Can Bad Boys be Godly Men?
by Dianne Hawkins (Unlocking Femininity)
Today, it is officially one month until I marry the godliest man I know.
As I approach leaving the dating life forever, it makes me look back at the dating process and all the different types of men involved. There’s the intellectual type, the athletic guy, the funny man, and then there are the bad boys. Oh, the bad boys. These guys are different. The secular world has them and the Christian dating sphere also has them. They’re smooth, confident, mysterious and gave me a flurry of butterflies. They were just a step above the rest of normal guys…or so I thought. They were saved, so that ensured a God-honoring dating relationship, right? Unfortunately, I learned the hard way that the answer is NO.
Many women have the same pull towards bad boys. What is it about them that attracts so many ladies? They know exactly what to say to each woman to make us feel special. They’re confident, knowing what they want and don’t mind putting their egos at stake to ask you out. They have a rebellious side, live with a ‘devil-may-care’ attitude and are fiercely independent. All these different things make up a guy that is exciting to us, usually popular, attractive, and usually fulfills some need of acceptance and significance. You add being a Christian on top of these characteristics and it seems like you have the perfect man. But just because he may have his “fire insurance” (salvation), as one of my friends puts it, does that make him the kind of man you should date or eventually marry? Does his character match up with how the Bible defines a godly man?
Why Bad Boys Can’t Be Godly Men
1. They put themselves first above all others and only want you for what you can do for him.
These kinds of Christian men cannot offer you the sacrificial love which God commands of husbands in Eph. 5:25-30. Bad boys show you attention, give you constant compliments and excitement, but when you stop meeting his needs and making him happy, he will lose interest in you. He will get bored and move on to the next woman or thing that fulfills his selfish desires. God commands in Phil. 2:3-4: “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
Christian bad boys can’t be godly men until they became humble and self-sacrificial. That is one sign of a biblical man. Unless the bad boy learns true humility, he has no chance of being the sacrificial husband and father God commands him to be (Eph.5:25-30).
2. They’re smooth talkers.
Bad boys tell you exactly what you want to hear, what makes you feel good about yourself. But what they say is usually not at the appropriate time (premature commitment talk) and it is usually not genuine. Most of the time selfish motives are behind every word. The Bible calls this flattery (Ps.5:9;12:2; 78:36; Prov.29:5). In Rom. 16:17-18, Paul writes about false prophets who shared this very same characteristic: “I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.”
Christian bad boys can’t be godly men until they speak truth with their mouths and not use flattery to serve their selfish desires. They use their smooth words to isolate women and cause divisions, which is the next point.
3. They isolate women from godly friends and family.
Many times the bad boy tries to keep you away from your friends and family in very sly ways. As one friend shared, her boyfriend used to say “Oh, let’s have dinner just you and me this time and not go over to your family’s house,” or “Let’s not sit with your family in church, your mother’s singing annoys me.” Does your bad boy try to spend as little time possible with your family? What does your family think of him? If your parents are godly parents, you should heed their advice. Too many times I thought I knew better than my parents when it came to my dating relationships. Finally, I realized my parents had wisdom and saw things that I couldn’t about the guys. It saved me so much heartache, helped me honor my parents, and built a strong relationship with them.
Christian bad boys also isolate you from godly friends. They try to make sure all time together is spent alone and even try to discourage you from maintaining your friendships. They do this because they know those who love you have your best interests in mind and the bad boy is not your best interest. Proverbs 18:1 is a great biblical example: “Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.”
The Christian bad boy isolates himself from sound judgment and will try to get you to join him. Until he seeks godly advice and wants to surround himself (and you) with godly people, he cannot be a godly man. A girl once shared with me about her relationship with a Christian bad boy, “It felt like it was him and me against the world, but then I realized that the world was everyone who would lay down their lives for me.” He had isolated her from all her friends. After having ended a relationship, have you had to mend friendships or family relationships because of neglect or disregard of their sound advice? You just might have been dating a bad boy.
4. They don’t protect your heart or your body.
They have no boundaries, physically or emotionally. Protecting your heart goes back to the smooth-talking. It may have been nice to hear but was it nice for your heart? Was it said at an appropriate time? 1 Corinthians 10:23-24 says, “All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.”
While I was dating my fiancé, Alex, he didn’t just blurt out what he felt about me early on in the relationship, but what was for my good. He could have told me exactly what I wanted to hear and flattered my ears, but instead he was patient, kind, and not self-seeking. Alex waited for the appropriate time to share his feelings about me and our future – once he knew it was for my good and, also, God-honoring. For our relationship, this meant even not saying “I love you” until Alex knew he could follow it with a lifelong commitment and proposal of marriage. Protecting your heart means separating any romantic feelings and following 1 Cor.13. Is your bad boy protecting your heart and not awakening love until it so desires (Song of Solomon 2:7)? Is your bad boy protecting you physically? 1 Corinthians 6:18 says to “Flee from sexual immorality.” Fleeing from sin means there has to be boundaries before the physical element enters the relationship. Does he compromise those physical boundaries by “accidentally” brushing his hand against your leg or sitting far too close early in the relationship? Does he put you in compromising situations full of temptation? Or, does he respect and protect you by making sure that he’s following Eph. 5:3: “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.”
A Christian bad boy cannot be a godly man because he does not protect his Christian sister by doing what is good for her but doing what his good for himself. He does not truly love, as in 1 Cor. 13, and, therefore, cannot truly love you as Christ loves the Church and gave Himself up for her (Eph.5:25).
Some women out there might be thinking, “But we have so much chemistry, he’s so fun and exciting.” I used to think the exact same thing but what I’ve learned is: Chemistry isn’t what keeps a marriage strong for 20+ years. Godliness is what keeps a couple loving each other, sacrificing for each other, and glorifying God with their marriage. A godly man leads his girlfriend or wife towards godliness, protects her heart and body, provides for her, disciples her, sacrifices himself for her, and cultivates the work of God in her. This is the kind of man to date and marry, not the bad boy who uses for his own gain, leads towards ungodliness, blurs the boundaries that protect, and avoids wise counsel.
I used to think that if I gave up the exciting bad boy type that God would have me marry a boring, godly type. But I assure you, godly is NOT boring. Just because a guy isn’t a bad boy doesn’t make him a stick in the mud, goody two-shoes, but it DOES point to Christ being their heart’s desire. It doesn’t mean that you can’t feel a strong connection with them, look lovingly in their eyes, and get butterflies when they come near, or even have a huge crush on them years down the road. In a month, I get to marry a godly man who’s my best friend and whom I simply adore (and will for the next 50+ years). God has your best in mind and if you make His standards your standards, and if it’s His will for you to marry, He will send you a man who will be a wonderful, lifelong companion, who you can trust, who will sacrifice himself for you, and with whom you can honor God together.