Thursday, November 14, 2013

Thursday Thoughts: Girls Part 1

Come on, young men reading this, admit it: we think a lot about girls. Sure, we might have used to think of girls as those shrill-voiced little beings that were pretty boring to be around—after all, they would hardly ever get excited about battling nasty creatures to the death or playing football—but now things have changed. Instead of fantasizing over girls running away in terror—curls bouncing, shoes and playthings left behind—as we show them that Gardner snake we found, we now dream of saving one of them from a truly distressing situation. This new outlook can be quite befuddling at times, but it can also get us in trouble if we are not careful. Driven by one of the most powerful forces known to man, raging hormones, we must know how to treat young ladies in a God-honoring and respectful way. This post is the first of three dedicated to my opinion on how young men should behave towards girls. My female audience can ignore this post, unless of course you want to explore inside the head of one of those confusing members of the opposite gender. Young men, gear up!

Treating them as your sister

I must confess that I am a pretty poor guy to be writing this post. I interact very seldom with girls outside of my family, and when I do, it is most often a very brief conversation. I am learning very slowly how to relate to them, for even though I live with three who are almost exactly my same age, I still don’t understand girls all that well. Thankfully, the apostle Paul has already given advice on this subject to a young man named Timothy—and to young men in general. Paul writes that we are to treat “the older women as mothers, and the younger women as sisters, in all purity.” [1Ti 5:2 NASB]
Young men, we are to treat girls as our sisters, in all purity. I am guessing that as a Christian young man like myself, you have good relationships with your sisters. You honor them, and you let them know it in your actions. Whether it’s opening that door for them or letting them go first down the buffet line (while you’re ravenously hungry, nonetheless), you show them respect. Your pure relationship is friendly and warm. Though maybe one of your favorite things to do is poke fun at your sister (see my SCC post), it is all in good humor and you enjoy each other’s company. You would do anything to protect your sisters. Anyone who would try to harm them would have to kill you first, for you will protect your sisters to the death.

This is what our relationships with girls should look like. We should have a brotherly love for girls, honoring, respecting, and protecting them. This love is not the love our culture understands today, for theirs is a shallow, self-serving emotion that barely, if at all, lasts. The love we should show towards girls is selfless and has no interior motives. It desires nothing in return, for it is merely our expression of honor and respect.  

It should be noted that I think our interactions with “worldly” girls should be different than with Christian ones. We should be very careful in having any kind of a friendship with a girl who has not accepted Jesus as Lord, for she will not share our same values and there will naturally be a higher chance of stumbling blocks to our faith. I think it is prudent to be guarded towards such girls, though in no way am I saying that we should ignore or never extend brotherly love to them. We should always be ready to reach out to a lost girl like Jesus did to the Samaritan woman (see John 4), with pure motives and intentions!

How not to treat girls

I am blessed enough to have learned many useful things from my sisters on this subject. Not mentioning any names, there are a few boys in our social realm who could use a course on “making friends with girls 101”. I have had to lend an ear to my sisters’ frustrated and upset tempests several times because of these boys (a good tip is to just listen, not interrupt, for any interruption will cause them to aim a stormy blast at you). The outbursts are usually a result of one thing: the boy belittled something they said or exalted himself above them.
Girls want our respect, guys, and it is something they deserve. No matter how much more capable at throwing a baseball we are than them, the last thing we should do is put them down because of it. And think about it. Though we can throw that baseball from deep centerfield to the plate, girls are a ton better at a lot of things than us (multi-tasking and organizing come to mind, for some reason). As a Christian young man who wants to treat girls with respect, avoid any speech that belittles them. Many brothers’ ears will be saved as a result. We are told to “build each other up” in the Bible anyway (1 Thes. 5:11), so this is just common sense.

Along these same lines, I have found through unfortunate experience with my sisters that girls take us much more seriously than we do ourselves. While we males can exchange jabs at each other with almost reckless abandon, knowing that the only repercussions will be a well-meaning wrestling match, girls are usually much more sensitive and can be hurt by what we say if we are not careful. Though it is all well and good to joke around with friends, be careful. That jest you extended to a girl may mean more than you realized to her.
Also, I think we need to circle back to what I mentioned earlier, raging hormones. Guys, part of respecting girls is not looking at them with any kind of lust. Please raise your hand if you do not struggle in this area, and you can ignore the following paragraphs. My hand for one is still firmly down, for it would be an outright lie if I raised it.

Girls are not “candy” for our eyes, guys; it should be repulsive to all of us to even think of them that way. You wouldn’t take that second glance at your sister, would you? Though we live in a world where we are constantly besieged in this area, we must learn to take our lustful thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ. I find that the best way to do this is to simply flee when temptation arises (see 2 Tim. 2:22), but there are many other practical ways as well. For instance, simply keep yourself away from groups where you know girls will be dressed immodestly (another prop for homeschooling!). Pinpoint what makes you stumble, whether it be website ads, magazine covers, or whatever it is, and find ways to avoid it. If you are trapped with a girl who presents any sort of temptation (and they don’t have to do much for our weak minds to stumble), have your mother, one of your sisters, or a trusted sister in Christ join you to help defuse any chance at stumbling. Run all the Bible’s commands and warnings about lust through your head again and again. In short, actively engage in the fight to keep your mind pure!
In conclusion, I think it is natural for us to notice a girl’s beauty—and when it is merely that, I do not think it is wrong—but when it becomes anything more, we are not only dishonoring the girl, but committing adultery with her in our hearts (Mat. 5:28). It is not as if we have to keep our eyes constantly diverted to the ground in the presence of a girl for fear we will notice her shining blue eyes (or green or brown, for that matter) and the way her long hair falls across her shoulders, but we must always guard ourselves, keeping every girl as a sister in our minds.

The “Porky Rule”

If you have not grasped what I have tried to get across in this post or you cannot understand how you are to treat girls as a sister, well, because you don’t have one, I would like to implement the “Porky Rule”. Yes, weird, but bear with me. You see, to loosely quote Porky from the Little Rascals, he says that “A he-man (is someone) so manly that he would jump off a building and go out of his way to land on a girl.”
Yeah, just do the opposite of that . . . and you will be fine.

Tune in for part two--on how I believe we should go about pursuing a relationship with a girl--a week from now!

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