Flirting with Disaster
Q: I am a 31 year old woman who has been good friends with this guy since we were kids. He has always playfully flirted with me whether he was in a relationship or not. I have always made it clear that we were just friends and he says he is only playing. We are not kids anymore. He’s is now married and is a Deacon in the church. I really like his wife and have a lot of respect for her. Don’t you think continued flirting is inappropriate in God’s eyes? I don’t want to seem as though I’m making a big deal out of nothing but it just doesn’t seem right.
A: Then obviously, it isn’t right. Even if neither of you succumbs to sexual temptation, what testimony does it give to your church as others observe such behavior between you? Worse still, imagine the damage you two could do to his marriage if his wife became jealous of your actions!
Normally, playful banter and energetic give-and-take between friends are quite fine. However, in a situation where either person either is tempted to sin or could give a poor witness to others, you then find yourself at least at the entry to “the path of the wicked” and “the way of the evil. (Proverbs 4:14)” Of this, the Lord says, “Avoid it; do not go on it; turn away from it and pass on. (v. 15)”
Save flirting for whatever special man God allows in your life — especially in marriage — and treat your deacon with dignity and respect. Likewise, his marriage will be strengthened as he practices “flirtation” with his wife. You can still enjoy his (occasional) company without allowing playfulness any opportunity to grow into something sinful. Even here, I recommend that you not spend any extended time alone together. Because of your long-time closeness, too many avenues toward trouble will always remain open.
Heed the apostle: “Abstain from every form of evil. (1 Thessalonians 5:22)” Small “guilty pleasures” otherwise have the ability to explode into huge sins. James 1:14-15 spells out what happens in too many circumstances when we lower our guard: “Each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.”
Attend to God’s Word and keep watch on your thoughts and actions. “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith.” (1 Peter 5:8-9)” Remember that “the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one. (2 Thessalonians 3:3)”
Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version™, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles.
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Walter Snyder is the pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Emma, Missouri and coauthor of the book What Do Lutherans Believe.
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