Monday, February 23, 2009

Marriage by the Book... Unequally Yoked

Christian marriage Q & A from a minister, writer and successful marriage partner of over 25 years!
DISCLAIMER: While I am a pastor, I am not a psychologist, psychiatrist or degreed counselor. Please understand this (I will remind you often). What I am is a wife of over 25 years who has made many observations, both humorous and grave, enlightening and frustrating, and who has come to many conclusions about marriage. The purpose of this column is to share the Biblical insight God has given on this remarkable union between man and woman, and to share the minuscule traces of wisdom that I've acquired from doing marriage wrong, and doing it right!

Q. Hi. I recently met a lady who said she was a Christian but I found that she really used the name Christian for what she perceived was an unconditional love. When I explained to her about salvation through Christ she rebelled and said I feared God rather than loved him, that I hated all people who weren't like me, i.e., gays, etc. She said she couldn't accept a narrow view of God saving only Christians. Of course, we broke up. I still care for this woman and am praying for her salvation. Perhaps I'm wasting my time.

Right now she's rebelling against Christianity and what I've told her about being saved. She said, "God loves me, therefore I'm saved." If she won't believe ever, then of course, we will never get together. Which is my main reason for writing you. I thought if there was a chance to reach her... Well, I leave it in God's hands and appreciate any help you may offer.

* Mark, A Lonely Christian

* Personal details have been changed.

Thanks for your message. Let's see if we can find some answers for you... But, as always, let me say two things about any counsel that I offer...

1. It may not "tickle your ears." It may not be what you
WANT to hear, but...

2. It will be Biblical. I will share scripture with you and let God's word speak for itself.

Having said that, let me direct you 2 Corinthians 6:14-17 which says, "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: 'I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people. Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.'"

This isn't always an easy task. I understand. But you've done what the Lord has required of you. That's a good thing, and I commend you for following the Bible's instructions.

As to your friend... you definitely need to continue to pray for her. Pray specifically that God will open her eyes. That He will remove the wall of rebellion she has built around herself. That He will show her the TRUTH, not the lies that Satan is feeding her. But unless she accepts Jesus Christ as her Savior, you and she cannot have a right relationship in the eyes of God. I think you know that, hard as it may be to accept.

It sounds to me that your friend is involved in a lot of New Age thinking. Such as, "there are many ways to God." Yet the Bible says, "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." (Matthew 7:13-14) And in verse 21: "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven."

And that "we don't need to fear God"... yet Job 28:28 says, "And [God] said to man, 'The fear of the Lord--that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding.'" And in Psalm 111:10, "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise."

Also, that "our beliefs or our behavior is unimportant"... yet Hebrews 12:14 says, "without holiness no one will see the Lord." And in Ephesians 5:4: "Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving."

The idea that because "God is love" (1 John 4:8) He will let people do anything they want to do, rebel any way they want to rebel, believe anything they want to believe, and then will someday allow them to enter into His holiness is another lie of the enemy. Romans 3:22-23 says, "righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." And in 6:23, "the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Jesus said of Himself in John 14:6, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." As Christians, we know this to be true. And just as plainly, if someone denies this truth, they do not belong to Him. That's sometimes hard to swallow. But we believe the Word of God (the Bible) is truth and that's what it says.

I don't think I really have to tell you these things... I think you know them in your heart. I perceive that the problem lies in the very last statement that you made: "A lonely Christian."

Loneliness will make us think, and do, and want to accept things that we know are not right, simply because we don't want to be alone. It's one of the most difficult trials we must face. Believe me... I know this from personal experience.

Can I make a couple of suggestions?

1. Get involved in a single's ministry. Don't look for a "mate" - look for friends to spend time with, to go places with, to do things with. Look for CHRISTIAN friends. This will help alleviate the loneliness.

2. Pray. Pray for your friend. But pray for yourself, too. Pray that God will send you the person HE has for you to spend your life with. Pray that if this friend is that person, that He will save her soul, that she will accept Him as her Savior. But if that doesn't happen soon, I'd be very careful of continuing a relationship with her. "Do not be misled: 'Bad company corrupts good character.'" (1 Corinthians 15:33).

Your friend apparently doesn't understand your faith, and it's very possible that Satan is attempting to use her to draw you away from God.

3. Trust the Lord. He knows you... he knows your situation. And remember that "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it" (1 Corinthians 10:13). Look for His answer and listen to it. He'll show you the way. He promised.

I pray that God will help you to remain faithful to Him during this time and that He will help you to "put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand." (Ephesians 6:13)

God bless you... and please feel free to contact me again.

All scripture quoted is from the New King James Bible (NKJV).


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