I Broke All The Rules

I broke my own rules today. When it comes to issues of integrity and accountability concerning my relationships with other women I am strict on myself.

  • I never meet with women in the office when I am there alone.
  • I never eat alone with women.
  • I never visit a woman at home without Cheryl unless her husband is there.
  • This may sound strange, but when I’m talking to a woman, I try to keep my focus on a woman’s face, not her body frame. (Funny story: Recently Cheryl told me about a woman in our church delivering her baby the next week. I had just had a long conversation with the woman in the hall at church. I told Cheryl I didn’t know the lady was pregnant. She said, “She’s 9 months pregnant. How could you miss that?” Honestly, I had never looked beyond the woman’s face.)

In matters like this I do not believe men can take a chance or they will be inviting temptation.

Today I broke my own rules. I was working from a local coffee shop. A lady approached my table and sat down and started talking. The place was full, so I felt better about things, but normally I would have politely told her about my safeguards. Instead, we talked for over an hour.

The reason is that my rule, which I still believe I should have, was getting in the way of an eternal purpose. I am building inroads with her and soon may have the opportunity to share my faith with her. Do I still have to be careful? Absolutely. I made sure people were in the coffee shop that knew me. I sent a text to someone at the office. I made sure Cheryl knew about it. I felt it was a time, however, that was worthy of breaking the rules. And the fact is I only broke one of the rules above, the others I would still keep. (I’m reminded of some rules Jesus broke when He met the woman at the well…and other times.)

Do you struggle with issues like this at times? What other ways to you build integrity safeguards into your life? What advice would you give me?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Add video comment

Have you Subscribed via RSS yet? Don't miss a post!

9 thoughts on “I Broke All The Rules

  1. Ron, these are great rules and we have similar ones in place. There is a GREAT book by Jerry Jenkins called “Loving your marriage enough to protect it”. I had it by my bedside (and then by Frank’s bedside) for the first several years of our marriage. It’s so important, even if your intentions and the intentions of the other party are pure, not to get yourself into that kind of situation. I’ve also learned that even if you ARE having a friendly lunch with someone of the opposite sex and someone who knows you sees you… the rumor mill starts. Even if your spouse already knows about it.
    Drives me crazy that people can be so judgmental, but I figure they’re looking to Christians (especially pastors) to be examples for how we should live.

    Anyway, if you’d like the book, let me know! I have an extra copy. (I give it as part of my present to every wedding I go to! LOL) I’d be happy to pass it along!

  2. i think your rules are spot on. i follow them myself and that has made me unpopular at times with other women in my neighborhood. but i would rather be unpopular with them while i am guarding my heart and have a great marriage than be liked by others with a very loose moral compass.

  3. Great post Ron. I try to follow the same guidelines that you have as well. A few months ago I agreed to meet some parents and their 19 year old daughter, who was having some rebellion issues. Immediately after arriving at the coffeeshop the parents announced that they were going to leave us alone for a little while to talk. Like your situation, there were several other people that I knew in the coffeeshop. I broke the rule that day and it led to a great conversation with the girl. About two weeks later she came to our college service and got baptized on the beach later that week. She is in a women’s group and I really haven’t talked to her at all since our initial conversation. But that 30 minutes allowed me to connect her with some girls in the church who helped lead her to Christ.
    I agree that we should have rules in place and follow them 99% of the time. We also have to pay attention to the Holy Spirit if there are some divine appointments that were unexpected.

    Thanks for the post.

  4. I absolutely LOVE these rules Ron! I have very similar rules myself. Here in the office I have watched the past year a woman fall into that trap. It has hurt my heart so watching it unfold in front of me. She is currently getting a divorce. She started working here a few months before me, so a little over two years ago. She is married to a Christian man who is hurting right now. She started going to lunch with three men out of the office, just her and the men. Now she is going through a divorce. It just breaks my heart. I want to shake her and wake her up. One of those men tried to get me to be his “lunch date” right after I started working here. I nipped it real quick. He does not have much to do with me now. I told my boss, if ever he wants to take me to lunch for Secretary’s day, etc. I expect his wife or my spouse to be there too. My boss’s wife is always in attendance when he provides meals for us. He is a good man. I love laughing and cutting up with everybody, but I know where to draw the line when I feel it might be going in the wrong direction. Satan loves to devour and destroy. I hate to see it but I am so glad I recognize it.

  5. I used to attend a church where the Pastor had none of these safeguards in place. It was a free for all and I had been in MANY uncomfortable situations, alone, with the Pastor. I have found that the safegurads you have set in place not only guard YOU but also the female members of your church. It can be very confusing when the Pastor is attentive one minute, even fliratious, then the next week there is another person whom he is giving his attention and seal of aproval. I’ve actually been foolish enough to believe, in the past, that the Pastor’s aproval or disaproval of me was directly relational to how God must be viewing me. It hindered and muddied the clarity in my walk with God.

  6. Awesome guidelines, I will definitely be going for number 4… and also for the moment thinking about the first 3… as an unmarried 18 year old the situation is slightly different but these are great guidelines.

    Lukewarm… I think your last one might be a bit harsh… especially as we have a call to share the good news with the whole world… including women… just thoughts

  7. How very true. In addition to that here are some additional rules I follow.

    I dont take the elevator alone with another woman. I would rather wait for the next one or walk up the stairs.

    I decline offers or requests for a ride from another woman.

    When talking with another woman, I immediately kill my sense of humor and just become a boring guy.

    There are other rules I stick to but basically, my wife is the only female friend and attention I need. Many people, including other Christians dont understand why I do it but it is what God wants and it is what I will continue to try and do in order to remain faithful to God and my wife.

  8. Ron, I can identify well. I’ve had a couple of times when a teen girl was left behind after church waiting for her parents to come get her and I’m the last one there, so I wait outside and call my wife to chat the whole time, even if it’s ten below zero. If my secretary and I are the only two going to our staff lunch from our building, we still drive separately. The world doesn’t always understand these rules, but you’re right, they are essential.

    And as for the breaking of them, you’re right there too. I’d never thought of the situation at the well that way before, but it does remind us of the necessary balance.

  9. Ron,
    I have a Pastor in my life that has simular rules. I have grown to respect these rules and even think very highly because he has them. The rules that he has is not just to protect him and his family but as well there to protect himself. I do believe that God will protect you if you are doing what He has set up for you to do no matter what your rules. I as well think that this person will respect you and your rules as you minister to them. Since I have never actually meet you and may not until we all get to Heaven I will say that the rules as well make me respect you for standing your ground and protecting you and your family as well as Church family.