This post might get me into trouble. I’ve been sitting on it for a few months and when Los posted about something similar last night… I decided to pull the trigger. But honestly, this post was going to be a lot more feisty. This is all you get today.
If you’re in ministry, then you know about “The Rule.” The rule about men and women being alone together. Its a respectable rule. One that I’ve been under since I first entered ministry as an intern some 8 years ago. But while this rule is put in place to protect staff integrity, I have seen more men and women get into trouble while under this rule, than I’ve seen and heard of from ministries who don’t enforce it.
So, I can’t help but ask myself, does the rule even matter? Does sin really know mandated boundaries? If it did, would we have had all the eating of the forbidden fruit business? You know? And further more, is the risk of an affair or moral failing really so much greater in ministry, then in the real world? Where’s the rule at Sprint? or Cerner?
Can I be honest? I create my own rules. And I think that is what it actually takes to keep oneself safe. To keep one’s integrity in check. Creating the kind of boundaries and rules that fit your own lifestyle.
My case in point. I’m single. I’m a young woman. But I have always had better guy friends than girlfriends. But somewhere along the way most of them got married. And the men who enter my life now, are all generally married. Particularly those I work with on a day to day basis.
I will always be a woman. I might always be single. But I can’t live in a bumble.
And as a single woman in ministry, I know that I have to protect myself. I have to protect myself from rumors. I have to protect myself also, not just from my own temptations or from being a temptation to someone else, but from on-lookers who see my hand with no ring, funky, fun hair and bumbly personality and think, “tramp.”
I make friends with my guy friend’s and co-workers wives. Even if I have nothing in common with them (which happens). If I am in a situation where I have to be alone with a married guy (which is only in the most random of occasions), his wife knows because I make sure she knows. I call her. I email her. I make sure she is never in the dark. I respect their marriage. She knows that her trust in me, first begins with her trust in her husband. With each other. And in doing so, this respects me and keeps me safe.
I would never say that I am above sinning or doing something regrettable. None of us are. But every, single affair and/or moral failing I have seen (some in the cubical next to me) were situations that both parties involved were married and had “the rule.” These were devastating and I lost great friends, and the repercussions were astronomical.
But the problem wasn’t young, single women or whether or not a “rule” was printed in a manual. The problem was at home. And a “rule” wasn’t going to stop what was already in motion.