Healthy respect for “the line”

America has been fired up over the news that Vice President Pence has a self-imposed rule he follows – his rule is that he does not spend time with other women alone. Somehow this has been labeled as backward and he’s being ridiculed and mocked. I don’t know if its just Hollywood and media that think this is absurd or if most Americans agree too, but this man is now the butt of jokes.

I personally know many couples who keep similar boundaries in their marriage, and my husband and I have this unspoken rule as well. I will not spend time with other men alone. My husband will not spend time with other women alone. Its not that we don’t trust each other, but rather its that we both aim to stay away from “the line”.

Here’s what I mean. If the line of inappropriate behavior is right here, then we don’t keep our toes a few inches away from it. toes-in-the-sand1

Yes, technically, this mans toes on are on the safe side of the line. Even if he was only 1 mm on this side of the line it would still be technically safe and fine and moral. But why would we risk it? Why not stay several feet away from the line? Why flirt with temptation? If I’m only 1 millimeter from “the line”, and the wind blows just right, then I’m going to fall over the line. If that happens I should not then claim “I didn’t mean to do it! I was on the right side of the the line!” If I had been 3 feet from the line, and the same wind blows, I make take one step towards the line but I would not cross it. Y’all see where I’m going here?

A couple weeks ago, I wrote a post about the RC cola. In it, I wrote about how I avoid drinking soda by keeping it out of our house. I know it’s not healthy for my body and so I don’t want it to be part of my life. And if it’s here in our house, I’m tempted to drink it. Yes, of course, having soda sitting in my house is not unhealthy, but drinking the soda is. And if it’s in the house, I’m much more likely to drink it than if it’s not here, right? So the soda stays at the grocery store, not in my house. Common sense.

My husband and I both know that there is nothing morally wrong with going to lunch with the opposite sex to talk about business. My guess is that Vice President Pence knows the same thing. There’s nothing inherently wrong with eating with another woman at the same table. Talking alone with another woman is not sinful. But here’s some news: affairs don’t start once you cross “the line” – they start when people tiptoe around near the line and then end up crossing it because they were so close to the line to begin with that it didn’t take much to cross it. Most people who have affairs did not set out to do it, but rather they claim that “it just happened”. For the vast majority of these people, the initial catalyst was being too close to the line.

I honestly can’t really imagine my husband or I crossing the line into inappropriate behavior. We have a healthy marriage, and we have abundant love and respect for one another. But it is because we love each other so much and we see what a blessing our good marriage is, that we keep healthy boundaries. We have a healthy respect of the line and we stay far from it. It is a safeguard we have in our marriage, not because we don’t trust each other but because we don’t see any wisdom in tiptoeing around the line. We don’t want to flirt with danger.

This is not backward. It is not ridiculous. It does not deserve to be labeled absurd. It’s about using wisdom, discretion, and staying several feet away from “the line” instead of a few inches. Please don’t put yourself close to the line, and then claim “it just happened”.

Be fruitful, happy, healthy. And stay away from “the line”.

Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” James 1:13-15

 

 

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