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.
What have you learned about handling other men who come to you for spiritual advice or marriage advice in a way that honors God?
Posts about Choosing a Godly Counselor from www.gotquestions.org