” . . . friendship between the sexes may take us not out of ourselves but beyond ourselves and make us more whole, balanced, and sane that we could otherwise be.”
Friendship between the sexes is often the female equivalent of philandering which is exactly why care is taken in these matters in Paul's instruction to women.
I like what Bonhoeffer wrote, “If I love my wife, if I accept marriage as an institution of God, then there comes an inner freedom and certainty of life and action in marriage; I no longer watch with suspicion every step that I take; I no longer call into question every deed that I perform.” Faithfulness in marriage is limiting but not constricting. Friendship between the sexes can be consistent with fidelity.
Not only do I believe “Friendship between the sexes can be consistent with fidelity,” within Christian circles friendship between the sexes should promote fidelity. That's what is supposed to set us apart as citizens of a different kingdom—known for how we love one another. Not just how husbands and wives love each other, although certainly that too, but also for how brothers and sisters love each other. Jesus meant for love to be the trademark of his followers—the same brand of self-sacrificing love he has for us. Instead we're afraid of each other and careful to keep our distance.
Thanks for your comments.
I am not sure that we are afraid of each other, speaking for myself. Rather, that we are realistic about each other. There is a risk when a man and a woman develop a friendship. Even a relationship free and clear of sensual touch could become an emotional seduction. What you said about promoting fidelity will guard against that.
“Friendship between the sexes is the equivalent of female philandering?”
I don't understand. Philandering is philandering and it has nothing to do with friendship. There is no doubt that lines can get crossed. We are tempted but we have assurances that we are not tempted beyond that which we are able to endure.
Does the temptation to gluttony, lead us to fast? Does the temptation to covet lead us to the wilderness? Does the temptation to steal lead us away from the marketplace? Those who deny themselves of dancing, playing cards and wine are labeled legalists. Should the same label be applied to those who shun same sex friendships?
While I acknowledge there are a few I know who have crossed the line, they are few. In the workplace, my husband and I both have same sex friendships. As long as we hold this friendship up to the Lord, hold every interaction in public, and listen attentively to the Spirit, we can thrive.
I don't fear my husband's relationships. He calls me in when counseling women alone. His calendar is shared by me on gmail. His phone and email are not hidden. There are no red flags. It is duplicity in any behavior that we must be diligent in detecting.
Should we deny the potential of the body of Christ out of fear? God has given us His armor; His Spirit; His Body. Whom shall we fear?
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