What if the person for you isn’t a Christian and you are and she wants you to ditch your Christianity for her? What should you do about it?
This is another really good question that is often a huge source of heart-ache for people of faith. What do you do if the person that you are very attracted to doesn’t believe what you believe about God, life, after-life, good and evil, etc.? This is a very legitimate question and I think I speak for many of us when I say that I totally feel your pain.
But, let’s start with something that seems small. Your question mentions “the person for you.” Now, at the risk of saying the same thing over and over, I’m afraid that this may be the wrong way to phrase the question. As I have responded in the last several questions, the idea that there is “one person” or as you put it, “the person for you” out there is, I think, very dangerous to relationships and isn’t backed up by scripture.
Now, why even mention this again? Well, because it is important. And notice how subtly it finds its way into another question. It is such a subtle and almost unconscious myth that has seeped into our formula for love. I’m sure the person who wrote this question didn’t even think about it as they texted it. And yet, here it is again.
It is also worth mentioning because I think it is a huge part of the answer to this question. Sometimes I think we set ourselves up for huge failure because we take a very complicated issue—such as a relationship with a non-believer—and make it a total nuclear holocaust. When you buy into the myth that this is the only person out there for you, it makes this question almost unanswerable.
For instance, if this girl is “the person for you”, meaning she is your only shot at real love, then you’d be crazy to pass it up and God would be mean and vindictive for creating you love someone that would cause you to deny Him. I’d think this question alone would be a good reason to question everything you know about God. At least for me it would.
However, the other option is that God didn’t create you to only find love with this one person. And if that is true (which I believe it is) than it takes a very painful situation and at least makes it understandable.
Will we, as Christians, be attracted to non-believers. I think so. Why not? There is beauty and goodness in all people, I believe. I’m sure that there is much to be attracted to in this girl.
But, the issue becomes not do you feel extravagant feeling towards her, but are you ready to make a CHOICE to blend your life with hers for the rest of your life and operate as “one body.” You see, those feeling will eventually fade and then you will have decide if you are ready to play on a team that doesn’t have the same game-time philosophy that you do.
Here’s where I am at on this. My relationship with God is the most intimate, personal and deep part of who I am. You can learn to know a lot about me, like the activities I enjoy, the music I listen to, the things I find funny, the things that make me smile. But, at my core, the most intimate thing you can learn about me is my relationship with God. It is the deep of the deep.
So, when choosing someone to love, I had to decide, “will I be able to share the deepest, most intimate part of who I am with this person?”
Now, when I was dating, I went out with numerous girls that didn’t have a relationship with God. Many of them were beautiful, sweet and good people. Some of them had a lot in common with me. Some of them I could even envision marrying.
But, what I decided was that I wanted to be totally united with my wife. I wanted to come home and not just share how my day went. I wanted to come home and share that deep of the deep. I wanted my wife to KNOW me. The deep part of me. And I wanted to know her that way to.
Did that mean that I gave up relationships with some people that were great? Yea, I suppose so. But, I will tell you this, I have never regretted that decision. The relationship I have with my wife today is unified. She knows me. And I know her. And as Paytyn (our daughter) grows up, I know that because we are unified she can know that part of us too. There is a connection there that goes WAY beyond anything I could have experienced with a person who didn’t share that part of their life with me. It is a connection that I believe God designed us to have with another person.
In the end, I guess some things are more important than the feelings of attraction and even love. Could you choose to love a person that isn’t a believer? Sure. But, I think you would set yourself up for a relationship that will never fulfill you the way a relationship with girl who shares your deep of the deep will.
Anyways, there are at least several other reasons for avoiding these relationships, and many often-quoted scriptures to go along (Paul cautions against it in 2 Corinthians 6:14) but this thought alone has been helpful to me and I hope it will be helpful to you.
Either way, I do understand the pain involved and I pray that you will find peace.
If you don’t feel that love from your family like you said you give Paytyn, how do you feel that love with God and make it better?
This question, I believe, is based off a comment that I made about my daughter, Paytyn, on Sunday night. My comment was that as a dad, I am trying my best to love my daughter so well that when she grows up she doesn’t feel the need to find love in other, more difficult places. My prayer is that she grows up knowing that there is nothing she could ever do or say that would make Tania and I love her any less. That she would know God loves her the same way.
And my goal is that, one-day, she would be in a great relationship, not looking for someone to fill some hole in her life, but in order to experience the sacrifice of love with someone great.
Now, I think the question is this: What if you don’t feel your parents have succeeded in helping you to feel this way, and how can you get that feeling from God?
Let’s me start by saying that Paytyn will probably be your age one day and feel the same way. Of course, I hope that isn’t true, but chances are she won’t feel complete. Why? Well, not because we as her parents didn’t try, but because as I have stated before, no human being—whether romantic interest, good friend or even parent—can fulfill your greatest longings of love and acceptance.
I will do my best to love her unconditionally. But, not even the love of a devoted father can fill every hole. The human life was created with a bit of God inside us. Genesis says we were “created in God’s image” or icon. It’s as if God placed a bit of Himself in each of us. And because of that, we have these deep desires for something more. We have these longings for completeness. But they can only be completed with our connection to the Creator, not just each other. We are all connected, for sure, but our greatest connection is designed to be Him.
Imagine a house. Beneath the paint and the carpet, and if you pulled away the dry-wall you would see a framework; a structure. It is made of a solid foundation and beams that bear the weight of the roof. And this structure is made to do one thing: keep the house standing up right.
You are like that house. Beneath your hair and make-up and clothes; beneath even your personality and passions is a framework. And that framework is designed to need relationship with God. And until you engage completely in what that framework was designed for (relationship with God), your house will always feel shaky and unsteady.
Now you can try and fill that need with romantic relationships or friendships, or work, or success, or having enough things, or sex, or drugs, or whatever. But, your framework wasn’t built for those. You were hard-wired for relationship with God. You were made in “His image.” And you aren’t complete without Him. And when you are willing to accept that completeness, the other parts of your house (life) will make sense.
And in that way, you may have more in common with Paytyn than you think. I can’t give her completeness anymore than your parents can give it to you.
So, even if your parents haven’t been successful in helping you feel that overwhelming love, please know that it wouldn’t be enough anyway. Would it be nice? Sure. Would it be a better foundation for you? I think so.
But, the success of your future relationships doesn’t have to depend on them. Their love, while desired and helpful, is not the greatest love you will find.
Now finding that relationship with God is a love relationship all to itself. And it begins, as all true love does, with thought of the other person first. Obviously, God has done this for you. Philippians says that Jesus “did not claim his rights as God, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant” for you. In other words, God thought of you before He thought of Himself.
What is left? For you to realize the greatness of that sacrificing love, and for you to choose to think of what God wants before what you want. To return love. And to allow Him to fill-in what is missing within you.
He doesn’t just want you to go to heaven, you know. He wants to make you whole and complete right now. He wants you to feel confident, loved, sacred and valued. He is interested in your life right now, not just where you end up for eternity.
So, trust Him. Give yourself to Him. Choose that what He says means more than what anybody else says. Make His image, your identity.