The point is to recognize the common human element that makes possible the subversion of the marriage covenant if one (or both) persons are married.A few diagnostic questions are: Once the risks of a male-female friendship have been considered and weighed, we can ask the question, “Can these risks be mitigated? Those who immediately answer “yes” can hurl as many barrels of anecdotal evidence as those who scream “no.” Few treat this as a legitimate issue — opinions are given in a tone that implies that the very question violates common sense. As we ask the question, “Can women and men be friends? Between a married person and anyone other than their spouse, the friendship should end immediately. It seems to me, after considering the biblical evidence, that male-female friendships lean even more heavily on a process that exists in all friendships: We usually undergo this process subconsciously with each new relationship: evaluating whether the relationship will be detrimental to ourselves or disobedient to God, and if it is not, identifying healthy parameters to make the relationship as fruitful as possible, and finally enjoying the ongoing benefits of the relationship. One person has completely innocent or friendly intentions, and the other falls in love.And the sort of relationship dictates what boundaries it needs to flourish.“The path of life leads upward for the prudent, that he may turn away from Sheol beneath” (Proverbs ).
This confidence is earned through a mature and godly track record: “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap” (Galatians 6:7). Paul encourages us, “Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality” (Romans ).” Can humility and honesty, community and accountability, protect us from the looming consequences, and allow us to enjoy the good that can come from these friendships?Every relationship — all intimacy — flourishes with the right kind of boundaries.If we don’t ask ourselves this question, someone will eventually pay the serious consequences. with perverted heart devises evil, continually sowing discord; therefore calamity will come upon him suddenly; in a moment he will be broken beyond healing” (Proverbs , 14–15). The spark of sexual immorality may be the difference of an inch, a glance.If we blindly wander into male-female friendships with the naïve notion that they are no different than same-gender friendships, we are blindly and dangerously mistaken. Tragic and heartbreaking trends in the church suggest affairs very often begin subtly or even innocently, and end in horrible destruction. This is the wrong attitude: “We aren’t fooling around. It’s not like that.” The calamity of fornication almost occurs suddenly. It always shows up at our door with an innocent smile. The question we must honestly and consistently ask ourselves is: “Does the structure of our relationship look like kindling primed for a forest fire?