I’ve been in many discussions with friends both male and female over the issue of ‘leading on’ or ‘defrauding’ as used in the book ‘Love Bila Regrets’ by Pastors John Musyimi and Mark Ambundo. The idiom leading on and the word defrauding are today used to mean that someone of the opposite sex, acts or talks in a manner to entice or lure towards a romantic relationship, that they may not at the end of it seal the deal. I have asked friends, what are these specific actions or words that show others that you are leading or defrauding them? All of them said something different. So, I couldn’t point out a definite action of defrauding or leading someone on.
For purposes of this article, I will attempt to define leading on or defrauding as to (not always intentionally) cause one to think and believe (incorrectly) that one is the subject of romantic feelings or some form of interest that would lead to a romantic relationship. These are some of the things I gathered that by doing them, they might lead someone on. I love the idiom ‘leading on’. It is a halfway statement since it wants to throw the blame to the ‘leader’ (the one leading on). It goes without saying that if there is a leader, there must be a follower who is ‘following on’ (the one led on).
What does “leading on” looks like?
Ladies have sited this as the main means of leading on. Generally, speaking men are visual creatures’ women are ‘hearers. They say when a man complements them, sends texts that seem to make them feel special, or constant and frequent chats and phone calls where intimate issues are discussed. Words are powerful, and indeed as provided by the proverb, the tongue holds the power of life and death. I love to look at words as weapons against or for the heart depending on how you fashion them (Prov. 15:4; Prov. 18:4). Most people are looking for affirmation. Such people, words of affirmation might be their love language. And yes, if you throw thoughts complements or words that are not well thought out, entertain long and frequent conversations with someone, you might be leading or following them on.
Remember the high school saying ‘socialize and don’t specialize?’ Two questions I ask ladies and men who they complain about being led on are; are you hanging out with this gentleman or lady? (They hate to call their time together dates) That shows a denial of what is brewing. And Do you feel bad (Jealous) when you see them with another person? It is not just being with him or her in person, but also in other ways. It is when you extend some special time and considerations to that gentleman or lady that you wouldn’t do to others. They become like a VIP in your life. This is the kind of attention given and time spent that spouses have toward each other (Ephesians 5:25). If you don’t intend to make him or her your spouse, please don’t be treating him or her in any unique- spouse like way. People who love exclusivity are most likely to have quality time as their love language.
Scientists have proven that babies are attached to their mothers, mainly because they have more extended skin to skin touch after birth. Indeed, touch is proof that you trust someone so much that you would allow them to hold you in a way others are not allowed to. Some Christian men and women forget that they are siblings (1 Timothy 5:2). Touch might be in the form of hugs that are longer than usual, holding hands or even the shoulder or back pats that you wouldn’t do to your sister or brother back at home. When you touch someone like that, and you have no intention to seal the deal with them in marriage, then know you are setting them up for betrayal, one that is as heavy as Jesus’ betrayal by Judas. This guy kissed him to mark out him for his persecutors.
I thought peer pressure ends when you are out of school. Eish! This thing is with us. Sometimes our friends or people around us become our undoing. they may have good intentions when they suggest to us, someone. “Hey, you two look good together”, “hey she or he is sending you signals, and you are playing blind… and many other things they say. Initially, you had no shred of thought of dating him or her. She was a good friend, he was a fun company, and that was all it was. But friends whose interest is to save you from the mystery of singleness suggest men or women to you. The go-to the extend of telling you how you have so much in common, or you can do ‘ministry’ together. I have had a few ladies falling for a man who is so clueless based on friend’s suggestions. At the same time, I have very many male friends who have broken potential lifetime friends base on peer pressure. If you are a cupid friend and busy pilling pressure with suggestions, please keep off it. You are planting a seed that won’t help bear any fruit.
I saved this for the last-is forms the main aim for writing this article. It is one thing the ‘leader’ to do all the above. It is another when the ‘follower’ receives and enjoys them without question; then we have a willing ‘leader’ and a willing ‘follower’. The follower here is the one led on. He or she is accepting and welcoming the words, long for, planning and enjoying the exclusive treatments, and finding pleasure in every touch without protest. Then this is someone who cannot complain that they were led on unknowingly. My most recent complain from a lady about a friend of mine leading her on. My question to her was, did you willingly have him do all you have said to you without stopping him? Rape is a sin that the rapist is solely responsible. But fornication is a sin that both are responsible. You cannot go complaining of being led on yet all that time you allowed and enjoyed it.
You are Responsible for your heart
Your heart is first of all God’s (Colossians 1:16), then yours (Proverbs 23:26). God has entrusted it to you. You are responsible for your heart. Leading on or defrauding is an emotional issue that is guided by the heart. God entrusting you with the heart and has commanded you to guard it above all else for from it comes the springs of life (Proverbs 4:23). It is your responsibility to guard/ protect your heart. That scripture hasn’t called women to guard men’s heart or vice versa. If you are an adult, you are more responsible for yourself than anybody else on earth. All the commands of God are individually pointed. Prov. 4:23 is no exemption.
How do you guard your heart?
First of all, look at what your heart is inclined to. The heart is deceitful and desperately wicked, who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:9). The heart is a factory of idols, said John Calvin. What or rather who are you idolizing? Where your treasure is, is where your heart will always be (Matthew 6:21). You know you are idolizing someone when you are ready to unreasonably spend time, money, things and words with him or her. Teach your heart to treasure God.
Blaise Pascal wrote that there is a God-shaped vacuum in every man’s heart that only God can fill. No man or woman will take that place. A heart that treasure, loves and delights in God (Psalms 37:4) is a heart that has the peace that the world doesn’t know (Philippians 4:7).
Secondly, give your heart to God (Proverbs 23:6). Meaning you know that you cannot control and guard your heart by yourself so you are entrusting it to the omnipotent God to help you (Psalms 73:26): This is knowing that God’s wisdom is profound, his power is vast, and he alone can protect you from any attack (Job 9:4). It is trusting God, not in yourself or anyone else (Psalms 26:2); that he is close to the heartbroken and saves those who are crushed in the spirit (Psalms 34:18).
Thirdly, we tend to seek intimacy more than clarity in relationships. That’s why people touch too soon, say I love you too soon, ask someone to date them too soon, get married too soon etc. We should endeavour to seek clarity more than intimacy. Let us not be afraid to ask the hard questions if someone is acting in a manner to suggest that they are leading you on to a romantic relationship. Be bold enough to ask them where is he or she leading you on to. If you don’t have the boldness ask God to give you boldness to speak. If God gave the disciples the boldness to witness why would he not give you the boldness to ask questions that help guard your heart (Acts 4:31)? Here is where most of us fail. We build castles in the air of how things would turn out, hoping that the other person has the same thoughts. To your disappointment most of the time, they don’t know, they don’t care.
“Why won’t you simply ask him?” oh, yes, because you have pride as a woman? Do you know what pride does? It brings you to disgrace (Prov. 11:2). Here is the disgrace of disappointment. With pure heart and humility, please ask for the sake of your heart.
Lastly, to all cupid friends, when you notice some strange relationship that is undefined your move is not kujichocha. But meet a brother or sister in secret and inquire of them whether there is something brewing. If they saying nothing is, be their accountability person(s) and tell them to keep off that lady or that gentleman to avoid leading him/her on, be a brother’s keeper. You, on the other hand, don’t bow down to what people say and think. Be a woman and a man of value. Remember, cursed is the man who leans on the wisdom of men (Jeremiah 17:5). Regardless of their influence or position in your life. Keep in mind that it is up to you to entertain those thoughts or to ignore them altogether. You are still responsible.
I conclude by saying that men and women can be good and God-glorifying friends, but this must be done so with wisdom and lots of guardrails. Let’s stop the blame game if anyone in your life is speaking your love language towards you. Yet you have not told him or her what your love language is. Stop them, tell them that that is your love language and if they don’t intend to lead you into a relationship they should stop. ‘Followers’ help your potential ‘leaders’ not to defraud you. Marshall Segal in an article titled When the Not-Yet Married Meet wrote …. many, many men and women have deep and lasting wounds from relationships because a couple (here I say brothers and sisters) enjoyed emotional or physical closeness without a lasting, durable commitment. Cheap intimacy feels real for the moment, but you get what you pay for.