I've come up with a system that should help you discern if something is appropriate or inappropriate. Whenever you're trying to decide if an action with or towards the opposite sex is right or wrong, ask yourself these five questions:
- Does it respect him/her?
- Will it make him/her feel valuable?
- Does it esteem or honor him/her?
- Is it modest?
- Is it pure?
Let's say I wanted to know if it'd be okay for my girlfriend and I to have sex. This immediately fails the test. In fact, it doesn't pass a single question. God tells us to keep sex inside marriage, so sex outside of marriage is automatically a sin.
But let's say my girlfriend and I just wanted to make out, get a little handsy, and maybe even get naked. Does this pass? No way! Once again, it fails all five qualifiers. Even though you aren't having sexual intercourse, you're not showing respect, you aren't valuing, you aren't honoring, your intentions are sinful, and it's completely impure.
Now let's say that I just want to kiss my girlfriend goodnight. This one gets a little trickier, and you especially need to use your wisdom and discernment here. Many of my Christian friends- myself included- have committed to saving their first kiss for the the wedding altar. But I also know many more Christians who are fine with kissing before marriage. My thinking is that if I wouldn't kiss someone who isn't my wife when I'm married, why is it okay for me to kiss someone who isn't my wife before I'm married? I also know that kissing awakens a desire to do more (a.k.a., have sex), and I don't want to have to deal with that temptation any more than I have to. And I believe that to save my first kiss for marriage would honor my wife more than anything else I could do. So is it wrong to kiss before marriage? I think it is. I think if you are serious about sexual purity, honor, and respect, you would wait. To me, not waiting says that you aren't taking it as seriously as you should or that your intentions aren't right in the first place.
Let's step away from the sex side of things and look at hugs. Are hugs okay? If done with the right intentions, I think so. I can't see how a hug could be disrespectful, or dishonoring, or impure, or anything like that. And what about side hugs? I typically use side hugs only for a girl I don't know that well. If I know the girl, I give full hugs. Now yes, some people are huggers, and some aren't. And that's okay. If you aren't comfortable with it, don't do it. But please don't judge others for holding different convictions than you on this one.
I'm sure you can see that these five questions can be applied to any situation and will still produce a wise and correct answer. Whether you want to know about holding hands, kissing on the cheek, sitting close to each other, snuggling, or any other question you have, it will give you an answer you can trust. Just remember to answer each question honestly, and without bias.
The guiding principles of servant romance are respect, value, honor, modesty, and purity, and the overarching theme is to treat others in the way you want to be treated. Follow the principles of servant romance and your friendships will blossom and thrive, and you will have less heartache and less difficulty when it comes to romantic relationships. Become a servant leader in romance and in friendships.
1 Timothy 4:12 says, "Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity."