Vice President Mike Pence has the following personal rule to prevent temptation for immorality and bad influence: He will not eat alone with a woman other than his wife. Last week, when The Washington Post brought up a 2002 interview in which Pence mentioned that he never dined alone with a woman other than his wife, a fury of criticism rained down on the Vice President. Allegedly, Pence is denigrating women and those in the LGBT community.
I go in the opposite direction and applaud Pence for keeping this rule, which I also keep for myself. It is wise for married men and women not to dine alone with members of the opposite sex, for the following reasons:
If I never eat alone with a woman other than my wife, I will avoid an area where temptations to commit adultery are likely to arise. To refuse to eat alone with a woman is not to harshly and cruelly refuse legitimate, friendly conversation with her, but rather to avoid the temptation to flirtation, which often leads to temptation. The book of Proverbs repeatedly warns against the enticing words that lead to adultery (2:16; 5; 7:5; 22:14). If flirtatious conversations never can get started, then adultery almost certainly never will occur. Mike Pence’s rule is very helpful in fulfilling the command to flee fornication (1 Corinthians 6:18; cf. 6:9-11; Ephesians 5:3; Colossians 3:5-7). If I follow the Mike Pence rule, then I can pray sincerely (in this area of life, at least), “Lead me not into temptation, but deliver me from evil” (see Matthew 6:13).
If I never eat alone with a woman other than my wife, I will be much less likely to ruin my influence. The mission of every Christian is to be an example for the believers (1 Timothy 4:12), and this is possible only if I can say, “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). My evangelistic efforts must never be compromised by my poor conduct (see Matthew 5:16; 28:19-20).
If I implement safeguards against immorality, I am not denigrating women or those in the LGBT community. Rather, such safeguards affirm God’s perfect plan for both women and men, who are created in God’s image and flourish when they live according to His plan, including HIs plan for marriage (Genesis 1:26-27; 2:24; Matthew 5:32; 19:9). Such safeguards also affirm the God-given nature of gender and the created, biological reality of gender differentiation, however much this may offend some (see Acts 5:29).
It is appalling and tragic to see someone be ridiculed, whether it be Mike Pence or anyone else, for taking a stand on the side of practical, biblical morality. May we always encourage Christian behavior.