How to Respond to Public Displays of Affection
- Thursday, June 14, 2012
Our world has become so negatively driven toward relationships and void of showing appreciation, care or love to one another that I actually appreciate seeing public displays of affection (once in a while and within reason). Just the other day, I saw an elderly couple walking down the street cuddling, hand in hand, and it made me smile. Call me a romantic.
Depending upon how well you know the couples who are engaging in this activity, you may want to try a subtle approach if you really feel led to confront them. “I can see the honeymoon’s not over,” accompanied with a smile, may be enough for them to realize others are noticing them, but I don’t see a need for a major altercation about it.
Even though most singles, including myself, desire a relationship with their soul mate someday and seeing such an exhibition may exacerbate those feelings, I would give them a pass even if it causes me a little discomfort because I don’t know if their actions may actually be encouraging or convicting other couples who do not have that sort of relationship.
The front row or a seat in the balcony for a couple of weeks may help to give you a different perspective.
SHE SAID: Well, I commend your pastor for encouraging you to look within first and to examine what is going on inside of you (heart, mind) and being careful not to gossip, etc. And I believe that his advice to sit toward the front of the church is also a good suggestion.
But I also don’t see anything wrong with calmly talking with this young couple—especially if you are still feeling uncomfortable with their public displays of affection and you still desire to be a member of the Bible study that meets in a home (which means, because of a smaller space, they will always be in your line of vision). If they are sensitive to other believers’ needs/struggles in your group, I would think they would be open to hearing from you and to know of your concerns with what you are seeing in their behavior that is making you not at ease.
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God—even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved (1 Cor. 10:31-33).
In this passage, Paul is talking about considering others and what could either cause them to stumble (i.e. make bad life choices) or be troublesome to their conscience. In your case, you are conflicted in what you are seeing. So that is a problem.
Let’s look at this from a different perspective. If you were a new believer and had just joined the home Bible study group or your church and you would occasionally use foul language from time to time in your conversation, it would probably offend other believers in your midst. Because of your spiritual immaturity, perhaps you would not be aware of how your words would be causing someone else to struggle whenever he or she was around you or how these words might sting in their ears. Would you want to know of this so that you could make changes or alter your actions (speech, in this case)? I’m sure that you would and that you would strive for unity (as a believer) and want to do that which brings the body together rather than causing disruption or disunity.
So, should you decide to have a side conversation with this young couple, I suggest that you do it in private—as in not at your Bible study group time and not in your church’s sanctuary or meeting room. Select a separate meeting place (perhaps a coffee shop or restaurant). Share with them exactly what you have shared in your question—that you don’t struggle with lust nor are you covetous, but that you feel that this couple (in their healthy marital excitement for one another ... and that’s great that they are happy to be together!) might need to tone down their PDA just a bit and be more aware of how they are interacting with one another in public. You can also be a source of edification for them (1 Thess. 5:11) as you affirm their marriage and also thank them for their strong commitment to one another, even in the infancy of their union. And speaking of infancy, because of their ages, they truly may just not know or realize how they are coming across to others when it comes to PDA. So a kind, informative word could be very helpful to them as they mature as a couple.
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