How to Safely Minister to Women I CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
How to safely minister to women, part 1. As a general rule, it is better for a woman you trust to minister to another woman than it is for you to minister to her [Tit 2:3-5]. Your wife or a very godly woman in your church can minister to her in ways that you cannot. Plus, she understands the heart of a woman much better than you ever will. Nevertheless, there are going to be circumstances when you have to minister to a woman and, when you do, these are practical and Biblical insights into how to keep yourself pure.
Fear God – Ministers are conscious of other peoples’ perception of them, so they learn how to behave under public scrutiny [1 Thes 5:22; 1 Cor 8:12-13]. But men cannot see into your heart [1 Sam 16:7]. Only God can [Ps 139:23-24]. And thus, over time, it is easy for a minister to lose his fear of God [Prov 15:3, Ps 19:9] as long as he is keeping the watchful eye of man content [1 Sam 15:24]. And when you lose that powerful fear of God, you no longer see the sins of your heart from God’s perspective. Hence, you look good to your folks but you look filthy to the Lord and you’re not even aware of it [Jer 17:9]. It’s just a matter of time before this minister gets caught in sin. Thus he must continually follow Paul’s advice in 2 Cor 7:1.
Keep your heart – Prov 4:23 – One of the problems in the ministry is that a good minister must be compassionate [Matt 9:36]. And the more compassionate you are, the more careful you need to be with your heart. Learn to control your affections. When your heart “goes out” to someone, that compassion can turn to lust [Prov 5:20-21]. Once you give your heart to another woman, you lose discretion over your own emotions, and you can be easily drawn away and enticed [Jas 1:14]. You are set up to fall [Prov 7:25].
Quell the need to be needed – One of the most difficult things for a minister to recognize in himself, and to acknowledge if he does recognize it, is the need to be needed. Ministers oftentimes feel a great sense of personal satisfaction in being able to comfort hurting people. Because a minister can derive so much fulfillment in this type of ministry, he runs the risk of making people dependent upon him rather than the Lord. A woman who becomes dependent on a man who derives pleasure from helping her is a woman who can ultimately go with him into sin. Remember, people don’t need you nearly so much as they need the Lord Jesus Christ. So, help them become dependent on the Lord and not on you [2 Cor 11:2, 1 Pet 5:7, Acts 20:32]. The Holy Spirit is THE Comforter and he always points people to the Lord Jesus Christ [Jn 16:7, 14].
Control your thoughts – Just because a woman cannot see what you are thinking about when you are in her presence doesn’t mean that you can think about her with lustful thoughts. The reason you don’t stop yourself is that you don’t want to. You have to cast down immediately any imagination of anything improper [2 Cor 10:4-5]. You cannot let wicked thoughts harbor in your mind and heart. Clean up your mind [Heb 9:14, Jn 15:3, Prov 16:3]. And if you have that much trouble with your thought life, then for the Lord’s sake don’t minister to women; let someone else like your wife do it. She’s an excellent choice, anyway.
Be Aware – [Eph 5:15 walk circumspectly] Carefully consider every angle before you ever start ministering to a woman, and take the necessary precautions to prevent anything from happening [Rom 13:13-14]. It is okay to say “No” to a woman if you suspect a potential danger of you or her crossing the line of safe conduct.
Never be alone together – This is the cardinal rule of safety because you cannot “do” anything if there is another person around [Gen 39:11-12; 2 Sam 13:9-11]. But this rule doesn’t not cover all of the problems. You may counsel her in the presence of another person and end up calling, emailing or texting each other into a romance. The best other person to have around is her husband, if she is married.
Limit your physical contact – It is good for a man not to touch a woman [1 Cor 7:1]. You have to be extremely cautious and honest here. Even holding hands to pray may be more than you or she can bear. You have to really know your limits here. If you and she are certain that there is no sensuality in your relationship, then a brief side hug publicly is about as far as you can possibly go in demonstrating your care [1 Cor 16:20 says “holy”]. And watch your body language. Often the way you sit or the closeness with which you stand or the way you look can be suggestive and lead to problems down the road.
Control your eyes – What you see fuels what you think about and imagine [2 Sam 11:2]. So be very careful not to stimulate your imagination with what you see [Job 31:1]. Be very careful where you sit or stand in relation to the person to whom you are ministering so that you cannot see anything improper. Control your eyes all the time and you won’t have so much trouble controlling your eyes in a ministry situation.