When I was a teenager, this was one of the most common questions I heard among Christian teens. We all struggled to answer how far we could go sexually without falling into sin. For non-Christians, the question is easy to answer — go as far as you want. But it’s still a tough question for Christians to answer.
Most Christians answer the question in one of two ways. They either answer it with the law (such as you can’t date, hold hands, or kiss until you’re married) or they answer it with a combination of emotion and law (like go as far as you feel like — just don’t go all the way). But neither of these options seems to be very effective.
While laws definitely have their place, and emotions do too, they are not the way to handle this question. So what is the right way to handle this question? Never ask it!
You read that right! I know you may be thinking that this question is a good one. After all, isn’t it supposed to set boundaries? Not really. Here’s why:
Once you ask this question, it reveals something about your character and about the reason you’re in a relationship in the first place. It shows that you’re in the relationship to get what you can out of it. And I think this is at the root of why many Christians, especially Christian men, fail at relationships.
When you start a relationship with selfish thoughts, it sets a course for failure. And this question definitely reveals selfish thoughts.
Satisfying your own flesh will result in broken relationships. And when men ask the question “how far is too far?” in a dating or courting relationship, they are focused more on satisfying their flesh than on honoring God.
In his book Sacred Marriage, Gary Thomas shows that marriage is not about getting what you can from your spouse, but about encouraging holiness in both spouses. And, as the head-of-the-household-in-training, single men should lead the charge in holiness before they get married. That means “how far is too far?” is a question that should never even be asked.
Instead, ask the question, “What action should I take to encourage righteousness in the other person and our relationship?” or “What action should I take to encourage our relationship with God?” More than likely, you will find that the answer to these questions will take care of the “how far is too far?” question altogether.
Steve Kroening writes for Success magazine and also publishes Wisdom’s Edge. You can get Biblical tips on health, finance, relationships, parenting, and success, delivered to your email inbox every week. Simply visit http://www.wisdomsedge.com and sign up for this free e-zine.