Snow is falling here in Wolcott, CT and I am taking a few minutes to recoup and recap while my two nephews take a nap. I love babysitting, well let me be more specific, I love babysitting my nephews. One of the many things I love about babysitting them is that they are awesome examples and object lessons about life in general.
Today Amie and Jesse are off to a wedding, so being the wonderful aunt that I am, Aunt Abbie came to the babysitting rescue. Lunch went smoothly but for one exception, the bread that Amie was baking wouldn’t be done until 12:30. So we finished up our official meal and waited patiently for the fresh bread to be done. In the mean time Micah (who is 2) got down from his chair and was playing with Dharma. As soon as the buzzer sounded the piping hot bread was pulled from its pan and cut into. Unable to resist the smell and promise of fresh hot bread both boy and dog were not far from the action. Warm bread in hand the happy two year old was back to running around the house as two year olds do.
There was one major difference though. Before the bread entered the picture boy and dog played happily together taking turns chasing each other around the house. That was still the case, but now something was different. Micah had bread, Dharma did not. Realizing the incredible power he now possessed over Dharma, Micah proceeded to tantalize her for the next half hour with this bread. He would hold out the bread to her while saying, “No Dharmie”. Or run across the room squealing with delight as Dharma almost takes him down. A few times she would become discouraged and finally leave him alone, only to hear Micah call her to him to be tempted again.
While few would call Dharma a smart dog, she knows that taking food out of Micah’s hand gets her in trouble. So she was in a major pickle. This little person whom she is basically eye to eye with is offering her something she wants with his actions while telling her no with his words. What’s a cocker spaniel to do?
What are we to do?
You may be thinking at this point, “Ok where is she going with this?” And that would be a fair question, well where I’m going is a question of being fair. Do we play the same games as Micah? Ok sure we’re older and most of us don’t taunt little dogs with food, but do we apply the same principles to our interactions with other people? The term flirting brings with it different connotations for different people. Because of this, lets define flirting. The dictionary says that flirting is “to court triflingly or act amorously without serious intentions; play at love”. The last phrase really caught my attention, “to play at love”. It brings with it the thought of a little girl playing house. She doesn’t have the maturity, education, or resorces to really be a mom, however she like to dress up in her mom’s old clothes, babying her dolls and stuffed animals, and cooking plastic food on a fake stove. To play at something shows that you are not ready to do it for real.
That definition of flirting brings to mind another definition I heard recently. Defraud, by definition is “to make a promise or offer that you either do not intend to or cannot keep for ones own gain.” So lets make the connection, is it true that by “playing at love” (or flirting) we are making promises or offers that we don’t intend or cannot keep with our own gain as the motive? Sadly, most of the time I believe the answer is yes. Micah had absolutely no intention of giving Dharma his fresh warm bread, he did however exceedingly enjoy the attention she gave him when he teased her with it. Are there people with whom you are flirting, making promises with your actions, that you have no intention of following through on? If so, STOP IT!
The Bible tells us to treat each other as brothers and sisters in the Lord. Defrauding them by playing at love does not qualify. Now this may mean having an awkward conversation simply stating your true feelings. If this is the case, it is regrettable, but better in the end to be fair and honest. A good question to ask yourself when interacting with others is this, “Is this action meeting my needs or desires at the expense of someone else?” or rather “Am I choosing to esteem this other person and their feelings more highly than my own?”
They say, “All is fair in love and war.” But I disagree, there is no such thing as fair flirting.