Treating Women as Sisters, With Absolute Purity
I’m glad and thankful for all the male friends that Lord has blessed me with. These male friends are a source of joy to me. Some of them are continually giving their lives to me, guiding and encouraging and praying for me. In return, I also give my life to them (To honor these men, I have written a blog months ago).
Likewise, I’m grateful for my female friends. I never thought that the Lord will bless me with many lovely and mature female friends, whose insights helped me understand women, whose encouragements lifted my spirits up, and whose prayers kept me strong. May I treasure them forever.
In loving my female friends, the apostle Paul’s counsel to Timothy has helped me tremendously:
1Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, 2older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity. (1 Timothy 5:1-2, NIV1984, emphasis added)
Learning from these verses, I have resolved to treat younger women, and also women that are of and near my age, as sisters, with absolute purity.
In light of this, I keep in mind the following:
1. I must be careful how I interact with them physically. Over the years, it has become my practice not to initiate physical contact with women, or dwell long on it when they are the one initiating it. To be honest, when a woman embraces me, I normally don’t respond by embracing them back. Call me cold, but I guess that’s what I’m used to do. I simply believe that if I were to treat women with absolute purity, withholding physical affection works best for me. (To be clear, I’m not saying that there’s no place for expressing physical affections [but we must limit to embracing]. Sometimes, it is the best way to comfort a woman who is clearly brought down by a fierce storm in life. So what do I do when moments like these come? I do initiate or respond back, but only after I carefully discern the situation. So far, these moments are rare, and I’m actually thankful about it).
2. I must be careful how I interact with them emotionally. Women are emotional in nature. They also tend to assume. So I’m careful with what I say and how I behave towards them. I don’t want to speak or act in such a way that it will give them any room for assumption. I don’t want to play with their emotions.
3. I must treat them as a gentleman would, and with consistency. There are many ways and gestures to be a gentleman to a woman. But I just keep in mind two things: Honor and respect. In every word and deed, I ask myself: Will it honor and respect my female friends?
4. I must always pray for them. The best thing my female friends will experience in this life is a relationship with the Lord Jesus. So I pray that they will grow in their love and knowledge of Him, becoming women after God’s own heart.
One more thing. I recently had a chat with a female friend. She asked me for books that I can recommend regarding developing strong convictions towards treating women. But to my surprise (yes, it’s true), I had nothing to recommend her, for I haven’t yet read books on the topic. Then I realized that the strong convictions I had simply flowed from the Bible, which is the authority of my life. I guess when people make the Bible the authority of their lives, God-exalting and people-honoring convictions inevitably arise.