I am a single young woman, and I like to go social dancing for fun. The group of people I dance with and I are all very close and extremely comfortable with each other, which can add to the fun.
Well, when I came home after a particularly fun night of dancing, I thought to myself, I'm kind of glad I'm single. I can flirt with these dancing men all I want. Then I caught myself. Whoa! Where did that come from? It certainly didn't come from God.
I started thinking about what I actually do with these guys beyond dancing. I was embarrassed to admit to myself that I sometimes give them inappropriately long hugs, sit on their laps, and say very, very flirtatious things to them. I even found myself having impure thoughts about one of them. This hasn't been an issue with me until the last couple weeks (and I've been dancing for about five years).
I think what has happened is that I still don't like being single, and I've gotten so impatient that I like it when these guys give me long hugs and let me sit on their laps because it gives me that physical touch that we humans seem to desire so much. But not only is this a sin on my part, it is unfair and misleading to these men.
What do I need to do to in order to stop this? I've already asked for God's forgiveness for these sins and my impatience, but what can I do to keep things appropriate? Should I take a break from dancing? Set some boundaries for myself and have a friend keep me accountable when I dance?
Thanks for writing. Your question is a great one for this column because it illustrates how easily we can talk ourselves into justifying sin and settling for counterfeits. I suspect it wasn't entirely easy to compose your email and that things may have become even clearer for you as you typed. I hope that was the case.
And I agree with your assessment: What you've been doing with these men is sin. The best and biblical way to avoid sin is to run away from it. In your case, that means — as you've already suggested — taking a break from dancing. But I'd suggest more than a time-out sort of break. Make the break permanent.
Why? Because unless you're dancing in a ballroom or a barn, it's really nearly impossible to do it and not feel and act sensual, seductive, and as you know, sinful. I'm not saying dancing is sin, per se. But certain kinds of dancing just make sin so tempting, and easy. The music, the movement, the dark lights, and before you know it, you're acting married, or nearly so — doing things that married couples do in private — with a man who isn't your husband. (And from my experiences with college dances, when the lights go up and you're back in real life, you realize how little you'd want to be married to that man you were so hot and heavy with on the dance floor!)
As you think about what changes you might make, remember, this isn't just about the don'ts list. It's about the do's. It's about what your body is for. First Corinthians 6:19-20 — the verses that follow right on the heels of those about fleeing sexual temptation (linked above) — talk about why that's so important,
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.
This is an important reminder that it's not just the dancing at clubs we must be wary of, it's any activity that tempts us to use our bodies in ways that are dishonoring to God. That covers such a range that it's far more helpful to talk about the goal: "Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God."
Far better to spend your social time in activities that enable you to affirm the men in your life as brothers in Christ and to get to know them in settings that spotlight their character. Not only will you be avoiding tempting situations, you'll also be a lot more likely to meet a husband. One of the biggest downsides to the dancing scene (apart from what you've already spotlighted) is the likelihood that you're actually delaying getting married by spending your time there. As I wrote in a Q&A a few years ago,
Bars and other potentially seedy places carry too high a risk that the men you meet won't be interested in — or even capable of — anything long-term. Even more unlikely would be meeting a Christian man in search of a godly wife.
Think of it like deciding to set up a tropical fish tank. You might find the fish to fill it by going to the ocean. But that would take a lot of money and a long time. Best to visit a tropical fish store where you know you'll reach your goal effectively and efficiently. For relationships, it's best to go where you're more likely to meet someone with whom you can be equally yoked.
The fact that you've spent five years dancing with your single friends, and meeting more single men in the process, and still find yourself single, is ample evidence that this setting isn't conducive to producing marriages. Let alone godly, fruitful ones that are the foundation for world-influencing families! There are so many better ways to spend your time, and still be social and have fun, while also moving closer to your goal of marriage.
I wish you the courage and conviction to do the right thing.
Copyright 2010 Candice Watters. All rights reserved.