This morning I made my usual ‘to do’ list.
- Make a list. (I immediately feel productive when I cross this off.)
- Drink the coffee.
- Start the crockpot for tonight’s dinner.
- Have a private conversation with someone else’s husband that will eventually crumble my church, end two marriages, and send our children spiraling out of control.
- Do laundry–Wait…WHAT?
I lead DivorceCare and nearly everyone in there tells of an unfaithful spouse who has said to them, “I never meant for this to happen. It just…happened.”
The problem is that this just happens more and more and even so in the ministry. I had a front row seat to watch this play out in my own marriage. Now, as a single woman in a couples’ world, I purposefully build hedges of protection around my ministry—not because I think I am all that and a bag of Funyuns — but because in the right (or wrong) situation anyone, and I mean absolutely anyone, can just happen into sin.
Here are three of my hedges:
- Social Media. I don’t “friend” married men. If I get a request, I politely message them along with their wives and explain my personal conviction. Only once has a man had something snarky to say about my boundary — and that told me we didn’t need to be friends in the first place. I still have more than enough “friends.”
- Email. If I email or text my pastor/boss for any reason, I copy his wife or his assistant. I respect his marriage and ministry too much to allow any shadow to fall because of me.
- Face-to-face. I’m glad my church’s policy is that staff members are not to ride in a car, make visits or go to lunch with the opposite sex unless we have a third person chaperon. Even if I’m old enough to be their mama, I invite someone else to join us.
Billy Graham wouldn’t ride an elevator alone with a woman who was not his wife. Today people, even people in ministry, think this is impractical or foolish. But Billy Graham’s integrity has never been questioned. The ruin of a minister and a church “just happens,” beginning with one small, thoughtless choice.
It has never been more worth a little inconvenience or for me to feel a little foolish to protect what God has called me to do.
Consider where God is calling you to intentionally protect yourself.
“A man with integrity walks safely, but those who follow crooked paths will slip and fall.” Proverbs 10:9 NLT