Christianity -- Christian Living/My roommate is too physical around me with her boyfriend.
Hello, I want to begin by thanking you for your time and how you are helping others. I am 21, in college, and have been a Christian for 2 years.
My flatmate is a few years younger than I and has been in a committed relationship with a Christian man for a little over a year. About a month ago they exchanged promise rings and are both certain that it is God's will to be married. They are waiting for their education to be completed and for him to be able to provide financially. They are abstaining from sex, but I don't know about the "nit picky" boundary areas. It really isn't my place to know and I'm okay with that.
I am a little sensitive to PDA and I am pretty sure she knew this (am very sure now because we talked about it in depth recently). I am okay with holding hands and maybe a touch on the arm or something of that (in my mind, benign) nature, but once it gets sexual, I get very uncomfortable because frankly, I believe it is wrong.
The other night, he came up and hugged her from behind grabbing her lower stomach. Being that "sexual" touching is a common thing with them and without even thinking, I blurted "That is NOT how a man should touch a woman he isn't married to." I really should not have said that, but it was something I didn't even think about. I apologized later on about what I said and how it was said, but not about how I feel. It didn't help that we were at church and had just had an in-depth, incredibly real and informal teaching about sex and marriage.
I really don't know what I should do in this situation. After I said what I said, he got angry and mumbled that it was my opinion and walked off frustrated.
I am certain after talking last night with her that she understands I don't intend to control what they decide to do while dating, but would just prefer to not see things. She just keeps trying to explain that because of their spiritual growth together (which I don't entirely understand anyway, but different story) they have heightened sexual appeal/desire towards one another which they can't do much about.
Can you explain this or maybe help me understand how I should go about talking to them? Have I done all I can do for now? I realize I should not have blurted out what I said, but what's done is done.
Maybe even a suggestion about how they might be able to deal with this desire issue would be helpful. I have suggested to her that she see an older(or perhaps young), married woman, but she hasn't had time to talk to one as of yet. She expressed to me that sometimes she feels alone in the struggles, but I don't know how to help her because all of us are single.
Thank you. Sorry for the length!
Thanks for your questions. Let me address the one about how you should go about talking to them. Remembering that our Master Jesus' greatest command for us is to love, I'll frame my answer in terms of love. Love calls us to do whatever is best for the other, so when deciding how to handle the situation, consider what is best for your flatmate and her boyfriend. Your discomfort is an important issue, and if they are followers of Christ, they will want to know about it and respect it. How you communicate it to them is the main issue, then.
I suggest that you keep your comments and responses about yourself. For example, instead of addressing it as a matter of whether they ought to be doing it, address it as a matter of your own conscience or comfort. In 1 Corinthians 8 and in Romans 14, Paul makes it clear to us that offending the conscience of a brother or sister in Christ is unloving and unworthy of Jesus. He also makes it clear that we're not to judge our brother or sister in regards to the "disputable matters" (such as whether he should embrace her a certain way or not) about which we disagree. This means two things for you: 1) you should not approach them with a sense of "you should or shouldn't" as if to enforce your view of propriety on them (unless it is clearly spelled out in the Scriptures); 2) you should lovingly, gently, and humbly make it known to them that you are uncomfortable with their behavior and that your conscience is being offended (if they understand what that means in terms of 1 Corinthians 8 and Romans 14). While they may not get it right away, if you will simply remind them in humble love when it's a problem, trust that they'll show you the love and respect as a brother and sister in Christ to honor your concern.
To summarize, don't try to convince them to think like you do about it, but do ask them kindly to respect your stance and not do such things in front of you. This is the effective wisdom of these two passages of Scripture. Of course, the great danger anyone faces in your situation is to try and manipulate or control the other's behavior, but I encourage you to resist that temptation. Do not demand or manipulate; simply ask in love that they love you by honoring your conscience in this matter.
Finally, as to the question about how to help her in her heightened desire, let me frame my response in terms of love once again. Your role in this woman's life is more than just flatmate - you are also a partner with her in following Jesus. She needs you to love her. This means that you can help her at the very simplest level by lovingly and sympathetically reminding her of Jesus' call to be pure, noble, excellent, honorable, etc. If nothing else, you can simply be there to understand that she's struggling and cheer her on in her obedience to Jesus (especially because it's hard to obey right now). She'll need a cheerleader in these times, and you can be that for her if you're willing. Ask her for permission to be her accountability. See if she'll permit you to ask her questions and expect honest answers about her sexuality with this man. By keeping the issue in the light of awareness, temptation will become weakened. It won't die, unfortunately, but it will be weakened. Obviously, neither of you should obsess about this issue so that it's all you talk about together, but by having in the open and fair game for discussion, the subtle power of secret sin will be broken. Sin loves to hide in shadows; you can help her dispel the shadows!
One last suggestion: help her focus on the positive and beautiful elements of her obedience to Jesus rather than the difficult sacrifice and loss of staying pure. She is facing a difficult temptation, but in every temptation there is the opportunity to show our Master Jesus our sincere and profound love. Our obedience to His Word and wisdom is worship. It tenderly speaks to our affection for our Savior when we say "Yes" to Him and "No" to our lusts. What she and her boyfriend want is good and right, but not yet. Just remind her of that. The desire is good, but the timing isn't. "Not yet" are two very powerful words. They remind us that God intends us to enjoy all good things, but He intends us to do so in the very best way and at the very best time. You can be a great help and encouragement to her in this way.
Hope these thoughts are helpful. Please feel free to follow-up with any further questions or comments.