The following is a post by my friend Ann White. We both decided to take a topic and write our opinions on the subject without consulting the other. So to see my opinion on Friendlationships, click here. We might have to do this guest blogging thing again - it's kinda fun.
"So God created human beings in his own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female he created them."
At the pinnacle of God's creative work, he created man and woman, and together they are a reflection of his image. I don't think I begin to understand the depth to which male and female combine, compliment, and come together to produce this union that reflects the fullness of the Lord.
But.. one of the wisest sentiments I've ever heard is that for every good gift the Lord gives us, Satan has produced a counterfeit.
The fact is that the general American population is waiting longer to get married. There are many advantages to that, but there are also pitfalls. Despite the fact that we are waiting until we're older to get married, we still have an innate drawing for that type of relational (not to mention physical) intimacy that a member of the opposite sex provides.
Same sex friendships are so important and I believe is where a lot of our character is formed and foundation laid. Friendships with the opposite sex are also so critical. We can learn how to treat each other with respect as brothers and sisters in Christ and experience some level of the balance that men and women were designed to strike together.
But like I mentioned before, for every good thing God gives us, Satan manipulates. Enter the friendlationship. This term is used to describe an increasingly common phenomenon where boundaries become confused in male/female friendships. I will admit that this is an area that I have screwed up more than my fair share of times.
Slowly and in small ways, male/female relationships can go from healthy to inappropriate. And by that I don't necessarily mean physically inappropriate, but perhaps the more dangerous emotionally inappropriate. Emotional inappropriateness can take many forms, ranging the span of all our human frailties: co-dependency, selfishness, jealousy, idolatry.
The keys to avoiding these pitfalls seem trite and cliche, but they're all too true- prayer, honesty, communication, self-discipline and restraint. Respecting and loving one another appropriately is one of the most basic and difficult lessons of life, and relationships with the opposite sex that seek to remain holy and righteous are a gift of an opportunity that God gives us to learn and grow.