I have lost count of how many Christians I have met and talked to who have no clue about boundaries when it comes to man-woman relationship. Honestly, I was one of them. Charge it to ignorance, carefree attitude, or too trusting nature.
Whatever the reasons are, the fact remains that there are lines we should not even dare cross when it comes to our dealings with the opposite gender. And then we wonder why adultery happens to the best of Christian people.
People either get defensive or shocked when I correct them in this area. Yet, I believe it is my responsibility as a woman of God to point them to the truth, a truth which I did not know or understand until something very exposing happened to me.
This is the first time I am going to share this story in writing. I have spoken about it in bits and pieces and the people close to me know the entire story. I believe this is the right time to do some exposition about this personal experience I’ve had, to warn you and to further confirm my point of not crossing lines.
The person mainly responsible for my re-commitment to the Lord, the foundations of my spiritual walk, and my deliverance from a wrong relationship is my spiritual father and mentor. He is a very passionate man of God, very charismatic and loving, and a good looking man at that. It is very easy to fall in love with him and almost every woman in church was just drawn to the love that was pouring out of him. It was this love that brought about a lot of healing in my wounded heart. And since I had a lot of daddy issues, I was drawn more to him, feeling that he was like the Dad I had always longed to have.
I didn’t know about boundaries then. He was very much married and I was single, barely out of a wrong relationship. The first time he hugged me, I felt kind of awkward and pulled away. He then pulled me back and said, “You seem to have a lot of issues. Let the Father’s love fill you and heal you”. Those were the first words that confused me. A part of me felt that something was not right, yet another part of me doubted the very feeling I had. Since he was my spiritual father, I tried to convince myself that he knew what was best for me.
Our relationship blossomed as the days, weeks, and months passed by. I became a full-time worker in church and I was one of his most valued staff, his Communications Director. He always called me to his office and would always give me a very tight and loving hug before we even start talking about church and work stuff. The awkward hugs became more comfortable, as I started getting more adjusted to it. Yet, there was a voice inside of me telling me something is not right. But then my vulnerability always got the best of me. Each time I brought up the issue of my awkward feeling to him, he would always remind me that I still have a lot of issues that God is dealing with and that I should just let Him heal me.
Soon his hugs became more constant and it began to cross the line. He kissed me one time and I froze, so shocked as to what he just did. He just put his finger on my lips to silence me and he said, “Just feel the Father’s love”. I felt sick to my stomach and more confused than ever. I tried to bring up this incident with him a few days later but he brushed it off like it was nothing. So there I was, unsure of what was really going on. I decided to keep everything to myself because I didn’t even know what was happening.
I began to seek the Lord more deeply than ever. I cried and wailed before Him to reveal to me what to do. Incidentally, my pastor kept warning me not to leave the church because God placed me there and he is my spiritual father.
God moved on my behalf. He created barriers that my pastor could not even cross. The women’s ministry I was heading began to grow. Though nobody knew what was going on, the movement of the Holy Spirit in our women’s group was just so overwhelming, and not even pastor could come in between.
I became stronger in the spirit and was able to rebuke my pastor one day when he attempted to make a move on me again. I told him it was over. He was trying to brush it off, as usual, but that’s when I felt stronger than ever. I knew then that I had to leave. It was just a matter of time and the proper leading from the Lord.
To cut the long story short, I left the church without telling anyone except my right hand person and best friend. Gossip spread so fast and I became the Jezebel in people’s eyes. It was one of the most hurtful experiences I have had in church. I was the victim who became the villianess. People from other churches and those I did not even know feasted on the gossip. Finally, I was able to talk to the Board of Directors and it was a very dramatic recount of everything that took place. The Associate Pastor cried and apologized. My pastor was kicked out of office and up to this time, has not regained his position back.
From my pastor’s standpoint, I understand that he had the best of intentions when he led me to recommit to Jesus and when He decided to take me under his wings, to mentor me. I believe with all my heart that he never planned to hurt me or his wife. Yet my vulnerability drew me to him. He is a man in every sense of the word, and every man wants to feel like the “knight in shining armor saving a damsel in distress”. On the other hand, I was so vulnerable to the love of a father. These two ingredients spell disaster and that is exactly what happened: A disaster that hurt a lot of people.
Though no sexual encounters ever took place, and therefore there was no actual act of adultery, there was definitely some emotional adultery that happened.
God used this very incident to teach me a hard lesson on boundaries. That is when I began to understand that men should minister to men, and women to women. And if you want to argue with me on this and say: “Well, I am not like you”, let me tell you that I warned a pastor friend of this same issue and he didn’t listen to me. He is a counselor and he therefore counsels a lot of women. I told him to just counsel men and he said that he has been doing it for years and that I don’t have to worry about him. Months later he came back to me, so distressed, and admitted that he is falling for his counselor. I knew it was going to happen.
I have warned several people who did not listen to me, only to learn their lesson the hard way too. Even my very own husband had to relearn this “boundary” issue because he was not really aware of it.
It seems that as Christians we think that everybody has good intentions and that we don’t even have to worry about anything. Yeah, right. Proverbs 3:21 says: DO NOT LOSE SIGHT OF COMMON SENSE. It seems that the world has more common sense than we do in this area.
So if you are single, do not be caught alone with a married opposite gender. Do not even attempt to seek counsel from the opposite sex, which is what happens all the time. In fact, I have had men come to me for counsel and when I passed them on to my husband, they didn’t even want to talk to him. There have been women too who came to my husband for counsel and when he passed them on to me, didn’t even want to have anything to do with me. You see how exposing that is?
Titus 2 instructs older women to teach younger women to be self-controlled, chaste, homemakers, good-natured, and subordinating themselves to their husbands, that the Word of God may not be exposed to reproach. This should be the rule and should apply to social networking as well.
I am 45 years old, as of the time of writing this article. This makes me older than the 20 and 30 year olds, which gives me the authority to instruct with regards to what Titus 2 entails. Yet over and above my age is my personal learning experience that I just shared with you. Don’t let this happen again.
Don’t be ignorant. Be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.
[photo credit: Shannon L. Miller]
Lisa Maki is a Professional Writer/Copywriter/Consultant with over 15 years of experience in Professional Writing, Public speaking, and Human Resources. Lisa is also the founder of God’z Gurlz, a Bible-based web magazine for women.