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1"Just Friends"

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  • Jonathan P. Lindvall
    Feb 15, 1999
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      I received the following question and thought my answer might provoke
      some healthy thought and discussion.

      > Do you have any ministry for teens/young people (and their parents) about
      > leaving a romantic relationship because it wasn't God's time yet, how to leave
      > that relationship and how to pursue that previous friendship as a "friendship
      > and sister/brother in Christ" rather than the previous romantic interest? (I
      > do hope I am clear - please let me know if I am not.)
      > I have read most of your teachings on youthful romance and dating, etc. (which
      > are excellent), and have not seen this topic dealt with specifically. (I may
      > have not looked in the right places.)
      I think I understand your question. If I understand correctly, you are
      asking how young people can back out of a romantic relationship to a
      friendship state rather than completely breaking it off. I address some
      of the principles related to this in the tape "Shameface Romance"
      (#907), but let me give my short answer here.

      Basically, I don't believe in special "friendships" between men and
      women that could in any form be considered a "companionship." As a
      married man, I must not allow myself to be "friends" with any other
      woman besides my wife. Together we can be friends with another couple,
      or either a man or a woman. But individually, both my wife and I must
      limit our close friendship relationships to only those of our own
      gender. I can be friendly, without being "close friends." I can interact
      with other women in ministry, cordially, but their must be a certain
      reserve, a cautiousness that is unnecessary in my relationships with
      other men. Most married Christians recognize and embrace this dynamic. I
      believe this is what 1 Timothy 2:9 refer to as being "shamefaced."

      The trap is that while most married Christians understand and apply this
      in their lives (hopefully) we have genrally failed to apply it to single
      Christians. I am convinced if there is something that is inappropriate
      for me to with a woman I'm not married to, it is also inappropriate for
      my son to do this with a woman he is not married to.

      Thus, I would make a significant distinction between a "brother-sister
      relationship" and a "friendship relationship." I have asked my daughter
      to commit to not being "friends" (companions) with fellows in the same
      way she can be "friends" with other young ladies. She can be cautiously
      friendly with men. She can minister to them. She can receive ministry
      from them. But she must not allow herself to violate her
      "shamefacedness" (the Greek word means literally: "downcast eyes").

      Now to your actual question. In my brevity this may sound harsh. I will
      trust you to color this with a merciful spirit. I believe any
      experimental romance is sin and should be repented of. Even any
      "brother-sister" relationship has been irreparably marred, but can be
      redeemed over time as both parties repent and seek only to glorify the
      Lord through emotional purity. But I believe it is dangerous and
      unscriptural (as well as impossible) for the parties to try to be "just
      God bless you.

      Jonathan Lindvall Lindvall@...
      Bold Christian Living http://www.BoldChristianLiving.com

      PO Box 820 Voice 559-539-0500
      Springville CA 93265 Fax 559-539-0804

      ...He who has begun a good work in you will complete it... Phil. 1:6