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?