CHILLICOTHE, Oh. (BNC) by Ron Thomas — I have a position of responsibility. How should I conduct myself around people of the opposite sex? Seems like an easy question to answer, but in secular society, it is not. In an article (Columbus Dispatch; pages C-1, 3) the headline reads, “Accusations making men wary at work.” The point of the piece deals with two things: first, it is good women are speaking out against sexual advances or harassment; second, there exists now a backlash because of this. “I have already heard the rumblings of a backlash: ‘This is why you shouldn’t hire women” (C-1).
Through the years, as a Christian and, most certainly as a preacher, much counsel has been given to me not be alone with a woman. While there are untold number of women who properly carry themselves in the presence of men (and men toward women), there exists horror stories of men falsely accused and women victims of unwanted advance by the few.
How should one carry him or herself in any circumstance? The Williams Translation of the New Testament in 1 Peter 1:14-16, makes clear the best policy. “As obedient children, stop molding your character by the evil desires you used to cherish when you did not know any better, but in accordance with the Holy Being who has called you, you must prove to be holy too, for the Scripture says: ‘You ought to be holy, because I am holy’.”
One can’t improve upon this way of thinking and living and, until it is implemented, problems in this area will perpetuate and, possibly, get even worse.
I have a capability. Because I have a capability in a certain area of life, an expertise, should I make use of that in the context of the church environment? Most people will respond with an affirmative answer, but it’s not always the case the answer should be yes.
I have the capability to lead, but should I be appointed as an elder? Not necessarily. It may be that I do not meet the requirements of the Holy Spirit in Paul’s letters to Timothy and Titus.
I am a professional singer, should I not be called upon the lead singing? Not necessarily. It may be with your capability, your demand on yourself is one you place on others who have less than your capability, thus bring about discouragement.
I am an accountant, should I not be put in position of responsibility as church treasurer? Not necessarily. It may well be the case one who is treasurer is very loyal to the Lord and financial responsibility. Booting that one out (him or her) can do more harm when it is unwarranted.
I have a struggle. Do you struggle with moral failings or emotional failings? While you may not, there are a good many who do. The reason for the struggle varies. The other day I read of a young porn-actress who committed suicide because of sexual abuse when she was younger, bullying of late and those who judged for her occupation. Biblically and morally, with regard to her occupation, rendering a judgment on immoral behavior is rather easy, for the Lord stands opposed to such behaviors. What about bullying and sexual abuse?
Maybe your struggle is of a sexual nature. Perhaps you desire to be intimate with the another of the same sex; perhaps your desire is to be with another not your spouse; perhaps your interest is toward those much younger, even in the self-stimulating arena. Many people do not want to talk of such things, but looking at the news, it appears many should. It matters not what your struggle is, what matters is what you do about it to make things right in your life. Don’t give in to evil, give yourself to the Lord. He is your only hope.
People have baggage in life that is hard to let go of, but something that must be left behind. The baggage of which I speak is the baggage of weight that prevents us from moving toward the Lord. Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who toil and carry burdens, and I, yes, I, will lead you into rest. Put on my yoke, and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls, for the yoke I offer is easy to wear, and the load I ask is light to bear” (Matthew 11:28-30, Williams Translation).
In responsibility, capability and struggle, a good place to start is with Jesus.
Ron works with the congregation in Chillicothe, Oh., and graciously permitted BNC permission to reprint this article from his website.
Randal and his wife Vicki have lived and worked in Brazil since Nov. 1984. They have three children, two daughters-in-law, and five grandchildren. He likes to read novels in his back-porch hammock. http://randal.us