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Flirting: harmless fun or dangerous pursuit?

Why do we so easily fall into the world’s pattern of flirting?

I’m a guy. So as I think about it, I wonder if we men are lazy. Sometimes we just really want female attention and affection. Maybe we’re just insecure. I’m guessing there’ll be similar reasons for the girls. After all it’s nice to get some attention…

Please don’t hear me wrong; I know we long for friends, and often wish we were better able to live together as brothers and sisters. This is NOT a post saying guys and girls can’t be friends – (more next week).

Rather, this is a post saying lets get talking about our talking. Here’s some thinking to get us started:

1.    We’re siblings

We’re a church. Let’s remember our identity now as Jesus’ body. We are ‘…fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets,.’ Ephesians 2:19-20

We are, together, members of God’s house. We’re a family! Have you ever wondered why the New Testament so often refers to Christians as brothers and sisters?  He’s working to build us into His body, in which God Himself dwells. That’s intimate and God is in the midst of it all. That means how we treat each other really matters.

2.    Flirting isn’t our family way.

Here’s my definition of flirting: It is, regardless of the flirter's intention, leading the 'flirtee' to believe that the flirter is romantically or sexually interested in them through ambiguous words or actions. Flirting is words and actions that are devoid of intention, lacking clarity and aren’t appropriate for family relationships. It could look any of the times we’ve engaged in purposeless innuendo or banter. It is ultimately selfish because we were actually trying to get that guy or girl to like us (whether we’d act on it or not). 

Here’s what Ephesians 5:3 says about our inappropriate chat: ‘sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints.’ Shocking right?! 1 Timothy 5:1-2 says guys are to treat sisters with ‘all purity’. We’re to treat each other as brothers and sisters. A healthy family doesn’t play with each other’s emotions for self-centered gain, and neither should we.

So where do we go from here?! What am I proposing instead of flirting? How will anyone ever get married? (Good news- it is possible!)

I’d love us to adopt clarity and kindness as the standards for our conversations. We can enjoy a loving, intentional way of speaking and acting, which doesn’t play with our family’s emotions.

Guy’s, let’s have those clarifying conversations whenever and as frequently as necessary. Let’s make our intentions plain (whatever they may be!) You might feel awkward or embarrassed, but these are our sisters, and we’ve got to love them!

Girls, whilst giving us guys space to get practicing male headship, please be clear with us too! We can be dim-witted and fragile-hearted, so be kind, but be clear - we’re your brothers now!

If you’re struggling in this area or not sure if you’re treating your family in the right way, don’t be afraid to start a conversation. We’re all on a learning curve. Why not chat to your RML leaders or older wiser buddies about how you’re doing at relating to the opposite sex?


Image by Flickr user Nick Kenrick used under CC BY-NC-SA 2