This is an excellent question which reveals one of the downsides of the Internet. That downside is – the net provides a springboard for things to be said which would otherwise never be said. People who would not find the courage to say something face to face (in person) can say it via the internet page. It also lends itself to unbridled conversation that should only be between close and intimate friends, not between acquaintance and casual relationships. Furthermore, it allows conversation to take place between the opposite sex which should not be. Husbands should not be conversing with other women, and visa-versa on subjects that are of a personal nature – it is dangerous. What often begins as innocent conversation often ends up not so innocent. I am even now recalling three instances where married women have entered into internet relationships with men that ended up in adulterous affairs.
Back to the original question: "What do you do when you receive inappropriate emails?" The latter part of the question – "from someone with whom you have a working relationship" — is a non-factor. One should not be sending inappropriate emails period.
The Bible tells us in Ephesians 4:29 …
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is
helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those
Again in Titus 2:7-8 we are admonished …
In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness 8and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.
And again in 1 Cor. 10:23 …
"Everything is permissible"--but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible"--but not everything is constructive.
It is permissible in that for the believer it is covered by the blood, it is not permissible in
that it pleases God and edifies the church. We must guard ourselves against anything that
would corrupt the purity God desires in all of our relationships.
Therefore how should one respond to an inappropriate email. Let me suggest the following:
1) The phlegmatic approach. Don't even acknowledge the email. It doesn't exist.
2) The choleric approach. Respond with a brief but poignant reply stating that you were shocked and disappointed by such inapproiate and improper behavior, and should you receive another such email you are left with no other option but to tell your supervisor. If it is your supervisor, then go to the next level up even if it means all the way to the owner. If it is the owner who is sending the inappropriate emails and you are married, let him know you are going to tell your husband, if living at home, then your father/mother. And, if the person is married, tell them you are going to tell their spouse. No and, ifs or buts.
3) If the person who is sending the inappropriate emails is a believer, after doing all of the above and the emails keep coming, then go to your Pastor and ask for Church intervention.
What you cannot do is accept this behavior. You must DO RIGHT and Give the Consequences to God. Doing right is rebuking such behavior; it is unacceptable.
Have a question for the pastor? Ask Here!