How to Minister to Women II CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
How to safely minister to women, part 2. 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.
Watch your words – Words reveal the heart [Matt 12:34]. When you say anything sensual, descriptive, or suggestive it might be perceived as a “come on” and be accepted [Eph 5:3-4]. Even certain slang words can lead to trouble. Therefore, be an example in your words, conversation and purity [1 Tim 4:12]. Would everyone else approve of what you say if they were to know everything you say?
Don’t get personal – Make it clear from the beginning that any reference to anything intimate is to be reserved for her husband [as in Song of Solomon] or a professional counselor, and that it has no place in your conversation. Also, when ministering to anyone, particularly a woman, limit references to your personal experiences; you might say something that will lead her to have improper thoughts about you. Or she might repeat to others what you said to her [Prov 20:19, 18:8].
Be Objective – When you start feeling sorry for a woman to whom you are ministering, you have the tendency to go too easy on her. She might need stern correction. You have to be careful not to become so close that you lose your ability to be direct and give the proper counsel. It’s good to be gentle but not too tender hearted [Heb 12:11].
Carefully consider your wisdom – There are two kinds of wisdom in James 3:13-18. They are both wisdom and so they are both considered wise counsel when they are given. And they both work, for a while, anyway. However, the fruit of the one is evil because its source is wicked, and the fruit of the other is righteous because its source is holy. The wrong kind of wisdom is earthly, sensual and devilish; a lot of psychology, much of what is on the bookshelves in “Christian” bookstores, and public confession of sin in accountability groups are examples of this kind of wisdom. Eventually the people who follow this wisdom manifest envy, strife, confusion and evil work. The wisdom of God, on the other hand, is pure, peaceable, gentle, easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. Notice that the right kind of wisdom doesn’t lead to impure thoughts, motives and actions, is full of good fruits, is impartial so that what you tell one you could tell to anyone and it is without hypocrisy so that what you say matches the way you live. Don’t counsel with the wrong kind of wisdom; it leads to sin.
And if you are a married minister then add these things to your things to do:
Maintain open and honest communications with you wife – If communication breaks down at home and communication with a woman to whom you are ministering is more open and honest, you could eventually, albeit inadvertently, destroy communication at home completely. So, remain very honest with your wife and make sure that she is being honest with you. And don’t confide in another woman. It is very common for “personal” communication between a man and a woman to lead to trouble.
Keep yourself accountable to your wife – You are not on a leash, but you should keep your wife informed always of your whereabouts and dealings. She should be able to use your phone, computer, notebook, or whatever other communication device you use and not be surprised by anything that she sees or finds.
Keep the intimacy – make sure as the years go by in your marriage that the flame doesn’t go out. It is easy with the addition of children and responsibilities in the ministry to turn your attention away from each other. Don’t let your familiarity with your wife’s physical features cool your passion for her [Prov 5:18-19]. Like a very wise 91-year old woman recently said, “What you got is better than what you can get!” Another wise person said, “If you are not happy with what you have, you won’t be happy with what you want.”
Don’t give any of the affection that belongs to your wife to another woman – if for any reason you have room for more affection than you are giving at home, then by all means do not give that bit of affection to another woman. Your desire to be with her instead of your wife will only grow. Don’t derive pleasure from the presence of or communication with another woman that should only be derived from being in the presence of your wife.