Honoring Your Sisters as a Brother in Christ

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“We’re just close friends.”

“Yeah, we talk all the time. I trust her.”

How many of you are familiar with these statements? I am.

Since dating is not something that is explicitly covered in the Bible, Christians live it out in a multitude of ways. For most christians, what intimacy with the other gender looks like is dependant on how conservative or liberal you are.

I disagree.

How you treat the other gender should not differ depending on where you fall in the liberal spectrum. Instead, it should be a reflection of your love for God and your hate of sin.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but we were not called to sort-of love God and kind-of fight against sin. If you believe the Word to be true, then you cannot sort-of-kind -of abide by it.

What am I saying?

While dating is not covered exclusively in the Bible, there are core concepts grounded in the Word — love, honor, purity, and intentions. So before we consider all the different scenarios — the what-ifs and should-I’s — we need to take it back to the basics.

1. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22: 36–39
2. “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13: 4–7
3A. “So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” 2 Timothy 2:22
3B. “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” Colossions 3:5

Now listen. I don’t intend on preaching to you, but this is how the Word has grounded me and provided council. I like to share how God spoke to me through the aforementioned verses.

I hope you find the following decision tree helpful. Note that the numbers below correspond to the verses above.

A quick decision tree for the more picture-inclined
  1. When faced with relational conflicts, I ask myself if I’m obeying these commands in full. Not so much in a legalistic fashion, but more so to help see things with a Godly perspective.
  2. THIS is what love ought to be. In whatever step of the relationship, is this the love I carry for God? For my neighbor? For my sister? And if your love does not reflect that, then it’s time to refocus on the greatest commandment.
  3. In pursuing her or friending her, are you focusing on the things above? Are you ready?
  4. You’re at the final yes. What now? In all honesty, pray. Wait on the Lord. I don’t intend this to be a cop-out solution, but it is the best recommendation I can make. My advice falls short infinitely compared to that of God.

What I just conveyed isn’t easy to do. Even writing about it was difficult in itself. Primarily, I wrestled with the intent, structure, and tone of the piece.

As much as we hate to admit it, relationships do hold a certain place within our hearts. Whether or not that’s healthy, I’ll leave it to you to reflect upon. And that’s why — after much deliberation — I’ve decided against sharing my own relational experiences. That degree of vulnerability is reserved for me and the Lord.

But to encourage you, I do feel that it’s appropriate to share how I’ve asked God to instill a heart of love, gentleness, and purity within me.

Father, I come humbly before you to acknowledge that you are King. I thank you for being so direct in the workings of my life, for your consistent love and unmeasurable grace.
I repent before You. For all the unhonorable ways sin has gripped my heart, my view, and actions. That in my moments of my weakness, I fail to live to the standard of Your sonship — when I enthrone temporary satisfaction over You.
Lord, cleanse me of a heart that seeks for validation from the world. Strip me of the hubris birthed out of relational and worldly attachments. Remind me what it means to live for You day to day. I cannot do this without You. Help me shoulder the cross and press on in Your Name.
You loved me when I did not love you. You cared for me when I cared for everything else. Let Your Name reign in my heart, Father. So that in everything I do, in all the ways I love others, that it be with a heart that most honors You.
I love you. In Your Son’s holy name I pray. Amen.
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