Is Flirting a Sin?
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According to dictionary.com, “flirting” is “making playfully romantic or sexual overtures.”
Considering what the Bible says about lust and this definition, is God OK with flirting?
You be the judge. I am simply opening the discussion on a topic of intimate behavior that is often avoided in religious circles.
Don’t mistake me for a legalistic prude. I just think it’s wise sometimes to examine how we interact with each other to make sure we are living godly lives that are pleasing to God and uplifting to others.
What Does the Bible Say about Flirting?
Not much. Flirting is mentioned in the Bible only a few times. But there is enough reference to “sexual overtures” to assume that this potential violation of the purity of our hearts and actions is on God's righteousness radar.
Even if you don’t think flirting is a sin, which I’m not saying it is, you’ve got to acknowledge the danger connected with it. A good example is found in Proverbs 8 when the word “flirting” is used to illustrate a dangerous risk.
But if you wrong me, you damage your very soul; when you reject me, you’re flirting with death. (, The Message)
This verse has absolutely nothing to do with the sexual flirtations. However, the use of the word in this phrase and others, such as “flirting with disaster,” shows the danger associated with its meaning.
In most instances when “flirting” is used in the Bible, it is related to sin.
You're cheating on God. If all you want is your own way, flirting with the world every chance you get, you end up enemies of God and his way. And do you suppose God doesn't care? (, The Message)
One instance in the Bible where flirting is directly addressed is in Isaiah 3.
Moreover, the Lord said, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty and walk with outstretched necks and with undisciplined (flirtatious and alluring) eyes, tripping along with mincing and affected gait, and making a tinkling noise with [the anklets on] their feet, Therefore the Lord will smite with a scab the crown of the heads of the daughters of Zion [making them bald], and the Lord will cause them to be [taken as captives and to suffer the indignity of being] stripped naked. (, Amplified Bible)
The women describe in this prophecy from Isaiah used their beauty to manipulate and entice the attention of men. Their flirtations displeased God, and they paid the price.
Draw the Line in the Sand
I’m not saying that “harmless” flirting isn’t OK with God. All I will argue is to examine your heart and actions to see if you think what you’re doing right in His eyes. It’s one thing for a single woman to flirt a bit with a single guy to let him know that she’s interested. But, there is a line. Figure out where that line is for you.
Avoid flirting if you fall in any of the following categories:
- Tempted. If you know you have a real problem with keeping your thoughts pure and resisting the temptation to lust, then avoid flirting. Don’t set yourself up.
- Spoken for. You should definitely not be flirting with anyone if you are in a permanent relationship with someone. Marrieds are strictly off limits, period. (See Genesis 39 – story of Joseph and Potiphar’s wife)
- Power-seekers. These are the ones who flirt more often than not. They crave the attention and power they feel when they flirt. There is no honor or respect for the flirtees when they are put in this type of situation.
Approach flirting with caution, especially since the basic meaning of “flirt” is “playful behavior intended to arouse sexual interest.” I’m not saying avoid it altogether though. This is no clear cut, biblical answer to the question – is flirting a sin? But, God has given us the Holy Spirit to be our counselor. Let your conscience and His Word be your guide in life – even in how you interact with the opposite sex.
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