To Court Playfully
(You Could Be Sending the Wrong Message)
by Dan Blankenship
Webster’s Dictionary describes flirting (flirt) as “to court playfully; act amorously, often without serious intentions.” And if one looks up the word amorous, this is what you’ll find: “inclined or disposed to love, esp. sexual love.”
While I’m sure many people view flirting as just a part of growing up, there are an increasing number of teenagers who realize flirting can be a big mistake. Some of the negative outcomes from flirting can completely outweigh the positives.
For example, teens who use flirting as a way to become more popular or to gain attention can be sending the wrong message to their classmates, implying that promiscuity is a part of one’s character. Even though the person flirting may be practicing sexual abstinence, other teens that witness such outward performances may consciously or subconsciously decide to separate themselves from such a reckless soul.
I doubt that anyone who chooses to use flirting as a form of dialogue or nonverbal communication can, in advance, always accurately gauge how others will interpret the discourse. After all, we all know people who view flirting as fun and other who see it a waste of time or a sign of moral weakness. And we all know people who consider their flirting “okay” yet interpret others’ flirting as being sleazy.
God commands us to “avoid sexual immorality” (see 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 NIV), calling us to learn to control our bodies and to live and conduct ourselves in a way that pleases God. Using our bodies and our words to playfully entice members of the opposite sex is not pleasing to God.
“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” (1 Peter 3:3-4 NIV)
Those verses from the Bible are speaking to Christian wives specifically, but all of God’s people in general. We should always present ourselves in a manner that avoids tempting others toward sin. 1 Corinthians 10:31-32 (NIV) tells us, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God.” Flirting can lead others to stumble into lust, temptation, and dangerous behavior – all items that I doubt the person initiating the flirting are contemplating.
So the next time you think of flirting as just having a bit of fun, ask yourself how God views your actions. Remember that as followers of Christ we are to do our best to represent His teachings with our conduct in public and private.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NIV) says, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” And make sure to also honor Him with your speech.
Read more articles by Dan Blankenship or search for articles on the same topic or others.