To start, multiple What do these friendships look like? Does God prohibit them, or are they vital to the body of Christ?
There is always the slight minority that could end up killing me. Not to be coy, but it depends on the risk you are taking. It is not that streets are bad, cars are evil, and every car is out to run them over. The reality is, you are meeting a stranger, and as much as you hope this stranger has been as truthful as you have been, there is always that chance they have not. For the most part, the risks of online dating are avoidable.
No parent would encourage a child to play in the street, but we do teach children how to walk across the street. The fact is streets can be dangerous and cars can kill you. Put yourself in an environment that discourages things like rape or abduction. With prayer, intent, direction, and caution, a person can avoid the dangers and reap the benefits of great friendships and, perhaps, one day, marriage.
A few diagnostic questions are: Once the risks of a male-female friendship have been considered and weighed, we can ask the question, “Can these risks be mitigated?
” Can humility and honesty, community and accountability, protect us from the looming consequences, and allow us to enjoy the good that can come from these friendships?
Being cautious can go a long way in preventing injury. A friend of mine shared a story from one of her previous churches. Use a screen name that you do not use elsewhere (IM, Facebook, bank account, etc).