Women can be far too nurturing in situations, even when red flags begin to surface. We often think, But he needs me… I’m just trying to be a friend… How can I possibly not help? That would not be very Christianlike!
While it may be okay for a single woman to play the counselor role for a single male friend, if either person is married or spoken for, the plot can thicken into a dangerous recipe for relational entanglement. Or if a single woman senses that there is a hidden agenda (a desire to develop a relationship) behind a man’s appeal for counsel, she would be wise not to go there at all if it’s not a relationship she would care to foster.
Don’t fall into the trap of counseling a man about his problems if it means having isolated personal conversations, especially if one of you is married. That is what professional counselors, pastors, and his male friends are for. The only way to avoid falling into one of the many affairs that blossom in ministry and counseling offices is for men to counsel men and for women to counsel women regarding intimate issues.
If a man comes to you for counseling or prayer and it is either a forbidden relationship or one you wouldn’t consider entertaining, feel free to do what Scott did. Once approached at church by a beautiful young woman in tears, Scott responded to her in-your-face appeal for attention with a friendly, “How can I help you?”
As she proceeded to pour out her heart about something that had just upset her a great deal, Scott intuitively interrupted with, “Why don’t you wait here while I get another woman to pray with you?”
Was Scott being callous? Absolutely not. He was being very sensitive, not just to the situation causing this woman’s distress, but to the potential destruction of his being her sounding board and prayer partner. He did not want to feed any false hopes she may have had for a relationship with him. Many pastors and ministry leaders refuse to counsel a woman without his wife or the woman’s husband present at all times. This isn’t rejection; it’s wise caution. Wisdom tells us that if we are truly going to help other people (and protect ourselves), we cannot afford to be “too good for our own good.”
Excerpted from Every Woman’s Battle: Discovering God’s Plan for Sexual and Emotional Fulfillment by Shannon Ethridge. Copyright 2003. All Rights Reserved. Published by WaterBrook Press, Colorado Springs, CO 80921. Used by Permission. Not to be copied without Publisher’s prior written approval.