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Should you be best friends with the opposite sex?

Updated: May 21




1. What you are and who you are?


2 Corinthians 5 rings true for Gods children, that we are new creatures, that the old has passed away and the new is here.


It remains true that our identity is the following:


New creature

Holy temple

Royal priesthood

Chosen race

Children of God


It remains true that Gods spirit resides within us, giving us:


The conviction

The motivation

And the power to overcome sin, to be renewed and transformed to the point where we can, should and do live our lives radically different in comparison to the secular world around us.


However, despite the above transformation, it would be naive, foolish and passive to forget the following:


The world

The flesh

The devil

Still exists, that is why there now exists an internal conflict, as highlighted in Galatians when it says the flesh is against the spirit and the spirit is against the flesh.


It can best be summarised in Romans 7, when Paul says “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.(A) 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.(B) 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.(C) 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[a](D) For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.(E) 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.”


So, when placing ourselves in any circumstance, such as, should I be best friends with someone of the opposite sex? We must take into account the new identity that was imputed upon us, but the existing threat that is still ever apparent.


On one hand, it is true that we could have these friendships, because of the power that is within us and the firm certainty of who we are in Christ.


But it is also true that we could easily succumb to the flesh and the tactics of the devil who prowls around like a roaring lion seeking to destroy.

Like a bull fighter who steps into the arena with an uncontrollable and threatening animal, regardless of how experienced and assured he is, there is always the possibility of getting wounded of the very thing he thought he was in control of.


By now, you perhaps see the principle being extracted from the metaphor, as Christian’s we are constantly admonished, commanded and encouraged to operate in wisdom and to value others more highly than ourselves.


Colossians 4:5, “5Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. 6Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”


So why waste your time in a friendship that has the capacity to hurt you, regardless of the potential benefits, the temporary feelings and the here today, gone tomorrow euphoria.


We are called to be the family of God, to encourage and motivate one another, to build one another up! Opposite sex friendships do have such benefits, ie (3), girls and guys can teach one another valuable lessons about the opposite sex, about what girls like and don't like. However, this can all be achieved in a less intimate setting, not in a setting of close friends. One on one time with the opposite sex promotes an intimacy that should be reserved for marriage. "Remember God designed us to have deep friendship with only one person of the opposite sex: our spouse. God did not create a bunch of Eves for Adam to have intimate friendships with; he created Eve. Period."


There is no command forbidding this, so this is a conscience issue that should be informed by:


Wisdom

Gods word

Prayer

Mentorship

Character

Motivation

Future trajectory

Communication


So the premise that I will be taking is this:


The recommendation is not to pursue such friendships as the risk outweighs the benefit; however, there is not an explicit command forbidding such relationships and your personal experience extinguishes the potential threats that I and others bring up. So there is an exception to the rule, but this is something that is isolated to a few and should be cautiously walked with specific safeguards put in place to ensure a God honouring friendship prospers.


2. The necessity of friendship

We are created for community, for relationships, to share our lives with the people around us. Life takes a downward spiral when loneliness takes centre stage. From genesis we see the importance of relationship, ie. Adam and Eve, we see the need for mentors in Elijah and Elisha, we see the togetherness of Daniel’s friends, we see the intimacy of David and Jonathan, the inconsistency of Jobs friends, we see the friends of Jesus and the effect when they forfeited the fundamentals of good friendship.


Proverbs 27 - “A mirror reflects a man’s face but what he is really like is shown by the friends that he chooses”


Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor, If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.”


Proverbs 18:24, “One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”


Proverbs 27;9, “Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice.”


3. The fruit of any biblical friendship


-Intimacy

We all know the beauty of a friendship that deepens over time with invaluable closeness.


-Joy

We all know a friend that brings more than just happiness, but actually instills joy through their steadfast character, their personality and humour.


-Peace

We all know the friend that instills within us a sense of calm and assurance, with their potent words that hits the pulse of any given situation.


-Accountability

We all know the friend who loves us so much that they say what needs to be said, they call us up on what we do wrong, admonishing us to a place of restoration.


-Love

We all know the friend who lavishes love upon us, whose love goes beyond words and transitions into action. Those friends who are kingmakers, being attentive to everything that is said, who remember the things that we wouldn’t expect them to remember.


-Spiritual growth

We all know the friend who always brings everything back to God, who acknowledges the brevity and futility of life outside of Christ, and so desire to reflect love to people and God through obedience.


-Abiding interest

We all know the friend who is there, they aren’t there to be seen, to be celebrated, to be acknowledged as the good friend, they simply are the good friend who genuinely desires to be there for you no matter the circumstance.


-Wisdom

We all know the friend whose wisdom is timeless, those friends who speak into a situation, enabling us to see more than one path, more than one decision, who open our eyes to the foolishness of our actions and implore us to look at the wisdom found within Gods word.


-Support

We all know the friend who is there, encouraging and motivating us to continue on in our race, growing in God and glorifying God.


The benefits of a steadfast and timeless friend are endless.


4. Potential consequences and limitations of opposite sex friendship

  • Potential relationships thwarted

Those maybe interested in one of the friends involved may be deterred from pursing them, as they are uncertain of the nature of the relationship. Being friends with a person of the opposite sex will lower your chances of a romantic relationship with them or another person. Why would Gary want to date Melissa, when Melissa hangs out with George all the time.

  • Miscommunication

The two friends do not communicate correctly, leaving the friendship in a sea of ambiguity.

  • Fractured relationships

The two friends out grow the initial definition given to the friendship, either one is interested and other is not, one person regresses and other progresses, causing friction that leads to the breaking of the once healthy friendship.


  • Unhealthy desires

One friend developes interest, while the other doesn’t, but stays in the friendship, thus increasing their attraction, while the other person remains true to what they originally said. Leaving one feeling guilty and other feeling hurt. Young people today often become emotionally close with the opposite sex without considering any kind of commitment to protect that intimacy; this undefined friendship trend—rooted in emotional promiscuity yields negative effects. It’s actually a contributing factor to the escalating “living together” rate, which is now at 7 mi