Thought I would post some excerpts from an article in Brio Magazine – definately worth a read.
“Tim and I (authors of the article) have worked with and talked to thousands of teens and have learned that being friends with guys/ girls is important, but we know an even deeper and more powerful way to relate to them that will so way more than simply keep your hormones in check. IT will teach you how to build the kind of relationship that we all long for. If you think becoming friends is radical, listen to what God says about how to treat the opposite sex:
(1 Timothy 5:1-2) “Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were you father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.”
Aren’t there some boundaries that almost automatically emerge if we treat each other as a sibling? I mean, think of how you treat your brother/ sister. Do you ever hug him? Of course. Are there certain places or ways that you would never touch your brother/ sister? YES !! Now that we have planted that image firmly in your mind and totally grossed you out, let’s move on.
If you are a follower of J.C. , you’re part of God’s family……..so, like it or not, that guy / girl you are crushing on is you brother/ sister, spiritually speaking. Recognizing that reality can raise some serious walls in your relationship. What if we said we’re going to be friends first and then while being friends, said we’re going to act as if we’re related and treat one another like brothers and sisters? What would that look like?
….back off on the physical part…….think twice about why you’re doing what you’re doing – get honest about why you’re doing it
….respecting the other person as a bro or sis means recognizing that this person is not an object or a play toy – but a human being, someone God considers valuable – so valuable that He sent His Son to give His life for that person. That bro or sis that you have your eye on isn’t there simply for your amusement, ego boost or personal fulfillment. He/She is a person with a background, a family…someone with dreams and goals, someone who is a walking story. Instead of camping out on looks, you would find out about the person. Treating them as a sibling forces you to see more of that story. You put effort into understanding where someone is spiritually, socially, mentally. God wants you to treat that person wit the same respect that He wants you to be treated with.
….Just as you would want someone dating your bro or sis to respect him or her, you also would want to that person to appreciate your sibling for who he or she is. You would want your sibling to be treated in a way that allowed them the ability to express themselves in the unique way God made them. Nothing controlling, manipulative or possessive at all.
…it means accepting differences, respecting their strengths, and weaknesses…encouraging one another to use the gifts and abilities God has entrusted to each of us. We are not clones of one another.
….you would want to protect your sibling….keep them out of harm. You would not want to see someone who played games with your bro or sis – flirting with them, then dumping them after a few weeks. If he or she were your sibling, how would you want someone to treat them?
If you are in a relationship, you can protect the other person by getting a handle on your own emotions. If you go insanely jealous any time you see him or her talking to another person, you can control that. Not by trying to control them, but by keeping your own heart in check. That kind of jealousy is grounded in fear, and fear does ugly things to people. You can protect someone, by NOT trying to control them.
…if you tend to manipulate the other person, where it’s all about you – what you need, what you want to do, what you want to talk about – you can control that too. You were taught by your parents to always share and take turns with your bro and sis – that means putting your needs on the back burner sometimes.
….when it comes to protecting the other’s purity (and yours) …know when he is vulnerable, when you are vulnerable, – just stay away from eachother.
Recognizing and honoring the family bonds that we have in Christ can raise some significant walls in relationships. Seeing eachother in the context of their bigger story – his/her individuality, family, skills – helps us see the object of our affection less as an object and more as another human being.”
excerpts from “Brotherly Love”, Brio Magazine, by Chip Ingram and Tim Walker