Ask Erin: "How do I interact with guys just as a friend?"
I am so glad you're asking these questions! I want you to understand the difference between standing firm in your commitment to purity (a very, very good thing) and being standoffish toward the guys in your life (not such a good thing). Sometimes girls' ministry leaders (myself included) make the mistake of encouraging firm boundaries so often that we forget to encourage Christ-like interactions with the guys in your life.
Yes, you can have friends who are guys and yes, friendship is a great way to discover if a guy would make a great husband. Nowhere in Scripture does God call men and women to be so completely separated that that there is no room for interaction. Also, when we encourage you to wait on God's timing for romance, we aren't saying that you should lock yourself away from all guys until the perfect man drops into your house with a ring.
Marriage isn't the only relationship where it is appropriate for guys and girls to interact. Think about your dad. How do you spend time with him? You talk. You hang out. You eat together. You do things you both enjoy. I am sure there are other guys in your life that you have healthy interactions with as well. Just because you are a girl spending time with a guy doesn't mean romantic music will start playing in the background and butterflies will start swarming in your stomach.
In fact, Scripture tells us that we are to interact with each other in a loving and warm way regardless of gender. Here's just a taste of what the Bible says about how we are to treat each other.
- "Love one another" (John 13:34), and 12 other references.
- "Be devoted to one another in love" (Rom. 12:10).
- "Honor one another above yourselves" (Rom. 12:10).
- "Live in harmony with one another" (Rom. 12:16).
- "Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you" (Rom. 15:7).
- "Have equal concern for each other" (1 Cor. 12:25).
- "Serve one another humbly in love" (Gal. 5:13).
- "Carry each other's burdens" (Gal. 6:2).
- "Be patient, bearing with one another in love" (Eph. 4:2).
- "Be kind and compassionate to one another" (Eph. 4:32).
- "Forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you" (Eph. 4:32).
- "Speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit" (Eph. 5:19).
- "Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ" (Eph. 5:21).
- "In humility value others above yourselves" (Phil. 2:3).
- "Bear with each other" (Col. 3:13).
- "Make your love increase and overflow for each other" (1 Thess. 3:12).
- "Encourage one another" (1 Thess. 4:18, 5:11).
- "Build each other up" (1 Thess. 5:11).
- "Encourage one another daily" (Heb. 3:13)
- "Spur one another on to love and good deeds" (Heb. 10:24).
- "Encouraging one another (Heb. 10:25).
- "Love one another deeply, from the heart" (1 Pet. 1:22)
- "Be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another" (1 Pet. 3:8).
- "Love each other deeply" (1 Pet. 4:8).
- "Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling" (1 Pet. 4:9).
- "Each one should use whatever gift you have received to serve others" (1 Pet. 4:10).
- "Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another" (1 Pet. 5:5).
The Bible clearly teaches us to be warm, kind, and loving toward our Christian brothers, not cold or standoffish. You can be friends with the guys. In fact, you should be friends with guys. God has called you to be kind, encouraging, patient, and concerned with all of the people around you regardless of their gender. Putting these skills into practice in your relationships now can only help prepare you for marriage in the future.
Bottom line girls: treating others well is always okay. Guys aren't the enemy. They were created in the image of God just like you were. What's more, Christian guys are adopted into the same family you are. They are your spiritual brothers and treating them well isn't just okay, it's commanded.
For more on healthy boundaries in guy/girl friendships, check out a post from our archives here.
Keep the great questions coming. I look forward to answering them armed with the truth of God's Word.