Unlike most other people of our age and experience, we are (insert favorite answer here) a) really astute students of our own and each other’s hearts, b) -clear and talented communicators, c) always honest with each other, even when such honesty entails huge vulnerability for whoever is speaking, d) all of the above.” Maybe.But here I would pose the question that is relevant to so many aspects of the courtship and dating topic.Why risk harm to your own heart or to that of a brother or sister to have a type of companionship that, outside of marriage, is arguably questionable anyway?

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So is the trend toward intimate friendships between single men and women a good thing? If you haven’t read my previous articles on biblical dating, you’ll be helped in thinking through this issue by reading “Biblical Dating: How It’s Different From Modern Dating.” Based on some of the principles found there, let me offer a couple of practical reasons why I believe such friendships to be generally unwise, and then I’ll suggest a positive role for friendship among singles in the Christian community.

In this series of articles, I’ve raised several biblical principles regarding the way we should treat our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Either way, that person is now hanging on to the “friendship” in the hope of getting something more despite the “clear words” from the other person that he or she wants nothing beyond friendship.

To the extent that one person’s romantic feelings have been clearly articulated to the other (and were met with an unfavorable response) to continue in some no-man’s land of “good friends,” is arguably to take selfish advantage of the vulnerable party. What if one person develops romantic feelings in a friendship in which no “clear words” have been spoken, such that the desires of the other person are a mystery?

Close friendships by their very nature tend to involve extensive time talking and hanging out one-on-one.

They tend to involve a deep knowledge of the other person’s hopes, desires and personality.

Romans 13:8-14 calls us to love others, to work for their souls’ good rather than looking to please ourselves.

More specifically, verse 10 reminds us that “[l]ove does no harm to its neighbor.” Romans 14:1-15:7 offers a discourse on favoring weaker brothers and sisters above ourselves, valuing and encouraging that which is good in the souls of others.

Bottom line: I believe it is difficult and rare — as a practical matter — to honor these principles in the context of a close, intimate friendship between two single Christians of the opposite sex.