I am thrilled to be guest-posting for my friend, Phylicia Masonheimer, sharing, especially for all you single gals, an interesting story from my teen years. We are talking all about the difference between kindness and flirting, and how friendships with guys can be a great thing! I hope you’re encouraged.
I’ll never forget the phase of my early teen years in which I believed that showing young men any amount of kindness was equal to flirting and therefore must be avoided. Though that idea may sound completely laughable to some of you, it was, and sometimes still is, a pervasive mindset in some circles.
The Problem: A Wrong Understanding of Kindness
What led to this false idea was a two year stint in a youth group that focused far more on who liked who than it did on Bible study, a group wherein we girls were far more interested in boys than we were our Bibles, and where merely walking up to and talking with a boy equaled being interested in him. So, naturally, when my family started following a very conservative Christian ministry and my dad moved our family out of that church and to a new church plant, I so strongly rejected my boy-obsessed mindset of the previous two years that I instead went headlong into the somewhat legalistic teachings of that new ministry (even going so far as adding my own self-imposed rules to the mix!).
Never again wanting to come across as boy-crazy, I determined that I would just never talk to the young men at our new church. After all, that should do the trick, right? Wouldn’t that tell everyone that I was a pious Christian girl, intent on never acting in a flirtatious or forward way?
No. I soon learned that, instead, my actions would tell everyone that I was cold and standoffish.
The Solution: A Right View of Guys
Unbeknownst to me, my dad had been noticing my standoffish ways all along. He came to me one day and asked, “Bekah, do you realize just how rudely you are coming across to those boys?” I answered that I didn’t want to be guilty of flirting or acting inappropriately towards them. His response was golden: “You are acting inappropriately right now. You are giving those young men, whom you ought to be treating as your brothers-in-Christ, the cold shoulder. There is nothing wrong with carrying on a conversation with them. In fact, you should be talking to them – you should be showing them kindness, just as you would anyone else.”
My dad’s lesson that day changed everything for me and I discovered that I had been guilty of what is actually a pretty common practice among Christians – a tendency to so reject the worldly way of doing things that we run as far in the other direction as we possibly can, landing not in God’s way, but over in far right field, in the legalistic camp. Neither the extreme of being overly boy-obsessed, nor the extreme of never talking to boys at all, is correct.
How do we navigate these waters then, and know what healthy interaction between guys and girls actually looks like?
You’ll have to head on over to Phylicia’s blog to read the rest and find out! 🙂