Are boundaries necessary in the area of emotional purity? Do we need boundaries when it comes to interacting with the opposite sex?
To that I raise my coffee cup and give a hearty, yes! There is a rampant plague of guys and girls who are friends with each other, yet, dangerously exceeding the boundaries of friendship.
I’ll be the first to admit it’s easy to do. If you don’t have boundaries then you can quickly let your emotions take control. This goes for both “real life” and online relationships.
You know how the story goes; you meet, find common ground, and quickly become friends. You begin spending more time together. You start sharing personal and intimate details about yourself. Your hearts get connected and before you know it you are emotionally attached to each other. You know it is wrong, but you are enjoying each other’s friendship so much you keep putting off the separation; big mistake. The sooner you stop things, the less damage you will have to deal with. But you know you will get hurt. And the other person will get hurt. And you don’t like hurting people. Least of all yourself.
Time passes and things grow stronger between you two. It is getting harder to rein in your desires. At this point physical contact is more than likely involved. Hugs, arms around each other’s waist and shoulders, pats on the back, holding hands, etc… We often use the excuse of, “Oh, he/she is my brother/sister in Christ.”
I don’t know about you, but how often do you see an actual brother and sister acting like this? Hardly ever. We abuse the phrase, “He’s just my brother.”, or “She’s just my sister” to excuse our actions. This is especially true of single Christians. Face it, we like the attention, the emotions that have us tied together, the physical contact, and the heart to heart talks we have. If, and when, one of you comes to your senses it is hard to part. Your hearts will be broken. Pieces of your hearts will be missing.
Pieces that were intended for your future spouse.
So how do we avoid this? Set boundaries.
People often view boundaries as tight restrictions that ruin their fun. On the contrary, boundaries are helpful when used properly; even more so when it comes to interacting with the opposite sex.
Boundaries play a huge role in emotional purity. Surprise!
Let me share with you some of my own personal boundaries.
I limit physical contact with the opposite sex.If a good friend offers a side hug I won’t push him away, but I generally don’t initiate physical contact with members of the opposite sex. Why is this so important? I am saving myself wholly and completely for my husband. Would he really appreciate me pressing my body up against a man that wasn't him? I believe he would be upset. Wouldn't you? I mean, imagine watching your future spouse give the opposite sex lots of hugs. How would you feel? Jealous? Unloved?
But it’s just a hug for heaven’s sake! Everyone gives hugs. Just because everyone else does it does not give you the excuse to do it as well. And it isn't just a hug, you are allowing yourself to be in another person’s arms, and pressed up against their body, that isn't your spouse. The more you do it, the more your emotions can get ignited. It happens. You know this to be true. Once that happens, emotional purity just got ten times harder.
Paul says in 1 Corinthians 7:1 ‘It is good for a man not to touch a woman.’ (and vice versa)
I do not talk to guys online in private.It’s not that I’m paranoid that the guy I’m talking to might be a stalker and secretly planning to kidnap me. Haha. No, it’s beyond that. This goes further into emotional purity.
When you talk to someone one on one for a lengthy period of time it becomes a habit. You look forward to it. A trust forms between the two of you and you share personal details that shouldn't have been shared.
When this person happens to be a guy, it is easier to get attached; especially for girls. I have spoken with a few guys and they are confused how this happens. Girls are more prone to give into their emotions than guys are. It is even possible for us to get emotionally attached to guys whom we have never met. Even more so when they share an interest in our lives and our heart. That’s where the danger lies. I have heard, and personally witnessed a young lady friend of mine who got into this kind of relationship online and tried to run away to meet this guy. This can happen if we are not guarding our hearts.
If it is necessary to converse with a guy in private, (very rare) then I will discuss the situation with my father and seek his permission.. This way I am held accountable.
I do not flirt.Flirting is not as harmless as people would like to believe. The dictionary definition is, “To pay amorous attention to without serious intentions or emotional commitment; a frivolous or playful love affair.”
It may seem innocent trying to get a guy’s attention, or getting a girl’s, but the danger starts right there. When a girl flirts with a guy she is in no way guarding her heart, or showing deference or respect for the young man. This would be considered defrauding, because she is stirring up desires which cannot be righteously fulfilled. Flirting is selfish. It’s harmful. It’s dangerous. When a girl flirts she wants attention. But what she may not realize is that she is giving pieces of her heart away to these guys whose attention she is vying for.
Then we must also consider our future spouses. Proverbs 31:12 says, “She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.”
All the days of her life. Your life doesn't start when you get married. What you do now can have an effect on
your marriage. So if you are not going to flirt after you get married, with anyone else than your husband, why flirt now? If he saw you flirting would he feel loved? I guarantee he would not.
Those are just three of the boundaries I have set for myself. I am protected, not restricted, by those boundaries. I am saving myself for my husband. Not just physically, but emotionally as well. He wants all of my heart. And by staying emotionally pure I am saving my heart. All of it.
Being emotionally pure is one of the hardest things because as emotional young women it is easy to want to follow our heart. But our hearts are wicked and deceitful. We must listen to the Holy Spirit speaking to our hearts and obey. The Lord has provided us with rules and boundaries that we may live in spiritual freedom.
Some might argue that boundaries are not necessary, do you still believe that?
I encourage you to set some of your own and protect not only your heart and body, but the brothers in Christ around you.