I feel compelled to write a word on this topic because of a Facebook post I saw the other day. A brother lamented a situation in the congregation where he is serving about an accusation by a lady toward another person (male) about inappropriate contact (I noticed he did not identify her as a sister in the Lord). The accusation was loud, and visitors saw this. You can imagine the response.
What is inappropriate contact? Many folks are not sure what it is in today’s “accusatory environment.” Accusations fly, and whether accurate or not, some lives are destroyed or adversely affected.
I can safely and biblically say that any contact that is contrary to biblical principles would be inappropriate contact, and who would disagree? No one that I l know of; still, what constitutes inappropriate contact? At the very least, it means there is no touching a person in any way that can be misconstrued or interpreted as a sexual advance. Unfortunately, some want attention, or some want to misinterpret innocent touching with sexual advancement.
Is hugging a child, a person of the opposite sex, or person of the same gender inappropriate? No. In today’s environment, however, it can be easily seen as improper, and in many cases it’s because what is appropriate is not known/understood. This gets us to trying to understand a proper measuring standard by which to judge.
There are so many that are truly guilty of inappropriate actions, misplaced words, and activities that are contrary to the Lord’s way, the proper standard by which to judge. Those who are guilty make it bad for everyone else. The failings of man, in this context, the male, has been around since the time of the Garden, but as the male is guilty, the female is not innocent. The actions of some have made genuine warmth scarce. So many who are truly guilty have “spoiled” the whole bunch.
No Christian should be involved with inappropriate touching, speaking, actions, even thinking! If one is, then the one who is guilty needs to be addressed at the lowest level (Matthew 18:15-17), so understanding and correction can be attained. When one makes it public, when no attention or effort is given to the matter in private, the one going public wants attention. No longer is it a matter of right-conduct or correction, but it then becomes “I want attention and I want you to look and hear me.”
Precisely identifying inappropriate contact in all regards is impossible; there is some contact that is easily and properly interpreted as improper, but there is some contact that is not easily seen to be or interpreted as improper. Here is the “rule of thumb” to think and live by: “My son, do not forget my law, But let your heart keep my commands…And so find favor and high esteem In the sight of God and man. Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and depart from evil” (Proverbs 3:1, 4-7, NKJV). RT