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But friendships between men and women in the church are one holy expression of the hard-fought intimacy God has earned for us in Christ (Galatians ), especially as we draw others into those friendships as safeguards.All the effort we put into boundaries and clarity both honors and enacts this gift — a gift that shouldn’t be prohibited when there are appropriate lines of sight with people informed and involved enough to protect both parties.Are we friends for the sake of the church, for the sake of a project, for the sake of enjoying a mutual hobby, for the sake of serving the church?Let’s have answer, and let interactions that veer away from that agreed upon purpose remain off-limits.
It seems to me, after considering the biblical evidence, that male-female friendships lean even more heavily on a process that exists in all friendships: We usually undergo this process subconsciously with each new relationship: evaluating whether the relationship will be detrimental to ourselves or disobedient to God, and if it is not, identifying healthy parameters to make the relationship as fruitful as possible, and finally enjoying the ongoing benefits of the relationship. One person has completely innocent or friendly intentions, and the other falls in love.It’s easy for the church to split itself into men’s ministries, women’s ministries, and couples’ ministries.The singles become the wild card, often throwing what might have been an easy system of purity out of sync.And the sort of relationship dictates what boundaries it needs to flourish.
“The path of life leads upward for the prudent, that he may turn away from Sheol beneath” (Proverbs ).
Let’s be honest about intentions: why are we really compelled to build and invest in this friendship?