Question

Hello,

I am wondering about this situation and its morality. I'm great friends with a guy. He seems pretty sexually attracted to me, and I am attracted to him as well. He's a good guy but has had problems with sexual sins in the past. I would like to possibly date him, but I don't want to fall away from the church, and I don't want to lead him away either.

I know sexual attraction is a good thing when choosing someone to date, right? Also, some intimacy such as hugging or kissing is okay, even if you're not married, but I'm not sure where the line should be drawn before crossing into sinful territory. Is it wrong to say things if it gets us aroused?

We were both raised in the Church of Christ and are Christians. I badly want to help lead him closer to God. I'd also like to help him get to Heaven and overcome some of his sins. He believes what the Bible says about sex and marriage but is having a tough time with it. I hope it's not a bad idea for me wanting to date him. I really want to help him.

Do you have any advice on this, especially how I can assist him in overcoming (sexual) sins and leading him closer to God?

Thanks for your time.


Answer

"Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted" (Galatians 6:1).

The greatest difficulty you will have with this guy your sympathy for him. That sympathy will cause you to minimize dangers and go along with things that you are uncomfortable with for longer than you should because you'll not want to "give up."

Solomon warned, "Do not enter the path of the wicked and do not proceed in the way of evil men. Avoid it, do not pass by it; turn away from it and pass on" (Proverbs 4:14-15). I'm not saying this young man is evil or that you are evil. The passage is not about evil people but the direction sinners take in their lives. The way to not reach a destination is to not walk its path -- in fact, don't even come close to its path.

The main problem is restraint. Most young people discount too heavily the strength of their sexual instinct. This is why I constantly get notes from people saying, "I didn't mean for it to go this far," or "I don't know what happened," or "It was an accident." Such aren't lame excuses. They are the responses of someone who didn't have a healthy respect for the strength of his or her sexual instinct.

Solomon points out the problem when he asked, "Can a man take fire to his bosom, and his clothes not be burned?" (Proverbs 6:27). You can show a hot coal all the affection you want. You can cuddle it and dote on it, and it will still burn you. Your kindness to it doesn't change its nature. How often do you hear someone say, "But I love him!" Solomon's point is that your feelings toward your boyfriend won't change the fact that both of you have built-in desires and capabilities for sex. Trigger them and they follow the instincts built into you.

Solomon also asked, "Can one walk on hot coals, and his feet not be seared?" (Proverbs 6:28). Using the same example of a hot coal, if you walk on it, it will burn you. You can apologize and say you didn't mean to step on it, but you'll still be hurt because your intentions doesn't change what it is. Thus, the excuse, "But I didn't mean for it to go this far!" becomes an empty one because your intentions doesn't change your body's drive.

That is why Solomon concludes, "So is he who goes in to his neighbor's wife; whoever touches her shall not be innocent" (Proverbs 6:29). Though he is talking directly about adultery, the same point is true about fornication. When you start stirring up sexual feelings, you are never innocent when thing go further than you wanted.

That is why we are told not to make room for lust and lewdness. "Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts" (Romans 13:13-14). Lusts are those thoughts and desires you keep battling about taking things even further. Lewdness is engaging in sexual foreplay that gets the body ready for intercourse. Christians must recognize the danger and not start a sequence of events that can't be legitimately completed.

Rules are needed so that you don't start down a sinful path. No touching each others private areas. No stroking skin to get you or him sexually aroused. No long passionate kisses that leave you out of your mind. You have to treat each other with respect and not as sexual objects. "Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman" (I Corinthians 7:1).

With that comes not talking dirty or showing nude or semi-nude pictures to each other, or getting naked with each other. "But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them" (Ephesians 5:3-7). You don't stay pure by sexually arousing the other person, whether it is by action or words.

Of course, little of this is going to help if your boyfriend is trying to stir up your desires. You both have to be committed to treating each other with respect. Which brings up another difficulty: What you find sexually arousing is not going to be the same things as he finds arousing. Far too many girls believe that because they are not aroused that their boyfriend should not be either. Thus, they are willing to do inappropriate things and think it should not matter.

You can give your father a kiss or hug your brother without arousing sexual passion; thus, I'm not going to say all kissing or hugging is wrong. But prolong hugs and kisses can ignite sexual desire and you'll have to be honest. If it is getting passionate, you've gone too far.

Sexual attraction may be what gets you to notice a guy or a guy to notice you, but sexual attraction is not a good reason for dating. Dating is about locating a person you want to marry and spend the rest of your life with. Emotions, such as sexual attraction, can distract you from thinking clearly about whether a guy will make a good spouse or not. Reason has to come first.

If he is struggling with temptation, he would be better helped by an older male. If he would like to talk with me, I would be happy to help him learn how to deal with his desires.