Charles Hill (now deceased) taught a class call “The preacher’s life and work,” at the school of preaching I attended. He advised that preachers should avoid being alone with a female in counseling, Bible study, or personal visits, or in any other situation when and where such can be avoided. While there may be some circumstances where alone situations are unavoidable, the general principle should be practiced.
His reasoning was quite simple. First, it avoids the potential for jealousy and mistrust on the part of their spouse or your own. Second, it prevents rumors and gossip from spreading. Some people love to gossip. Third, it eliminates all opportunity for impropriety. In counseling sessions – especially, if domestically things are not going well at home for the counselee – it is easy for the counselee, who is now receiving attention from the counselor, to develop an attraction for the counselor. Fourth, it avoids the “Clarence Thomas Syndrome” as I would call it. That is, it keeps you out of the situation where she (e.g. Anita Hill) is saying one thing; and you (e.g. Clarence Thomas) are saying another, and there are no witnesses to establish the facts of what happened. Some will condemn even without adequate evidence. One’s reputation will be damaged, if not destroyed.
Many preachers who I have known could have saved themselves many problems by heeding brother Hill’s words. Someone has said that preachers need to be careful with “the money and the honey.”
However, his advise is not just applicable to preachers. I believe this to be good healthy advice for all Christians. Let us try to avoid situations that give the appearance of impropriety (1 Corinthians 16:1-4; 2 Corinthians 8:16-21). Let us seek to avoid situations that provide opportunity for sin (Romans 13:14). Remember that it was when Joseph was alone that Potiphar’s wife tempted him (Genesis 39). It was due to an alone situation that Joseph found himself falsely accused of wrong doing (Genesis 39). Yes, I do understand that his situation was unavoidable. I am not blaming him. Also, remember that it was when Tamar was alone with Amnon that he raped her (2 Samuel 13). No, I am not blaming her. I am simply saying that it is wise to avoid such situations when and where such is possible.