These last few days, I’ve been really wondering what a Biblical perspective for guy/girl relationships is. How are we girls supposed to treat guys? Is it possible to be friends with a guy, and yet not have to worry about coming across as romantically interested when all you intend to do is simply be a friend? For me, it hasn’t been that hard to be friends with other girls. Yes, I’m always nervous when I meet new people, and am generally pretty quiet until I get to know them better. But I’ve never really had the chance to be friends with guys, probably at least partly due to the fact that I’m always worried that I’ll come across in a different way than I intend to.
I’ve spent quite a bit of time thinking about this, and while I’m sure I don’t have the entire answer yet, I think I’ve found the key to the solution.
My problem is that I’ve always imagined friendships with guys with the view of them being possible future marriage partners. Never simply as “friends”.
From what I can see, these are two completely different friendships—the one with my girlfriends is mostly about being a blessing to them, listening when they have struggles, sharing struggles of your own, being together and talking about everything under the sun. However, what I’ve always imagined in a guy’s friendship is mostly stuff centered around romance and marriage. How selfish and pointless is that?
I think what’s happened is that I’ve unconsciously bought into a lie—and I’ll explain that in a moment.
I’ve got an older friend (and I hope she doesn’t mind me sharing this!) that made a bad decision in her younger years. She went against the advice of her friends and family, and many years later realized her mistake and tried to correct it. However, from what I read in the Bible, her method of correcting the situation was wrong. That fact aside, she’s since told me that in effect, you should do what you deem is right, no matter what others say. That you should follow your heart no matter what the outcome will be, instead of leading your heart.
From what I’ve heard from modern music, TV, blogs, movies, the internet, and other sources (intentionally or not), I believe this is a modern worldly view. Modern media is pushing the thought that girls’ relationships with guys (and vice versa) can never be simply friendships. It’s okay to have lots of friends in your own gender, but if you cross over into the other gender, that most likely means that you’re interested in dating or going out with them.
The sad thing is, it’s so prevalent that I have unconsciously accepted that as truth. That I can’t have simple friendships with guys without having a “purpose” behind that friendship.
This is not only a lie, but it’s dangerous. And completely unbiblical.
A pertinent verse that comes to mind on this subject is one from 1 Timothy 5:1-2: “Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren; The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.” (emphasis mine)
Taken at face value, this literally means we girls should treat younger men as if they were our brothers, and for the guys to treat younger women as if they are their sisters. Note that nothing is said like “but it’s best if you’re only friends with those of your own gender.” The only stipulation is that you treat them “with all purity”. That would apply to both parties, I believe.
For me, this is revolutionary—that it is okay to simply be friends. Of course, we still have to be careful in our friendships. We still have to be aware that others may see and interpret our words and actions differently than we do. But if we keep to treating everyone “with all purity”, in Christ’s love, be sober minded (yes, I’m talking to myself), and continually commit every friendship to the Lord—whether it be within our own gender or not—we should be alright.
Oh, and sober minded? Different definitions could include self-controlled, wise, discreet, or sensible.
Here are two other helpful passages as well:
“Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.” —1 Timothy 4:12–16
“That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded. In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.”—Titus 2:4–8
This was a good post, Esther. Thank you for sharing it. I needed to be reminded of this again. And I think you’re very right. It’s true that girls can be boy’s acquaintances without having to “like” them in a certain way. I know some people that think girls can’t like and hang around boys unless they like them. And we are commanded to love our neighbor like ourself.
Esther Filbrun says
Thank you for your thoughts, Ashley! Yes, it’s a difficult subject these days, isn’t it? Keep pressing upward!
Ross Taylor says
Hi Ashley, my name is Ross, I’m a friend of Esther’s and her family.
I must have clicked on your link and found myself on a page called ‘Precious Moments, which I believe is your blog site? I see that you have completed a CD called “Surrender”. Tonight, I have had the pleasure of listening to the samples that you have provided on Youtube.
Wow. Just wonderful – I completely love your music. Is it you playing? There is neither a genre or style that I prefer more.
I should like to purchase this disk, and if you have any others of a similar nature, I would be interested in these also. I had an AWFUL day today, and music of that quality and serenity was just what I needed. Thank you so much for sharing it. Please let me know how I can purchase it. I tried to click on some links on your site, but it kept on freezing, so I’m trying to get hold of you here 🙂
Blessings in our Father, Yahweh, and His beloved Son, Yahshua.
Esther Filbrun says
Hope it’s okay that I answer the question instead! From your comment, I got curious and checked out the site myself.
An earlier CD of Amanda Tero’s music (The Solid Rock) can be bought here: http://www.withajoyfulnoise.com/cds.html. Doesn’t look like Surrender is on the website yet. But if you contact her through her contact page, http://www.withajoyfulnoise.com/contact.html, you might be able to get both that way.
I was surprised that Amanda Tero is behind this–I’ve recently come in contact with some of her books, as we’re on the same Facebook group. Neat to see that she’s a musician as well!
Ross Taylor says
Thank you for that Esther 🙂 I agree that it’s nice that she is a musician…. and a great one. I particularly like the Surrender disk – it’s somehow gentler than the other disk, and more relaxing. I tend to like music that flows, and is an expression of the worship in the heart of the one playing it. I particularly like un-orthodox hymns…. to me, the traditional ones have many connotations with them, and some of them are a little empty to me, despite being nicely written, having nice words or even a nice tune.
I’m glad that my comment made you curious, and now your comment has made me curious! I’m curious to know what kinds of music you like? But I’ll hold off asking that question, until after I visit Cheviot, as we discussed. This is because I’m remarkably disciplined…. incredibly virtuous and unbelievably modest! 😉 Goodness, you’re soooo lucky to know me! (PS – I’m sure you realise that I’m joking… )
Just by the way, here is a hymn that has been resonating inside of me today – whilst not the nicest version that I’ve heard, it’s the words that matter and for me it is a favourite. I’ve been enjoying it throughout the day.
I hope that you enjoy it. I’ve had a better day today, thank you. Your prayers must have been responded to. 🙂 Thank you. Have a great night, and stay warm. It’ll be nice to see you all on Friday night.
Enjoying unmerited favour, in Them,
Ross Taylor says
🙂 Well said. 🙂
Philippians 4: 5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.
A moderate approach is normally the best one. Going either side of it leads to legalism or ‘carnal liberty’, both of which lead to sin. One, the sin of pride. The second, sins of a more ‘intimate’ nature. If we take a moderate approach then we will find that we need to:
6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
And if we do that then….
7 …. the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
So in considering who to have as friends, it’s good to not err into legalism (no MALE friends!), or err into ‘carnal liberty’ (where compromise is the name of the game… and it’ll take you further than you want to go… and cost you more than you want to pay!) If you are able to take a moderate line in ascertaining this, and having prayed and made your supplications known to God, then He promises us that HE will keep our hearts and minds safe and give us peace…. so that our conversation together will fulfil verse 8….
8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
If we think on them, then we can talk on them, exploring both a male and female perspective, and being a help and support to each other. When such happens in simplicity, then it’s more like family than friends. It reminds me that we’re all in the Body of Christ. But if we put boys on one side and girls on the other, then we make the Body of Christ more like the victim of a stroke – where one side is paralysed, or cannot work in harmony with the other. Perhaps this is why the church seems to drag it’s legs at times, seeming to me as being more like a zombie than a healthy body to those who look on from the outside. Conversely, a body where there is carnal liberty would be more like a self entitled, child with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, with no sense of boundaries, occasion or decorum! 🙂
But a health body allows all of it’s members to work in unison…. no one part being independent of the others. And all for the benefit of the whole body. I think that is really something – and yet how few there are that find this balance. But here is a complete irony: Would you really marry someone who does not have such a balance? No? Then in applying this moderation to all people, including those who you may have a ‘special’ interest in also has the effect of discounting those who fall outside of ‘moderation’…. and thus it also contributes to keeping you safe from harm in that context also.
Therefore, as Paul said
9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.
Great thought Esther. Really well considered.
(This is a blog, not an email, so it doesn’t count… lol )
Esther Filbrun says
So sorry you had a bad day, Ross. Hope the rest of this week will be better! I’ll be praying that it will be.
And thanks for your thoughts. I hadn’t thought about it in the context of two ditches, but that’s true. Interesting conclusions there. Thanks for sharing!
My pleasure. It was interesting that on account of you putting this post up, I came across your friend ‘Ashley’, and a link to some really lovely piano music that her friend has recorded. I’m intending to buy the CD as a result. It’s interesting that as a direct result of your thoughts on this subject, it bought me into contact with something that I’ll really value. How great is that? It’s kind of like a microcosm of life – by having healthy relationships with both genders, one doubles the opportunities that come their way. 🙂
Thanks for your reply 🙂 It IS nice to get one. Thank you also for your prayers. Even THAT made my day brighter. I hope that you are enjoying your day and achieving your many goals 🙂
I love good music – but I don’t come across much that is good. 🙂
PS: This still doesn’t count as a direct communication, because it’s still a blog. Lol 🙂
I agree with you Ester.
And being friends/aquaintances with guys is a good way of getting to know what guys are like, especially if you didn’t have brothers, but even if you do because people are so different and there are all sorts. It’s good to learn to appreciate different sorts of people, and not all people are female 🙂 It is also a way of sussing out what qualities and characteristics are important to you in a spouse.
Esther Filbrun says
Ha! “Not all people are female.” That’s good! Yes, learning to appreciate different sorts of people is important (Jesus did a good job of it!). Sometimes it can be difficult, though. Thanks for sharing!
I still think that there is a reserve needed in relationships between men and women, young or old that are not married to each other. I’ve seen too many unhealthy situations. I remember a guy that was older when he got married. So many older single girls had been ” just friends ” with him used to calling him up all the time, sharing their problems ect. When this continued after he got married it caused difficulties. I’ve also known of too many couples, even after marriage continuing in their “friendships” with the opposite sex and ending up with affairs or divorce and remarriage. So as with most things there is a balance. How many men friends does your mother have close relationships with?
Think about the kind of relationships you want your future husband having with other girls and practice the golden rule.
Esther Filbrun says
Thanks for adding that! After I wrote the post, I thought I should have maybe said something about keeping a balance/respecting the fact that they ARE guys, and as such there should be more caution, but I couldn’t figure out how to do it without making the article even longer. So thank you for saying this.
I agree completely with your conclusions, Esther, and also with what Anonymous wrote above. Friendships with both genders are important, and to never interact with guys except in a romantic way is apt to lead to a rocky marriage, but there IS a difference between friendships with girls and with guys. A friend of the opposite sex should never be your ‘best friend’ that you confide your deepest feelings to, unless you are married or nearly so. Friendships with the opposite sex are vital (IMO) because if you are not friends before you marry, you run the risk of discovering that you really never knew your spouse at all. I believe that the most solid romantic relationships grow FROM friendship. I have always encouraged my children to spend time with the opposite gender as friends and casually enjoy their company, but not to become too emotionally involved. Being an ‘advisor’ to a guy friend about his girlfriends, for instance, is a really dangerous situation and can lead to all kinds of heartache. You need to guard your heart, but spend time with young men and talk to them–how they act and talk when they aren’t trying to impress you is the best way to judge whether they are the type of man you want to include in your future.
Esther Filbrun says
Thank you, Anonymous! Your comment reminds me of some of the stories in Preparing to be a Help Meet–there is at least one very sobering story there about when a girl did go too far. It’s finding the balance of being friends but not emotionally involved that’s tricky!
Awesome post, Esther.
Personally I find it easier to be friends with guys as they tend to be more down to earth and less (no offense) dramatic than girls 🙂 It is easy to think of them as brothers.
Esther Filbrun says
That’s neat, Sayna! This is definitely still a learning curve for me. Thanks for sharing. 🙂
My thought as I read is to keep in your mind “Is there a potential that my future husband may be jealous of this relationship I’ve had with this man?”
Also, Craig and Barbara Smith said they had a saying in ‘Navigators’ in relation to friendships “Pay attention to all, show intentions to none”. Something like that.
Esther Filbrun says
That’s a great quote! Thanks for sharing.