By this time, Diane and Sarah were sprawled across the living room floor. Gabrielle had abandonded her computer and was reclining on the couch, while Katie and her animated hand-gestures entertained everyone from the rocking chair. The topic had transitioned from what flirting was to the question is flirting wrong?
Gabrielle: Well, I think that was a great description of what flirting looks like, but Scripture also has a lot to say on why it is wrong for singles. And one of the verses that really hit me was Romans 14:15. This whole section in Romans 14 is about not causing our brothers or sisters in Christ to stumble. And it talks a lot about the issue of that day which was not eating food that had been offered to idols. But it has some very general statements at the beginning that are about when making choices we do not cause our brothers or sisters in Christ to stumble into sin. And I think this principle speaks specifically to the issue of flirting. It says in verse 13, “Decide never to put a stumbling block or a hindrance in the way of a brother.” I love that, because it’s a decision. Decide! It’s so definitive. And it’s not in the middle of a flirting situation. It doesn’t say, ya know, (mocking tone) “When you find yourself in the middle of a bunch of boys and you’re batting your eyelashes, at that point, don’t be a hindrance or a stumbling block.” NO. When it says “decide,” you need make the decision for that beforehand. And you plan ahead.
Sarah: Yep. I heard the same thing from …somewhere. They were talking about convictions and how you don’t make the choice before you have to choose what to do, then they’re no longer convictions, they’re now conveniences. And there’s a big difference between the two. A conviction is something you make before you’re even in that situation so that it’s set in stone. So that when that situation arises you’re not having to make a decision. You know what to do. Conviction sets in and you chose the right thing.
Gabrielle: And I love this verse because it is general and it will look different with every relationship you’re in with a Christian brother, because their pasts are different. How I behave with a guy that I think may like me is going to be different than how I act with a guy that I’m absolutely certain doesn’t. And so I’m going to be even more protective of the guy that I think likes me and making sure I don’t do anything to sway him or lead him astray or cause him to feel things that I don’t feel.
Sarah: …especially when it’s just feeding your own ego.
Sarah: I mean, that’s just…that’s just wrong to do because you’re just thinking about yourself. You’re not thinking about him, and you’re certainly not thinking about his future wife or family.
Gabrielle: That’s so true because…I mean, we spend all this time thinking about and preparing for, oh, how am I going to protect MY husband and how I want him to protect himself and other girls but at the same time why are we not giving that same consideration to guys that aren’t our husbands but are going to forever be our brothers in Christ? You know? Our relationship with them is never going to change. Why are we not setting in stone how we are behaving toward them? AND as women, why are we not respecting their future wives? I think that’s something that we just overlook.
Sarah: Well, I think we succumb to the world’s definitions and how they relate to one another. I think that’s something the world does and so…we don’t truly separate ourselves from the world when it comes to our philosophies and our thinking.
Gabrielle: That’s very true.
(A lull in conversation sets in as everyone contemplates what Gabrielle was saying….and then Katie sings in her opera voice, “Ahhhhhh” and we laugh.)
Katie: The verse that really stood out to me is 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, and it says, “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you whom you have from God and that you are not your own. For you were bought with a price, therefore, glorify God in your body and in your spirit which are God’s.” Relating to flirting, it talks a lot about the motivation that changes in our hearts when we remember who we belong to, and our bodies aren’t our own, our emotions aren’t our own, our thought lives aren’t our own, and even our motivations aren’t our own. So…this verse talks about glorifying God in our bodies and in our spirits. That even goes down to the motives of our hearts and letting our interactions with other people be things that glorify God. And that goes to the root of flirting which can just be selfish attention. It’s taking the attention away from what they’re doing to look at you being more focused on you.
Sarah: Or even just to make you feel special…
Katie: Oh yeah!
Sarah: I remember a lot of times I would do that, in high school or even college and stuff. I would flirt for the purpose of making myself feel good. Like if he was flirting back, I felt “I still got it. I’m cool still.” You know what I mean? And I…I can get that guy’s attention if I want it. And so it was definitely a selfish motivation. I mean, I had no intention of taking him home to meet my parents. You know? (laughs)
Gabrielle: And I think too when we’re talking about motivation, that opens up a whole other…well, a bunch of issues. In that, when a guy genuinely likes you – I know I’ve had this happen in college – and you don’t just put an end to it when you know that he likes you and you don’t like him. That is leading him on. So, not godly womanhoood! I had a very wise, well I mean, she was like two years old than me…I was a freshman (laughs), but a very wise woman who pulled me aside and was like, “That’s wrong! And here’s what you need to do.” And she gave me very practical steps. She said, “You need to tell him that you’re not interested and let him move on!” Before, I kind of liked the attention even though I knew that it was never ever going to go anywhere and I was never actually going to go on a date with the guy. The fact that he knew my schedule and he would get me coffee. I admit, I like the attention…up until the point, you know, it got weird and he start asking me out and following me around. He had done everything right, I was the one that caused his hurt. And that was not right. As a college freshman, I was being selfish rather than protecting my brother in Christ. Now I am really sensitive about not leading a guy on, thanks to that very “wise” woman!
Diane: It goes back to, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Matthew 7:12 We girls…we’ve hated it when guys have lead us on. For months, you’ve just kind of “dated,” or not even that…you’ve just hung out, but then all of a sudden they’re like, “No no no, I’m not interested in you,” or they don’t even follow up on it.
Gabrielle: Yeah. Or they act like they haven’t been interested in you this entire time!
Diane: Yeah! We hate it when guys act this way. We say “they’re liars,” but then why are we doing the same thing to them? If he’s a good guy that has good and solid intentions, what does that make us? Why are we going to do hurt them and their hearts when we hate it when other guys to that to us and hurt our hearts?
Sarah: True. Good point.
Gabrielle: We’re willing to go to such great lengths to protect the one that is meant for us, why are we not protecting and looking out for the ones that are not meant for us? We are still their sisters in Christ. Ya know? Why aren’t we?
Sarah: Yeah, (reflecting) really good point.
Katie: Well, and we have a responsibility to that brother in Christ to be a good sister in Christ. And talking about flirting, it’s not the same as healthy interaction of just having friends or getting to know someone. We are talking about getting the attention on you, being…we’ve all done it…being really cute and funny…um…like…
Gabrielle: I know I have been (jokingly). It just comes natural. I can’t help being cute and funny. (As she tosses her hair. Everyone laughs.)
Katie: But when you’re playful….
Sarah: Yeah, I can’t help if I’m just really funny.
Katie: (laughs) Yeah, but stuff like that…. that gives you more of his attention and that’s something you’re responding to. Um, Yeah…really it all just goes back to what Corinthians is saying….
Sarah: (finishing Katie’s sentence) What is my motivation…..
Katie: Yeah. Are we loving people as Christ does?
Sarah: I think there’s an appropriate timing for flirting. I know that Diane and Alex were dating…in a committed relationship, as her roommate I saw times when they would flirt, but it was appropriate….and cute!
Diane: Yeah, but it took us a while to flirt. He wanted to make sure that this was a committed relationship. So for the first month and a half or two, we didn’t flirt. We just….got to know each other.
Sarah: Yeah, I remember that.
Diane: And that was hard for me not to be like in a flirty relationship, and be all, “Ahhhh (not translatable googly noise)” and times when I thought, “What am I doing wrong here?….wait….I’m doing it right.”
Diane: Cause we could be together and point to Christ instead of putting the focus on us and how cute we are together as a couple.
Katie: And girlie feelings are good like that when they are in the right time and the right place, they’re natural.
Diane: Yeah, but not everything is expedient. “All things are permissible, but not everything is wise.”
Gabrielle: Right! And I think God has a time for these things when they can be fantastic at the appropriate stage of the relationship.
Sarah: Like when my parents are flirting, they’re kinda cute.
Diane: I know…they are! (smiling)
Gabrielle: My grandparents are so precious. They hold hands, and every night they lay in bed and reminisce over 60 years of little romantic memories.
Katie: There was one more verse that kind of sums it up, too. Like in your dating life, in your interactions with other people, 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “Whatever you’re doing, do it all for the glory of God.” And when you’re focused on the glory of God it takes away the intention of doing things for yourself….and that…pretty much…
Sarah: Bottom-lines it.(said under her breath)
Katie: ….um…speaks to flirting, and flirtatious behaviors, and um…what you do to somebody. I mean, really when you get right down to it…You’re talking about stirring up a desire in another person for something that you can’t righteously fulfill. So really, you’re talking about stirring up a lust or desire and 1 Peter 2:11 and on talks about abstaining from those things and keeping away from those things. And there’s a way, in a godly way, to get to know someone, even date them, and in the right time flirting is acceptable. But if your intention is to stir up a desire in your brother for you that you cannot fulfill in a godly way, then there’s deeper issues there in your heart than just “I just kinda wanted him to notice me.” And at the point of us this, we want to be noticed, we want to be appreciated and cared for. But the problem is when we seek that outside of Christ, like with anything else, it becomes idolatry. And we can end up giving ourselves a lot more baggage and leading ourselves to a lot different…a lot more down the road than we ever intended to go because this attitude that is affecting other people.
Sarah: And attitudes turn into actions.
Diane: Christian women should never do anything to see if “they got it,” or ….who they can get…
Everyone: Mmmhmm. (agreeing)
Diane: That’s one thing that like…now that I’m married…like even if you’re single, married, 15, 20, 80…whatever…you should never be seeking or encourage someone to fulfill that need to see if “you still got it.” Just the other day, a really nice looking TCU football player came up and said, “Hey, let me help you to your car.” And I’m like, “No no. Thank you. I got it.” You know, I could have been like, “Sure!” I could have encouraged it and like ok, I still got it. My teammates were saying to me, “Oh, you are Kournikova on the court. Like if you didn’t have dark hair you’d look exactly like her.” I could have taken that further and to fulfill some kind of need …like… “I still have it.” Just because I’m married, that doesn’t mean that I’m invisible to guys…and I could have fulfilled a selfish need. But as women, we MUST be like, “I got it…in Christ.” And I know that’s cheesy, but it’s true…I got it…I got it in Christ.
Gabrielle: If you’re mature in Christ and who you need to be whether in a relationship or lack thereof that you have at this point in your life and you’re not out there chasing little…whatever…that Satan throws your way to see if you still got it because that whole validation is a worldly validation and it’s gone just like that (snaps fingers) in a second, and you need it again, and you need it again. And I think just like we have drug addicts and stuff, there are flirting addicts and dating addicts that can’t survive without this guy and it’s validation. Whether or not they’re in a relationship, they’re constantly getting validation to prove they are a woman. And we don’t need that because God is all we need to prove that we’re a woman God created us to be.
Sarah: And there’s something extremely peaceful about being in the perfect will of God…extremely like, “I don’t wanna mess this up.” I’m exactly where God wants me in my status, in my relationship status, in my life and to think, I don’t want to make something happen and mess that up…mess that peace that you have in your heart, ya know? If God brings it in your life, then you will continue to remain in that peace because you are continuing to remain in the perfect will of God.
Katie: Well, and it’s funny that something as shallow sounding as flirting can take you outside the sovereignty of God in your life, but like…what you guys were just talking about … talking whether on the tennis court or your appearance to other people, you feel you have something to prove. And when you are resting on the work of Christ in your life, there is nothing left to be proven. Whether you’re attractive to other people or whether you feel like you’re a complete dork, there’s nothing that you have to prove. It’s all been settled. Who you are in Christ is enough. You have the approval of your Heavenly Father and Creator who brought you back to Himself, what more do you have to prove to anybody?
Sarah: Well, this has been fun, guys. I’m really glad we had this conversation. I think it’s important to define these things. And I think a lot of girls out there really do want to do the right things; they really do want to honor the Lord in everything they do – like you were saying, Katie.
Katie: Yeah, we just need to know the boundaries.
Diane:…the biblical boundaries.
Diane: Well, I need to get home to that man of mine….and do some flirting. (smiles)
Gabrielle: Alright, sounds good.
(Diane gathered her things; Sarah started throwing away her sushi container, and Katie said her goodnights, as Gabrielle picked her computer up and went back to work….Another fun night of great girl talk)
So, is flirting good or bad? Which is it? If flirting is done before the appropriate time, and it awakens feelings and desires that cannot righteously be fulfilled outside of marriage, then it is wrong. And when it comes down to it: are we, as godly women, more concerned with making ourselves feel good or honoring God? Honoring God should always be our highest priority.