Can men and women ever be friends without the “sex thing” getting in the way? Well, according to Harry and Hollywood, they can’t. But I refuse to believe that. Even though it may be a rare thing today in the singles world, I still believe in platonic friendship. What are the duties of a friend? Good question. I like to think of them as responsibilies and that they all hinge on trust, which is infinitely more important than any of the world’s definitions of love. A relationship can go nowhere without trust. And we’ve got a trust problem today; a problem so big that man has lost respect for himself. I think of trust as two people putting each other’s lives in each other’s hands, of two people giving each other responsibility for what is important in their life. Like a mom handing over the responsibility of her child to a baby sitter or someone sharing an address and phone number with a person in need they don’t know. Too many hearts are being guarded with fortresses so high you can’t see over them.
I think to really be able to trust you have to understand how Christianity is rooted in sexual ethics and God’s grace; that all of the Christian virtues are brought down to a smaller scale and compacted into the act of sex itself when two people become one flesh. These include chastity, temperance, charity, diligence, patience, kindness, and humility. They constitute the spiritual dimension of sex. There are only two Christian lifestyle choices – marriage and celibacy. In a Christian marriage, you ought to be able to continually see those seven virtues that were sealed at the onset of marriage between the husband and wife. In Christian celibacy, you likewise ought to be able to continually see those same virtues between their relationship with God and friends. The problem today is that we have a world that idolizes marriage and family. To see beyond romance and recognize those virtues demonstrated between friends is a rare site. Sex just always . . . gets in the way for singles; whether it’s played out on a street corner, in the make believe drama-filled world of social media, or in church jockeying for position and rank. Friends? Who needs them?
In your mind’s eye, bring Apostle Paul into your world today. He never had a wife and has never been more than a friend to anybody. Place him on an empty bench on a busy street corner. Now think of the hundreds of people walking by him. Do you completely understand his concept of friendship? Or do you think that since God gave him the gift of celibacy he doesn’t need friends? That’s he’s happy just doing his missionary work and writing letters? What’s the possibility of someone sitting down with Paul and demonstrating the seven virtues in 15 minutes? Not too great I suppose. But they’ll have no problem demonstrating them to their spouse when they get home. Unfortunately, the concerns of the world expressed in marriage have taken priority over the concerns of the Lord expressed in celibacy. I’m afraid Paul wouldn’t make it in the social column and wouldn’t have hundreds of Facebook friends. But that would not alter his relationship with platonic friends and I’m sure he wouldn’t continually check the single mingle polls. The world has a family. And some people have friends with higher spiritual and intellectual functioning than Harry.