05 March 2010

Question of the Week: "Is It Wrong?"

by Anne Lang Bundy

"Character is doing the right thing when nobody's looking."
~ J.C. Watts

Q: "Is it wrong for a male and female to live together as roommates if there are no romantic intentions?"
From Kim Botdorf, South Carolina

The answer applies to anything we might call "wrong" as violation of God's law or commandment.

Let's first establish if we're bound by the letter of the law, or if we have the freedom to live by the spirit of the law.

The Bible gives God's Ten Commandments for humanity. If closely examined, people quickly discover inability to live by the those ten basic laws: we appropriate what belongs to others (stealing); we deceive (however overtly or covertly); we covet.

We don't begin to satisfy commandment number one: "I am the LORD your God ... you shall have no other gods before Me." Our first god is Self. How many times is what we want placed ahead of what God wants?

For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. (James 2:10 NKJV)

We are hopeless lawbreakers. Inherently self-centered, we are unable to give God His rightful place in our lives. Snubbing God on earth is a decision to forego living with Him in Heaven. Though we want to see ourselves as mostly "good," even a little bit of "bad" poisons our souls.

God imposed a spiritual death penalty for sinful people who break His commandments and don't put Him first. Such people don't live in His kingdom.

Under the law, whether the question is about roommates or anything else, the liberalist finds a way to judge it okay, the legalist finds a way to condemn. But a person is a lawbreaker subject to an eternal death penalty anyway, so the question has little more significance than an embezzler of millions worrying about pilfering paper clips.

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:1-2 NKJV)

God loves us and makes available a payment of the death penalty, a covering for our sin, and a cleansing which makes us fit for God's presence. That is all accomplished by the blood which Jesus shed when He died on the cross.

Those who admit to God they're sinners, then ask Him to forgive their sin and cleanse them from it through Jesus are now "in Christ." Among other things, we now have His Holy Spirit to guide how we live. We are set free from the letter of the law to live by the spirit of the law.

"All things are lawful for me," but not all things are helpful. "All things are lawful for me," but I will not be enslaved by anything. (1 Corinthians 6:12 ESV)

For those in Christ, who are to live by the spirit of the law, the roommates question is not a matter of right or wrong, but does it honor God? Is it beneficial to all involved? Does the situation enslave anyone? (An example of the latter would be to live in continual battle against emotions and hormones which have a tendency to get the better of the best intentions.)

Finally, has God provided a reason to do in faith what might be questioned? (An example for roommates would be as caretaker for someone.)

If we ask questions to either justify or condemn a situation, there are no satisfactory answers.

If we ask questions with a pure desire to live rightly in Christ—without personal motive—God's Spirit can guide us to do what honors Him and is most beneficial to all involved.

© 2010 Anne Lang Bundy


  1. Great answer Anne. God knows the heart of man and finds sin even in the most righteous. Even a coupled joined in holy matrimony, trying to live Godly lives needs the blood of Christ to cover them.

  2. well....once in Hong Kong, another missionary(female) came to me and asked if she could spend one night in the male missionary housing. at the time everyone else was out on a trip except me. the problem was the leaders had the apartment above and had to come thru our apartment to use the staircase to get to theirs. had that not been the case...i would have slept on the couch. she was just a kid(to me) and i wasn't about to have her sleep on the street. told her okay but there wasn't gonna be any undressing by either of us! had the leaders found out, i would have gotten the fellowship boot immediately.

    then last year, one of my 1st cousin's son decided to make a trip west for some skiing. we didn't find out until they were practically next door that it was actually his son and girlfriend and they also had two large dogs with'm. put a stop to it immediately! didn't strand them completely though. i found an apartment for them that accepted their two dogs too while they were yet two hours away.. i figured it was quite irresponsible on their part to NOT tell us of their situation and also to just bring dogs along too without any warning.

  3. Wonderful answer sweet sis.

  4. That is a great answer...loved your alliteration with liberalism and legalism; it will stay with me for a long time, dearest Anne.

    We are free, as you say, but not all is God-honoring. Not all is beneficial. The best course is to pray, pray, pray, knowing our gracious God will offer guidance.

    God bless you richly!

  5. My favorite part of this is in the question asking. I agree with that 100% and find that so often that is the key indicator for where my heart is on certain topics.
    ~ Wendy

  6. As a man, I just dont need the temptation. However, I wouldnt necessarily judge this as wrong for another. I would question the wisdom of such a move.

  7. Agree ~ "If we ask questions with a pure desire to live rightly in Christ—without personal motive—God's Spirit can guide us to do what honors Him and is most beneficial to all involved."

  8. There is a lot of application to this answer. Thanks Anne.