Purity In Our Opposite-Sex Relationships
Why our conduct with women matters today, and God's standard for what men call "locker room talk."
The topic of sexual ethics is getting a lot of press today. Maybe because men are behaving so poorly in their interactions with people, but also because the #MeToo movement is highlighting this. But issues of this nature shouldn't surprise us given the increase and even constant bombardment of sexual themes on radio, television, and the prolific presence of pornography on the web. And it raises the question, in an age of sexual bombardment, "How should a man of God conduct himself sexually with men and women in life?"
God's standard is not a hint.
Consider these words of the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 5:3-4. "But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving."
The NIV reads this way, "not even a hint," which is the standard for a follower of Christ. We don't need a #MeToo movement, because God has given us the #notevenahint mandate that implies impurity of any kind, including sexual impurity, is just not compatible with God's plan nor our holiness. Sexual expression, while permissible, has appropriate boundaries in the Bible. And while contemporary radio, television, and the web attempt to redefine these boundaries by turning sexual acts, innuendos, and joking into entertainment this does not infer that their limits (or lack of them) are appropriate for conduct among followers of Christ.
Purity is the aim.
"Not a hint," means that our relationships with women are to be pure and respectful as if all women were our relatives, siblings, mother, or grandmother for that matter. We should be protective of women who are made in God's image as if we are relatives to them – never exploitive, condescending, or treat them as objects. In fact, as Christians, we are called to treat all people with honor and respect. And whenever a relationship with a woman, other than our spouse, becomes sensitive, suggestive, sensual, or sexual in talk or touch we should back out, regardless the cost, because it is a violation of God's standard of purity. Case in point: Joseph and Potiphar's wife. While Joseph ran from her sexual advances, which was right, there was a price to pay, which was high. But this cost was not as high as paying the price of integrity, holiness, and purity.
Locker room talk is not acceptable.
Both men and women are capable of vulgar sexual conversation with friends. You have heard both genders engage in hypersexual talk, as have I. Men often write it off as "locker room talk," as if there is a place where such language and conversation is acceptable. We do this because we falsely believe the lie that, "men will be men." But if the standard is that our lives display "not even a hint" of sexual immorality or any impurity, this is not a conversation that we should ever be party to. We are temples of the Holy Spirit, and anywhere we go, and wherever we have a discussion, God is there, and we grieve him when that conversation is impure or immoral. Locker room talk has no place in the life of a Godly man.
The next time you are in a situation where language, attitudes or actions cross a line into impurity remind yourself: Not even a hint.
Vince Miller is a speaker, author, and mentor to men. He is an authentic and transparent leader who loves to communicate to audiences on the topics of mentorship, fathering, leadership and manhood. He has authored 13 books and small group curriculum for men and is the primary content creator of all Resolute materials. Contact Vince Miller here. His newest book is Thirty Virtues That Build A Man.