of unholy thought and behaviour and a missing of the joy, refining and purity that is in a proper relationship.

    I have actually practiced this sort of affection that you speak of for several years. Of course modesty is important, girls certainly ought not to be affectionate to their guy friends in the way that they are affectionate to their girl friends. We are to be brothers and sisters, but we are still evil. However affectionate you would be to your biological brother, you should probably be less so to your brothers in Christ. I have purposed rarely, if ever, to touch a girl; this is not an explicit requirement of holiness of course, but it’s certainly not harmful to such a goal and indeed helps.

    If you have a deepening friendship, by all means, do not let your relationship get into an ambiguous state; one very damaging thing is mismatched intentions. Furthermore, if you are indeed sister and brother in Christ, at least you ought to speak of Him to one another and pray for one another and for your relationship, else you ought to be rather suspicious that yall are indeed in Christ as this is a phrase that does actually have practical meaning.

    It seems to me that a good marriage requires a deep, lasting friendship. In this way, what is normally called dating, seems more artificial and friendship, as Christian brothers and sisters, seems more useful; as far as preparing for marriage goes and, indeed, uncovering who you ought to marry. Of course in the marriage vows there is the forsaking of all others. Because of this, those who are married or walking towards marriage with someone should forsake all others; significant cross gender friendships other than spouse should not exist.

  3. Bottom line my sister is letting the Holy Spirit direct you in ALL things, not books, not men/women, not trends, nor feelings[As God’s word is the only truth]!
    I too gave my life over to X when I was a teenager n had no idea of anything Christian…underline anything! By then I had already did a lot of stuff I shouldn’t have (tearing off my clothes due to being high on ecstasy being only 1 but not the worst). Coming to X love was the most soul freeing experience ever, so not knowing anything but very little doctrine n application, I started asking God to solely lead my life. I became a new virgin waiting for that 1 God made for me…..waiting patiently. It’s funny guys would ask me out n I would say no, then they would ask if i was seeing someone…”no, but I’m waiting for someone”. It was really tempting but none where my 1. See because I serve The only God, I knew He cared enough to send His best for me my way, not only that but if I trusted Him enough He would show me that person as well. I did have guy friends that I saw at church n bible studies, I even talked to old flames n introduced them to my savior. I always made it clear that I wasn’t looking for someone I was already taken although I didn’t know who, yet. Some friends did want to get a little too close so I put space between us. I treated my male friends as if they were married to someone, we talked n were polite but didn’t flirt. Smiling at a man is not saying “I want you”. Eventually, God did show me my husband, we were praying w/ each other n I knew. Then God showed Eli about me too but we never said anything until………..let’s have lunch soon!;~)

  4. I was laying in bed n thought more of this n had to tell u…..LIVE, live ur calling passionately , like there is nothing else, run don’t walk. Before u know it, u will be serving ur husband. Right now u can devote ALL ur life to Jesus n when ur married u will be thinking how can I serve my husband. and not that u r not living passionately for God right now but if u know GOD is not leading u to a relationship right now, then don’t walk that way, turn ur foot to the leading of the shepherd. Don’t boggle ur mind w/ stuff u ‘aint needing to, u know what I mean. So my previous post I retract, please 😉

  5. Hey Ritz, just out of curiosity (and since you quoted me), what exactly were we talking about when I said, “No, no guy friends at all?” I just don’t remember the conversation, that’s all. It sounds like I was referring to myself since I am married. You’ll have to refresh my memory! We’ll be back in about 3 more days so we’ll talk to you then… Hope you had a fabulous Thanksgiving!

  6. Kelsey: I’ll keep you updated on what I learn!

    Joseph: thanks for sharing. So much insight from a man of so few words…aloud. 🙂

    Tanya: my bad! I totally should have asked before quoting! Ugh, re-learning blog etiquette, I’m so sorry. We were just talking about what God was teaching me one day, that day that I brought Gerard over and just hung out, and I shared how I didn’t think I could have guy friends anymore, becuase it just seemed like eventually we wouldn’t be able to be friends because someone would get married.

    Priscilla: should i delete the first comment? Thanks so much for caring and lending me the guidance you have been given!! I love hearing what you have to say. Lunch, of course!!

  7. I’m delighted that our book is challenging your thinking and taking you to the Bible for direction. We love it when people like yourself wrestle with these thorny issues as they grow stronger in faith and in relationships. Keep wrestling my friend.

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