By Hope Bolinger, Crosswalk.com
Editor’s Note: Crosswalk's Singles Advice is an advice column for singles featuring an anonymous question from a Crosswalk.com reader with a thoughtful, biblical reply from one of our single contributors.
My boyfriend recently told me that his ex-girlfriend added him on Snapchat the other night. It threw me for a loop and I’m not sure what to say. I closed off pretty quickly because I wasn’t sure.
My boyfriend said that he thinks she’s just being mature and it would be nice if he could be friendly with their old mutual friends but I don’t like it. He said if I told him to delete her he would but I feel like that should be a him decision.
It sounds like their relationship was very toxic and I don’t know why he would reintroduce that into his life. Please help. I don’t want to turn to Cosmo or vogue advice. I need sound Christian guidance.
Hi, there! This sounds like a really tough problem has entered your relationship. Of course, before Snapchat, couples definitely struggled with drawing boundaries with exes whether they had dated them previously, or married them and later divorced.
Compound this with social media and the ability to easily access anyone and everyone, and that makes the situation far more convoluted.
What makes this even more tricky is the Bible obviously doesn’t have much to say about Snapchat and whether we can add/talk to our exes. So I will do my best to answer below what guidelines I believe the Bible has set in place for Christians and exes, based on what you have provided me.
In addition to this, I highly recommend consulting someone in leadership at your local church. As I don’t know all the details of your relationship nor the relationship your boyfriend had prior, I cannot properly diagnose every aspect of this situation.
With that in mind, let’s dive in.
Forgiveness versus Friendship
An ex is someone who has hurt you in some way, no matter how intentional or not. From what you described, it seemed that she had caused some sort of toxicity. And perhaps she had added your boyfriend on Snapchat as a move of reconciliation.
Let’s dive into what the Bible says about forgiveness:
Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
Matthew 6:15 “But if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
Luke 6:27 “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.”
Obviously, Scripture encourages us to forgive one another. This does mean forgiving our exes who have wronged us. Does this mean we have to end up befriending those who have harmed us or who have hurt us?
For this, I’d like to turn to our good friend C.S. Lewis on what he has to say on forgiveness and friendship in Mere Christianity, chapter seven. In this chapter he does argue that Christians must forgive those who have wronged them, but this doesn’t mean we have to end up being the best of friends with them.
Reconciliation efforts can include your boyfriend saying to his ex that he forgives her, but this doesn’t mean that the conversation between them must continue.
Bad Company Corrupts
I don’t know enough about the ex, but from the information provided, a certain verse comes to mind:
Along with this one:
Ephesians 4:27 “And do not give the devil a foothold.”
Navigating the waters of the world of exes is tricky. But if someone wants to pursue a holy relationship with you, with the goal of a marriage in mind, I would caution them against anything that could corrupt or give the devil a foothold.
Often, when we flirt with sin, we think that just a little won’t hurt us. And in the end, we end up in a far more devastating state than we could have ever imagined.
Perhaps his ex has changed for the better, and a friendship or at least civil correspondence can proceed. Especially if she has encountered Christ or has been further sanctified (if she’s already a Christian) she may have experienced changes of the heart and mind.
In this case of Snapchat, I would at the least ask your boyfriend to proceed with caution. The minute he spots a red flag, I would encourage him to kindly end the conversation.
But if he does want to pursue a faithful relationship with you that turns into a marriage, if I were him, I wouldn’t allow the devil a single foothold.
Autonomy and Sin
You’d also mentioned that he feels if he turns down a conversation with his ex on Snapchat that he feels it was your decision instead of his.
We do have to bear in mind that all humans do have autonomy. However, this also means that they have the free will to choose sin.
If he wants to sally forth and proceed with the conversation, ending it on his own terms, it may be best to ask that God gives him guidance and discernment during his dialogue with his ex.
It should be noted that most humans believe they are stronger than their sinful nature. We are always proved wrong.
Unless he submits himself to the Holy Spirit and takes up his cross daily, this could lend its way to something more sinister. All in all, I’d suggest praying, showing him this article, consulting church leadership, and exercising discernment.
Disclaimer: any single editor replying to reader questions through this advice column is a Christian seeking God's direction through his Word. We are not trained psychologists or licensed professionals. As we explore issues with you, we will seek God's guidance through prayer and the Bible.
Have a question? If you have a question about anything related to living the single life, please email [email protected] (selected questions will be addressed anonymously). While we cannot answer every question, we hope you'll find encouragement in this column.
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Hope Bolinger is an acquisitions editor at End Game Press, book editor for hire, and the author of almost 30 books. More than 1500 of her works have been featured in various publications. Check out her books at hopebolinger.com for clean books in most genres, great for adults and kids. Check out her editing profile at Reedsy.com to find out about hiring her for your next book project.