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A Message for You
In a world filled with members of the opposite sex, your chances of coming into contact with them are pretty high. Men will be your fathers, brothers, coworkers, friends, and husbands. Women will be your mothers, sisters, coworkers, friends, and wives. This book is written to help you recognize and avoid potentially dangerous opposite-sex relationships.
Our only dependable basis for this discernment comes not from the culture, not from family traditions, and not from personal choices. Culture has a way of shifting its mores from era to era, swept along by the critical mass of current opinion. Family traditions have a way of perpetuating improper behavior, duplicating the sins of previous generations along with genetic material. Personal choices have a way of leading to unintended consequences, with feelings and desires ascendant and caution thrown to the wind.
In the midst of uncertainty like this, we have only one standard to go by — the one articulated by the creator of man and woman, by the author of male and female, by the originator of the very concept of sex, God himself. This book will use God's Word as the standard to accomplish several objectives. One is to help you recognize which sexual relationships are God-sanctioned and which are God-prohibited. Another goal is to give you the tools you need to recognize which relationships have a tendency toward sexualization and how to respond in case they do. This book will also help you recognize those individuals who may tend to sexualize relationships. You'll learn what to do if you encounter such a person. You'll also learn what to do if you are one.
The subject of our sexuality can be a controversial one. At times, the pages that follow will contain graphic descriptions vividly depicting the dilemmas posed by sexualized relationships. The reason for such explicitness is to ensure that sin be seen as sin and that it be stripped of any veil of secrecy or acceptability. Care has been used to be respectful of those who have been victims of inappropriately sexualized relationships; at the same time, this book will boldly confront those who sexualize relationships when they should not. This book arises from a knowledge of the severity of the problem and a sincere desire to provide hope and healing for all who read its pages.
Chapters 11 through 15 will deal specifically with situations that arise out of relationships between counselors or pastors and those they help. Spiritual and emotional advisors are particularly vulnerable to inappropriately sexualized relationships. During the past ten years, the front pages of newspapers and the lead stories on the evening news have heralded the infidelities of pastors and counselors for all to see.
If you are a counselor or pastor and have been in your profession for very long, you probably know at least one, perhaps more, of your colleagues who have engaged in inappropriate behavior with someone they were working with. You may even have succumbed to the temptation yourself.
"Strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees," the Scriptures admonish us. "Make level paths for your feet, so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed" (Hebrews 12:12-13). Our weakness can further cripple those who look to us for strength. We need to enhance our skills and hone our wisdom through studies like this one. If our failure causes someone else to fall, they are apt to take us down with them.
People and situations described in this book have been altered to protect privacy and identity. The stories are provided to illustrate our points, not to furnish specific details or clinical case studies.
"Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation," our Lord warned his men (Mark 14:38).
This book can help you to watch. It can increase your discernment, enhancing your relational eyesight so that you can see ahead of time the sexual risks that loom in your path.
By reading this book you are acknowledging the presence of One greater than yourself, who sees your relationships and desires for them to be pure and helpful to all concerned.
By reading this book you are acknowledging the reality that temptations will come and, if you're not careful, cause you to fall.
A Message for You
Recognize the Kindling of Current Culture
WeLive Today in a Tinderbox
Avoid Cultural Confusion
Relyon the Rock, Not on Shifting Sand
Recognize the Power of Partnering
AMeeting of the Minds Can Lead to Trouble
Avoid Adding Fuel to the Fire
ClearBoundaries in Close Relationships
Recognize the Power of Position
UnbalancedRelationships Can Make Us Fall
Avoid Abdicating Control
KeepPersonal Boundaries Intact
Recognize the Power of Family Ties
LoveWithin the Family Can Be Devastating
Avoid Keeping the Secrets
BringYour Family into Light
Recognize the Power of Companionship
FriendshipsCan Lead to Inappropriate Intimacy
Avoid the Transfer of Intimacy
Recognize a Counseling Conflict
CompassionCan Lead to Passion
Avoid the Smoldering Couch
ShareThoughts, Not Intimacy
Recognize the Power of the Pulpit
SpiritualHeights Can Lead to Physical Falls
Avoid a Church Burning
UseSpiritual Flame Retardant
Embracing Life andRelationships Wisely