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“Another Man Wants My Advice”

 

Many of us hurt so much with people who are hurting. I know I do! When someone comes to us with their relationship problems or spiritual problems, we want to help. We want to see them feel better ASAP. We want to comfort them, sympathize, and be a good friend.

It is may not a big deal if we have a short, godly conversation with a guy – but what if it turns into many conversations, or daily conversations?

This situation can get dicey really quickly, my precious sisters. How carefully we must guard our hearts!

Honestly, there are many times when it is probably wise for a woman not to attempt to give much counsel to men about spiritual and emotional things – unless there is just a general discussion happening in a group or class setting, perhaps. If we do have conversations like this with other men, it may be wise to think through some healthy boundaries first.

I happen to have a lot of experience with this issue because of my online ministry where I hear from men every day. And I am glad to share anything I have learned that may be helpful to my sisters.

I seek to respectfully avoid creating close friendships and relationships with men. I usually speak to my brothers in Christ in the context of a group setting with their wives there or where other people are there. I try to keep my interaction with men very brief and very public.

Have I seen men be blessed by reading things I have shared or by conversations I have had with them? Sure! And it brings joy to my heart whenever God might use me to be a blessing to any of my brothers or sisters. So – I am not saying we should never interact with our brothers and never ever share helpful insights or resources. But we must use great discernment and listen to the Spirit.

I have to know God’s boundaries for me that are for my protection and for the protection of everyone involved.

GOD’S WORD ON THIS TOPIC:

  • Women are not to be in positions of spiritual authority over men like pastor, teacher, mentor, etc… in the church. (1 Tim. 2:12)
  • We are to avoid sexual immorality at all costs, fleeing from it. (1 Cor. 6:18)
  • There is not to be even a hint of sexual immorality among us as believers in Christ. (Eph. 5:3)
  • We are to treat our brothers in Christ with absolute purity and holiness. (1 Tim. 5:1-2)
  • We are not to allow our speech to be about inappropriate subjects. (Titus 2:8)
  • We are not to have filthy, crude, or vulgar conversations with others. (Eph. 5:4)
  • We are to make no provision for the flesh and seek to avoid danger and temptation. (Rom. 13:14)
  • There are men who will “worm their way into the homes of weak-willed women” who have agendas to mislead us, let’s avoid such men. (2 Tim. 3:6)
  • We are not even to go down the street where someone lives who might be a temptation to us. I think this may also include that it would be wise not to set up online contacts to have private discussions with other men. (Prov. 3-5)
  • We are not to associate with anyone who calls himself/herself a brother/sister in Christ but is involved in unrepentant sexual immorality, idolatry, greed, slander, or alcoholism (and likely that includes drug addictions, as well). (I Cor. 5:11)

Our first calling is to bring glory to God in all that we do. Let’s watch our own motives for anything that would not honor God and let’s be willing to obey Him in absolutely everything. As we desire total obedience to God and seek Him far above all else, He can and will empower us to be faithful to Himself. 🙂

 

SOME THINGS I HAVE LEARNED OVER THE PAST FIVE YEARS IN MINISTRY ONLINE THAT MAY BE A BLESSING:

  • If a man truly wants to be closer to Jesus, he will be willing to speak to a godly man about his problems, too. I try to refer men to godly men I trust who are in much better positions to mentor and counsel men than I am. It is other godly men who are to teach, disciple, and mentor men.
  • If a man only wants to speak to me about his relationship/marriage issues or his spiritual pain, not to a godly man, that is a red flag. There is a good chance that what he really wants is just to be close to me and that he is not that interested in being closer to God.
  • If a guy wants to go into a lot of detail about his wife’s sin with me, into a lot of explicit sexual detail, or he asks me to share many intimate details about my marriage – I need to extract myself from that situation ASAP. No explanation necessary. I just block him.
  • We as women tend to bond emotionally and this kind of intimate sharing often opens us up to feelings of attraction. I would rather die than dishonor my Lord and Greg in that way. I can’t afford to take one step down that road!
  • One-on-one praying, to me, is the most intimate kind of connection there is. I don’t pray with other men alone or privately online.  I need to guard my heart!
  • I must humbly remember that I am not the only source of godly counsel and wisdom. Thankfully, there are other Bible teachers, too. People need God not me. I have to remember this and not allow pride to puff me up to think that I am so very necessary to other people – men or women. I’m not. I am one little cell in the whole body of Christ. It is all about Jesus!
  • If a man flirts with me or acts inappropriate in any way, I need to ask him to stop and/or immediately drop all contact. No explanation necessary.
  • If he is involved in unrepentant sexual sin, greed, idolatry, slander, or alcoholism/drug addiction and calls himself a brother in Christ, I am to not associate with him at all.
  • It is best, in my view, to aim to completely avoid private conversations and private meetings with men to whom I am not married. I personally copy my husband on any emails or correspondence with men online. I also try to keep my correspondence with other men to a minimum. And I try to avoid being alone with another man whenever possible.
  • If a man is trying to get me to submit to him (honor his leadership and advice) rather than to my husband, that is a red flag.
  • If a man tries to convince me to believe unbiblical teachings, I need to get away. I don’t need to give my time to a false teacher. I can share godly resources if appropriate and possible, and drop contact. I can pray for him and that God will speak to him.
  • I find it is often best to point men (and women, too) to resources (posts/books/articles/specific scriptures) for them to dig into their own walk with Christ rather than for me to give specific advice about what they should do in various situations. They need to learn to hear God’s voice, not mine and God’s wisdom is so much higher than mine.
  • I want to avoid confiding in other men about my marriage or my husband. God is my primary Counselor. If I need another counselor for my marriage, I want to go to a Titus 2:3-5 kind of wife.
  • If I find myself comparing my husband unfavorably to another man who wants to talk with me, I need to back away from this other guy and refocus on my husband.
  • If I realize I am picturing what it would be like to be married to this other guy, I need to back away.
  • My personal wisdom or opinions can be harmful to any brother or sister in Christ even if my intentions are good. God’s wisdom and the power of His Spirit are what we all need most every moment.
  • If a man is feeling disrespected by his wife and is starving for respect, and he sees that I treat him with honor and respect, that can be a big issue. I don’t want to put a stumbling block in a hurting brother’s path or in my own path.
  • No one needs my counsel so much that I should put my heart or my marriage at risk of an affair.
  • If my husband doesn’t like for me to talk to a particular guy, I want to honor his feelings and concerns. I want to immediately  let the other man know I will not be able to talk with him anymore.
  • If anyone comes to me and claims to want godly counsel but they are not willing to invest their own time in their walk with Christ or they are not willing to seek to obey God, repent of any sin in their own life, and allow Him to change them, I don’t need to invest much time in helping that person. I can’t make people change. If they are not open to God and not willing to obey Him, that is a big red flag to me that I need to back way off. A similar flag in such a situation is that the person only wants to complain and “vent” about his/her spouse but doesn’t want to look at his own life.
  • If a man (or anyone) is dealing with really severe issues like drug addictions, uncontrolled mental illness, unrepentant adultery, or abuse, they probably need help from an experienced godly counselor, and, depending on the situation, possibly even medical, legal, or police help, as well.
  • If I am feeling super overwhelmed by someone else’s problems, that can also a sign that I am not actually helping and that I am trying to help in my own strength. I have to be sure I am laying the weight of the problems on God. I can’t carry the weight of other people’s problems on my own shoulders.
  • With another man (and women, too), I need to watch how much time I am spending trying to help them. If I am neglecting my own walk with Christ, my husband, my children, my job, etc… that can also be a signal to me that I am getting myself in a dangerous spot.

IF I NEED SPIRITUAL ADVICE OR MARRIAGE ADVICE, HERE ARE THE PLACES I GO:

  • God first!
  • The Bible
  • Solid Bible-teachers online (books, podcasts, sermons, blog posts)
  • A godly, Spirit-filled mentoring wife.

I don’t personally believe it is wise for me to go to a man privately for advice about spiritual or marriage issues. There could be some exceptions where I may want to speak with my pastor, but it is wise for me to have another godly woman there with me even then.

 

 

SHARE:
What have you learned about handling other men who come to you for spiritual advice or marriage advice in a way that honors God?

RELATED:

Choosing Our Counselors Wisely

The Wrong Counselor Can Be More Dangerous Than No Counselor

Posts about Choosing a Godly Counselor from www.gotquestions.org

25 Ways to Respect Myself

What Is Respect in Marriage?

 

48 thoughts on ““Another Man Wants My Advice”

  1. I hope a message like this can reach a sister n law I used to have. Her marriage to my brother and the family was destroyed from this type of interaction. May God continue to use your blog to help guide us at times to God’s true holiness.

  2. I agree with you on all points Peaceful wife. I pray more sisters might be aware of the things that you mentioned. I actually find myself having to turn away my eye from even watching certain male preachers on Youtube that I enjoy a little too much. There are so many lovely sophisticated brothers in Christ that it’s really hard not to notice sometimes. I look forward to the kingdom of heaven because we will all be so full of the Holy Spirit that I suspect that complete agape love will smother all sinful impulses of eros to the point that it won’t even be an issue anymore.

    1. Lisa Tonra,

      That is a good point, too. It can be even more difficult if a woman feels attracted to a teacher at church or a pastor at church. May we do whatever we need to do to stomp out any inappropriate desires toward our brothers in Christ so that we might live holy lives. I know God will give us the power to do this and to have victory over temptation as we seek Him wholeheartedly.

      Yes, in heaven, we will have the most amazing Spirit of unity, love, and connection to everyone! And you are right, sinful temptations won’t be an issue at all in heaven. Praise God for that!

  3. Solid advice. As women designed to be helpmates it is easy for us to desire helping others and let this desire steer our behavior. Boundaries from the beginning- solid advice. Thank you

    1. Heather,
      Thanks for sharing. Yes, that desire to help is a good thing – but it absolutely needs to be excessed within appropriate boundaries. And we must guard our motives and hearts.

      Much love!

  4. “If my husband doesn’t like for me to talk to a particular guy, I want to honor his feelings and concerns. I want to immediately  let the other man know I will not be able to talk with him anymore.”

    My husband and I have been married almost 20 years. Over the years, I’ve learned that my husband has good instincts when it comes to other men. Twice in our marriage, my husband has distrusted a man that I assumed was as nice as anyone else. While there was never any hint of being inappropriate toward me, I learned in time with both men that my husband’s gut instinct was right on target. (!)

    Just as we can “pick up” on women who are flirtatious before our husbands may see it, our husbands, too, have instincts that are very valuable. ~ Thank you so much for writing this column, and especially for the helpful list of scripture. What a blessing this reminder is! May The LORD bless you & keep you…

    In Christ ~ melissa b.

    1. MelissaB,

      YES! Thank you so much for sharing this. I have had the same experience with Greg. He had concerns about some men at various times that I didn’t see at first, but he turned out to be right. Our husbands do have instincts and insights that are very valuable.

      I’m so glad this was a blessing. 🙂

      Much love!

  5. I enjoyed all of this. My husband had a male friend who’s having a hard time stay with us last week for 2 nights. I provided meals and a comfortable environment for him but stayed away from much conversation with him about his situation.

    I focused on my son and let my husband do most of the listening, counselling and advice-giving. I felt safer that way. I felt that I was being kind of “rude” by not participating much in the conversation because he really is in a crisis situation but my priority was to stay focused on my husband and son. It’s so easy for sympathy to evolve into attraction and as wives, we need to be vigilant about this.

    1. Nikki,

      I’m so thankful that your husband was willing to do the listening, counseling, and advice-giving for his friend. That sounds wise. It also sounds like you did a great job keeping your focus where it needed to be. Thank you very much for sharing about this. Yes, a situation like this one could easily turn into a big mess if a wife gets overly involved with a husband’s friend who is in a crisis.

  6. What I find really helpful is simply talking to my husband about it. We’ve been married for a long time,so there is some trust there. Early on in our marriage he actually did exactly what I now believe is healthy. He simply confessed his attraction, as if to say, well this is awkward and potentially confusing. I did not respond as graciously to his honesty in those days as I should have, but over time I’ve come to see how wise that is. Anytime we feel hesitant about sharing something with our husbands or as if I’d prefer he didn’t know, it’s a red flag for me. That hint of secrecy, concealment, discomfort, are clues to something being potentially problematic.

    Also, I don’t want to lead any hurting men on or give them the wrong impression or anything. Often when you’re struggling,you’re more vulnerable and it’s easy to get those signals crossed.

    1. I’ve been married for 28 years but I remember back in the early years of our marriage, before I was born again, that I had my good friend stay over as a guest at my home and in the morning she walked around in a very skimpy nightie which was a tank type tee shirt and thin shorts without a bra . I was too stupid or timid to say anything in those days but I thought she was incredibly rude and clueless . My husband felt it was inappropriate too. I know the woman was carnal but it doesn’t take a genius to use a little common sense. And then when I became born again and saw the way that God approaches all the matters of life I was so relieved to find a world that finally made sense .

      1. Sorry to go off message . It’s just that your considerate nature in dealing with men reminded me of that occasion in my life where a female was so shockingly inconsiderate. And it reminded me of how much I appreciate and value my sisters in the body of Christ because they are very tender hearted and considerate.

    2. That’s great that your husband was able to confess attraction. But how did you manage to handle that? I mean a wife would feel hurt. And it hurts to notice a woman that your husband was or (hope God will protect from this) is deeply attracted to via social media or elsewhere.

      1. “That’s great that your husband was able to confess attraction. But how did you manage to handle that?”

        Not gracefully at all! I was hurt, I took it personally. I also hurt my husband with my response, when he was rather innocently trying to simply be honorable and do the right thing.

        Today I can laugh about it because I know men are just people, it is normal and healthy for them to feel something once in a while. That doesn’t mean they are acting on it, that doesn’t mean you aren’t good enough.

        Everybody is different of course, so some people may not be able to talk about these kinds of things with one another as easily. Hubby and I can talk pretty openly about attraction and sexual matters, it’s actually talking finances that gives us all kinds of trouble.

  7. I really appreciate your advice to block or cut off communication with men we’re attracted to or who are behaving inappropriately – WITHOUT giving them an explanation. In my younger, more naive days, I would explain why I want to cut off contact but I have learned (the hard way) that men often use the explanation to make excuses for their behavior and try to convince me to keep in touch so they can continue to manipulate me. Cutting someone out of your life without an explanation may seem rude and disrespectful but it is the best way to ensure that any temptation to be unfaithful is eliminated at its source. It also sends a strong message to the offender that his behavior is unacceptable and that you are not prepared to entertain it for even a minute. Protecting yourself from temptation to sin needs to be your #1 priority.

    1. Nikki,

      I learned the same lesson the hard way. Giving an explanation just gives him more time to try to stay in my life. He will get the point and know exactly why I cut off contact if he was acting inappropriately. Guys are smart!

      I appreciate you sharing this!

  8. Dear April,
    One of my favorite articles from you is the Danger zone of guy friends. I’ve saved it with the comments because they helped me a lot. But now i can’t find it on your blog. There are other posts which I can’t find and dead links. Did you delete this articles? Or where can I find this post onlie?

    Thank you and and God bless you!

    P.s. Sorry for my English, it isn’t my mother tongue.

    1. whiterosewife,

      I did delete that post – I had so many people that were misunderstanding what I was saying, and it was a much older post. So I hoped to write new posts that might cause less misunderstanding. I’m glad it was a blessing for you!

      I have a number of posts on this topic on my blog http://www.peacefulsinglegirl.com – you may search “guy friends.”

      I also have a post on this blog, “Is It Wise to Be Friends with Other Guys?”

      I hope these posts may be a blessing.

      Much love!

      1. Thank you very much!

        I can understand your decision! But I think sometimes misunderstanding is just like “I don’t want to understand what you are saying because I don’t want to change my behaviour”

        It’s a very important question. Male-female friendship can destroy our marriage and make our ego gigantic. Male friends are mostly just ego boosters. Or I am who becomes their ego booster… as the wife of an other man?! No no no! I can’t imagine an innocent male-female friendship with daily private chat etc. I tried. I had male friends. It didn’t work.

        1. whiterosewife,

          I used to think – early in our marriage – that I could have innocent male friendships. I have since discovered that it is just not a good idea. No – I don’t think that daily private chats are profitable with another man for a married woman.

          Thank you so much for sharing!

  9. Great article April. I have used these exact tools and continue to use them when I interact with men other than my husband.
    I’m not sure about your church but my church people are huggers. Men and women alike. I try to keep it short and sweet and my husband is always standing right there but what are your thoughts on hugs? Obviously never in private but what about in general?

    1. Cara,

      So glad to know that these same principles are a blessing to you. 🙂

      Some people at our church are huggers. I don’t mind hugs – but with other men, I keep them really short and only really try to touch at the shoulder. No full body hugs! 🙂

      If I suspect that there may be some kind of chemistry, attraction, or temptation – I will just shake hands with a guy. Or if I think his wife might be upset, I just shake hands. And I wouldn’t hug a man unless I was also hugging his wife and they were one of our closer couple friends.

      If you would prefer not to hug other men, that is totally fine. Could be a good conversation to have with your husband. 🙂

      Much love!

    2. Once I was in a camp with my husband and his friends. One of then was a hugger. I said him it’s too much physical connection for me. Sometimes I felt a bit weird to say this kind of things because it sounds like I don’t love my husband enough or he isn’t enough attractive and this is why other men can be temptation to me. But now I see it’s just a lie of our culture that just an unhappy wife or a wife who doesn’t love her husband can have temptations or can be attracted to other men. I love my husband and he is the Man in my life but I’m not blind, there are other good looking manly men with lots of virtues who can attract me. I must guard my heart. It doesn’t matter if a guy thinks that I should guard my heart because I have huge problems in my marriage or I’m not in love with my husband.

  10. This is such a good, honest, direct and true post. The same advice can go both ways, to men and women. Sadly, one on one personal conversations between a man and a woman about marriage struggles often leads to feelings and decisions that can devastate lives on many levels. No person is free from temptation and those in positions of leadership are possibly exposed to even more attack as their fall would mean so much more damage to God’s witness.

    I was thinking of Ephesians 6 this morning and the spiritual armour, particularly the shield of faith and the breastplate of righteousness. The enemy sends through his fiery darts and we lift up the shield of faith to deflect them. Sometimes, our faith may weaken and a dart may get through. Perhaps the dart is an accusation of guilt from the enemy, but if we have been walking a life of righteousness then we have a second layer of defence! Our own lives provide a defence against the enemies accusations and our heart and conscience (kept underneath the breastplate) is kept from harm by these darts by walking a line of obedience and surrender. 1 Peter 3:16 “Keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behaviour in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.”

    I have learned so much from you April even though you do not ‘teach’ men as such (and it is SO good the boundaries you have put around yourself with your interactions with men), however I have also learned so much from Greg even though he has not written anything here. Greg is a very strong man in my opinion. It would take a strong, loyal, trustworthy and spiritual man to encourage his wife to have an online ministry like this, knowing that it would expose her to a lot of other men who may have impure motives or could tempt her. It would take a man who knows and trusts his saviour and I respect Greg very much.

    God bless, HH

    1. HH,
      Yes, many of the points I shared would apply to men who are counseling women, as well, in my view. You are right that none of us are immune from temptation and that those in leadership must carefully guard their hearts and the hearts/marriages of those to whom they minister.

      Love that about waling a line of obedience and surrender. There is no better place to be!

      I’m very thankful that God has allowed me to be a vessel to bless you with His love, truth, and healing. Such a joy to me! Wow, how amazing to hear that you have learned a lot from Greg, too, even though he hasn’t discussed anything with you or written any posts here. That makes me smile. I’ll have to share your words with him. I am sure they will be an encouragement.

      Thanks for sharing your insights, dear brother!

      1. April,

        I have often thought that Greg is a strong man. I think of what it would take for me to trust my wife to have a ministry like this and my respect for him increases. Sometimes we can learn as much from those who say very little as we do from those who say much. No part of the body of Christ is without purpose.

        In Christ, HH

        1. HH,

          He is very strong. Stability is one of his greatest strengths. He doesn’t get shaken easily. He is extremely calm, patient, thoughtful, and generous. He doesn’t let his emotions overtake him. He thinks through things very thoroughly and doesn’t make hasty decisions. He is able to forgive and give grace. He has a gift of wise discernment that I appreciate very much. I’m extremely blessed to have him.

          I do all that I can to be completely transparent and open with him. He shares me with the world quite generously. I don’t always see danger as soon as he does, so I am thankful for his guidance and leadership. He has saved me from making unwise decisions more times than I can count.

          I appreciate your edifying words about Greg so much. Thank you for sharing them!

    2. HH, I’m usually a fly on the wall reading this blog. I’ve just been absorbing it for a long time. But today, I am going to yield to that little voice saying … tell them about the Boundary thing.
      As I have read many of your posts, you keep mentioning the word boundaries. There is a great book titled as such, Boundaries by Cloud & Townsend. The authors are both full of Godly wisdom and share how the bible can guide us in figuring out those boundary lessons. They do it in a way that most people can understand. They explain in ways such as fences can define your yard, and you know which side of the fence you live on, and who responsibility the mowing is there. The fence is a physical one, made out of wood, but it is a clear boundary to all. There are consequences for crossing the fence. They also discuss how “boundary violations” are dealt with in a biblical manner. There are also invisible boundaries between people, and many times those boundaries are harder to figure out, but God gives us a great book that we can use to figure it out.
      Boundary violation can be as small as saying the wrong thing and hurting someone emotionally, hitting someone, or even murder. You mentioned you really like Joseph. His brothers violated his boundaries, big time. There are times that when boundaries are violated, we need to be safe, protected, and there are times when we need to forgive, and there are times to negotiate new boundaries. This book addresses all of that It is most helpful, and I am thinking it will be a blessing to you, and your family. The same authors Dr Henry Cloud and Dr Henry Townsend, have many books, but this is the one to read.(You keep mentioing the name, so I had to speak up when it was mentioned again today!) It is an older book, but sometimes, the “old” books, even a couple thousand years old, have the best wisdom to live by.
      Blessings,

      1. Hi SIB 🙂

        It is nice to hear from one of the (I am sure) many flies who read this blog and everyone’s comments. Thank you so much for caring and sharing your experience and insight into the book Boundaries. I have a very well worn copy of that book with many notes pencilled into it! 🙂

        They have done a wonderful job of outlining boundaries and provided clear explanations in support of their arguments. However, even after reading that book though, there is still (in my mind) a tricky grey area where a boundary may have been clearly violated and we may still be best to show grace. Jesus was the ultimate boundary setter, throwing people out of the temple for example, yet He allowed himself to be executed as an innocent man, a clear violation of reasonable boundaries.

        Joseph’s brothers definitely violated his boundaries big time!!! And yet, Joseph allowed that and it was in fact something that God intended for good and used to deliver a lot of people. For me, at the moment, there is no easy answer to the question of when to protect your own boundary and when to allow it to be crossed.

        Thank you so much for your comment SIB!! HH

        1. You have good instincts Humbled Husband. The boundaries book has come under a great deal of criticism in the Biblical counseling movement for it’s merging of secular concepts with Biblical Christianity. This is defined as syncretism . There was a very comprehensive article which dismantled that book based on the Bible but I can’t seem to locate it at the moment. But this enclosed link will at least validate some of your feelings.

          http://www.psychoheresy-aware.org/boundr42.html The ariticle is called “Boundaries”- Drawing the Wrong Line! review by Debbie Dewart”.

          I also highly recommend that anyone reading my comments should checkout the website called Psychoherasy awareness ministries .http://www.psychoheresy-aware.org/mainpage.html.

          The authors of that site were secular psychologists who are Born Again Christians who left their vocation to shed light on the whole field of psychology. I studied many of the branches of psychology for several decades before I found their free books at their website. I had previously always been struggling trying to mentally reconcile all the errors that I was witnessing in mainstream secular clinical psychology. Their books are life changing and you can read them all free on their site. Their information is very anointed and you will be so blessed reading their books. One of their books , called “!2 steps to Destruction” outlines all the errors of the whole field of Codependency. That book alone is lifechanging .

          May God continue to lead and support you brother.

          1. Hi Lisa,

            Thank you for your care and your comment. I often wonder how many people are reading my comments and following the journey I am on. I pray now (and often) that whatever I write may be seen as a man on a journey and not as one who has all the answers. To anyone reading this, please assess any of my words against scripture and in open prayer, and reject anything that does not line up with God’s truth.

            Thank you for the links provided Lisa. I will spend some time reading them. In Christ, HH

          2. Lisa,

            I too have questioned the boundaries book after it actually had seemed to help me in a sense! It was used by the Lord to open my eyes to the fact that I really can’t control another person (my husband), and that rather than try to control him, I could control my own reactions (by surrendering to the Holy Spirit in ALL things).

            But after a while, as the Lord took me deeper into Himself and His Word, I started questioning if whether it was really right to cut people off if they offend us or cut my husband off if he doesn’t treat me 100% all the time. And the Lord spoke to my heart personally that if we are to walk as Christ walked, then it is clear that Christ was not offended by other people’s failures. He was totally under the control of the Holy Spirit, and therefore He was able to be directed in the will of God in all situations, people, circumstances, etc. He had that steadfast spirit and strength by the Holy Spirit that led Him through victoriously in all situations for the will of God to be done.

            In the same way, I believe we are to be subjected completely to His Spirit dwelling in us, and it will be by His Spirit that we are directed in each situation to follow His will and accomplish what He wants to accomplish in and through us.

            When we are under the government of the Holy Spirit, we are not under the government of our own natural self, other people, this world, or anything or anyone else—-therefore we do not back down or give in, we simply follow the Spirit in all things—whether that means we suffer or not.

            I started reading that one book you just mentioned and I didn’t even get to 5 pages before I could tell that the book from that website is legitimate and will be beneficial for anyone struggling to know where the line is between boundary setting and following the Lord in all things!

            Thank you so much for sharing!!!!

            Love,
            Amanda

        2. HH,
          There IS a tricky grey area that requires the wisdom, power, and discernment of the Holy Spirit. We would LOVE to have conflicts and boundaries reduced to simple formulas. But it is not that easy. We need God’s Spirit so desperately! I know I do. 🙂

          1. Thanks for your comment HH. Such a nice group of Godly people here at this blog . Thanks to April for providing such a nice forum and for your kindness in responding to everyone . You’re a very sweet lady:-)

            One of the things that it’s taken me quite a while to apply in my own life is to to evaluate a body of work point by point . Because even we Born Again Christians can be mislead or confused. I read the Boundaries book and I liked it. I like the authors and I think they had a tricky task, in a way, because they are addressing the masses of Christians and they are clearly aware that many in their vast audience are not Born of the Spirit. And so the advice in that book can be very helpful for secular people. But because Born Again believers are instructed not to be yoked with unbelievers, some of those principles don’t apply to us. And I think that is where those particular authors may have a blind spot in their approach to a great deal of their work. They know that people in the secular world *do* need Boundaries otherwise they will be doormats who will be chewed up and spit out. I know this because it had happened to me repeatedly before I was regenerate, I did need boundaries with those people. And if Christian brethren are demonstrating fruits of the Devil…then we *do* need boundaries because that means they are not Born Again. Of course that doesn’t imply that we are perfected and fully sanctified as Christians, or that we should expect others to be so. But it does mean that we can be reasonably sure that people such Sociopaths and other manipulators are not Christian: be they leaders of a congregation or mixed among the sheep . And yes…those people do require us to have Boundaries, for sure. It also may be useful in dealing with a spouse who is still carnal when one party of a married couple become converted during the course of a long marriage however God usually supports the believing spouse in that case (1 Corinthians 7:14). But once you completely separate yourself from unbelivers you will be able to deal with brethren more scripturally because the Holy Spirit will be involved for both parties. Many Born again believers are also still yoked to family members who are not saved and they may indeed need boundaries with those folks. But I think the idea of scripture communicates that if you need boundaries, that you may be inappropriately yoked and you may be well advised to really pray and ask God to lead you in addressing that.

            Thanks for listening:-)

          2. Lisa,

            I am having a crazy busy day today – but just wanted to chime in:

            To me, “boundaries” is kind of another word for “confronting other people about their sin” and also for keeping ourselves from sinning against others in certain ways. Healthy boundaries, in my view, are kind of like our being sure we are not idolizing others or interacting in prideful, self-righteous, controlling ways. It is also about our willingness to take responsibility for our own God-given responsibilities. And it is about how we can speak up respectfully against sin when we are sinned against.

            In my view, we need the Holy Spirit always – with all of our interactions with believers and unbelievers. I know I sure do!

  11. Great advice for both wives and husbands. We must guard our hearts and our marriage. The secular and carnal world we live in will devour us if we fail to do the things you mentioned in this article.

    1. Brian,

      I didn’t know about these kinds of healthy boundaries when we were first married. I thought to myself that I was “above” having an affair. I had very few guards up around my heart and I allowed myself to become dangerously infatuated with another guy. That terrified me. I finally realized I am NOT above adultery. I’m so thankful that it didn’t go beyond an emotional affair. That was damaging enough. Since then I have understood that I need to guard my heart. And since I started ministry and have contact with so many men online, Greg and I have had to work together (along with my prayer team) to put up serious guards around my heart and marriage. I know I am a target of Satan. I don’t want to give him any room to take me down. How I long to stay completely yielded to God in total obedience and holiness, interacting in absolute purity with my brothers in Christ.

      I appreciate your thoughts so much, dear brother.

  12. Hi April!

    Another great post! 🙂 I am concerned about one thing:

    “Women are not to be in positions of authority over men like pastor, teacher, mentor, etc… (1 Tim. 2:12)”

    I have always understood (and heard) this to mean spiritual authority, not any kind of authority whatsoever. It is my understanding that it is okay for a woman to be, for example, a university professor (in a position of authority over adult male students); that it is okay for a woman who works at a company to receive a promotion that puts her in a position of authority over other employees (some of them male); and that it is be okay for a woman at a company to professionally mentor a new male employee (in the sense of helping him and making sure he is learning the necessary skills for his new job).

    If you disagree, it’s completely fine, but if you do agree with me, I would like to respectfully suggest that you change the above phrasing to “Women are not to be in positions of spiritual authority over men …” in order to prevent women (and men) from misinterpreting what you mean.

    Please let me know what you think!

    Much love,
    Flower

    1. Flower,

      That scripture passage is referring specifically to women not being in such positions over men in the church. Yes – spiritual authority. The Bible doesn’t necessarily address the secular arena. There were queens who had positions of authority that were to be honored by the people in Israel’s history. And Deborah was a judge who had authority – although during that time, the men were not carrying their weight properly, so I’m not sure she is an example of how things are supposed to be.

      But what I am talking about here is teaching in an official capacity of being “teacher” or “spiritual mentor” or “discipling” or “pastoring” a man/men in the church or in the body of Christ.

      I’ll change the post to say “women are not to be in positions of spiritual authority over men like pastor, teacher, mentor, etc… in the church.”

  13. Hello, April, hope your Christmas was good and by all means tell Greg I said hello too. I just wanted to give a quick greeting. Not much has changed here at home.
    I’ve developed a patience with my wife’s disrespect lately. I get it that she is under work stress and now a work injury (wind flung a door open straining her neck), and I give her “room.” I also have learned to not take being treated like one of the kids, but try to remind myself to not get too angry, it’s a learning process for my 54 years of age. I really appreciate your “solid” scripture stance in the above subject. Most of my 8 kids are in rebellion over our Christianity (except the special needs kids of course) so it is refreshing to hear biblical sense from anyone. Keep up the good work and YOU are resource too!

    1. Jeff,

      It is so great to hear from you! 🙂 I’m so excited to hear that you are seeking to honor God on your end in a very difficult situation. Praying for you and your family today, dear brother.

  14. April,
    Thanks so much for this post! I agree that there need to be boundaries in this area. I also think that young married couples and even engaged people need to set clear, specific boundaries right from the beginning.

    I have been married for 29 yrs. 2 years ago my husband and I were coasting along in our marriage, drifting apart a bit, together but more often separate. Working together raising a family, neglectful of each other, all about the kids, etc.

    Enter a new female employee where he works. Single, not espescially pretty, but very attentive and nice to him. A very strong friendship develops. One-on-one calling and texting. I’m hurt more than I have ever been in my entire life, I feel betrayed. She connected with him in ways that I have never been able to. He told me that she really gets him and that she is a better friend to him than I am.

    I am extremely jealous and I don’t want him to even mention her name to me. Emotional affair, probably. I reacted wrongly,trying to preach at him that what he is doing is wrong. Talk of separation. I sought counsel. Pastor and a deacon told him what he is doing is wrong and to stop having any one-on-one contact with her. He feels disrespected because I took our marriage problems outside of our marriage. He wouldn’t hear me, I didn’t know what to do.

    Currently we barely talk. I don’t know how much he talks to her or texts her. We are at a stalemate. He sees her and works with her everyday. He works 10 hr days and he is in a position of authority at work so he probably talks to her more than me every day of the week. On the weekends he invests his time with the kids. He doesn’t think he did or is doing anything wrong. It is in God’s hands. I am just trying to do right.

    I wish we had been clear right from the beginning of our marriage what boundaries we would have in place for opposite sex friendships. We have had issues with this throughout our marriage because my husband is a very caring man and has a lot of spiritual wisdom to impart. It doesn’t help that he is backslidden right now and going through a mid-life crisis.

    God has worked tremendously in my heart and I have grown to love and trust my Lord like never before! I’m hanging tight, waiting on God and my husband. I am at peace with the situation, laid it at the foot of the cross, gave it to God. I actually have joy knowing that it’s not up to me to try to control the situation. All I have control over is me. I am praying fervently and seeking God’s will for every thought, word, and action I do. God’s grace is sufficient!

    I have seen many victories over my thoughts and my tongue especially! I see the bigger picture of God in my daily life. Awesome, eye-opening Spirit-filled life that I now live. God is good even in the toughest darkest of times! Praise the Lord. Thanks for letting me vent 😀 Your blog has been a life saver. So much wisdom, so well written and so easily understood.

    Thank you, April, from the bottom of my heart!

  15. April, one of my favorite Proverbs 25:28 is about boundaries, “He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.” I love that. A city without walls is defenseless.

  16. Dear Brothers and Sisters,

    Just a short message to say thank you April for your clear boundaries! Those boundaries are so essential in every walk of life: mothering, fathering, teaching, in work relationships. I feel so thankful that I have relationship with Our Lord Jesus Christ, where I need not keep my boundaries up, where indeed i love to have my heart completely open.

    It is your clarity and care of both men and that builds confidence to seek out your ministry.

    IF I NEED SPIRITUAL ADVICE OR MARRIAGE ADVICE, HERE ARE THE PLACES I GO:

    God first!
    The Bible
    Solid Bible-teachers online (books, podcasts, sermons, blog posts)
    A godly, Spirit-filled mentoring wife.

    There is no arguing with that.

    Thank you,
    Jesuscentreoflife

Thanks for joining the discussion! Let's keep it classy and respectful. :)

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