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“‘All things are lawful,’ but not all things are helpful” (1 Corinthians ).What is good for some is not profitable for all — and may be harmful.

But friendships between men and women in the church are one holy expression of the hard-fought intimacy God has earned for us in Christ (Galatians ), especially as we draw others into those friendships as safeguards.

All the effort we put into boundaries and clarity both honors and enacts this gift — a gift that shouldn’t be prohibited when there are appropriate lines of sight with people informed and involved enough to protect both parties.

But the point is Wisdom requires some no’s in order to maintain the safety and integrity that leads to life, and not the carelessness or liberty that leads to sin.

Put the opposite way, sin thrives in the laziness of ambiguity.

So what is the appropriate path for female-male friendships?

The answer is, of course, different for each kind of relationship.Patterns of one-on-one intimacy between members of the opposite sex cultivate the kind of intimacy that leads to romance. ” If your attitude about your intimacy is relaxed, it is likely set to blaze.It’s common for single people to be demonized as the “temptresses” or the “bait,” while the married folk are just the victims of preying mistresses (or misters).It’s interesting that Paul contrasts “sexual immorality” with “walk properly as in the daytime.” When our texts aren’t private, our meetings aren’t sneaky, our intimacy not shrouded and smirking, we can participate in the kind of pure intimacy in male-female friendships that is public and commendable, filled with grace and truth.“Love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord” (Leviticus ).And the sort of relationship dictates what boundaries it needs to flourish.

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