One reason it is difficult to trust God with relationships is a lack of confidence or distrust in the opposite sex. Christian singles may be hitting the same barriers to marriage as those with a worldly mindset — hesitancy to commit, lack of viable choices in partner, a desire to establish wealth and possessions first — but here’s the honest truth: Christians need to have a radically different perspective about the opposite sex, dating and marriage. Consider Corinthians 5:17-19:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.
Several months ago, I was stunned by one Boundless Line reader’s response to my blog. He said, “It’s obvious there’s a lot of woundedness here.” Each sex feels wounded by the other. Women feel slighted because the men they believe should be asking them out either won’t take a risk or seem uninterested in committing to a relationship. Men are frustrated because the women they’d like to get to know either won’t give them a chance or send them mix signals. Our first reaction is to blame others. “I’m doing everything right. It’s him/her who is holding up the process!”
I recently heard some great advice for getting along with people who naturally irritate you. When this person says something that irritates you, instead of assigning motives (I know she said that to boast or I know he said that to manipulate), pour in as much grace as possible. Choose to be compassionate and look for what is really going on beneath the statement (Maybe she’s feeling insecure or maybe he feels I don’t trust him). Perhaps your reaction wasn’t appropriate or was fueled by your own past hurts.
Focus on the Family promotes the Love and Respect principle. The central idea of these conferences is that women need love and men need respect. This is a breakthrough concept for married couples. However, single men and women are motivated by these same responses. As a woman, are you seeking to respect the single men you know or are you tearing them down (even just in your mind)? As a man, are you looking to care for the women you know or do you cast a suspicious eye on them, afraid they’ll get the wrong idea? As singles, we have not been very successful in cultivating an attitude of love and respect. I have experienced a love and respect dynamic in micro-settings, and I believe it’s the best start for a healthy, godly relationship.
Part of trusting God with relationships is discerning how He would renew our minds and make us new creations. If we’re not seeking this with all our hearts, the ministry of reconciliation — particularly between the sexes — will fail. If Christian relationships, and the way we go about them, were radically different from the world, it might send a message to the world about the reconciliation offered in God through Christ.
Read Part 6 here.