I recently got in this letter:
I am a Christian young woman engaged to a non-Christian. It is not an ideal situation and I have been reading and praying about it a lot.
He is a good man. We have been together since I was 15. I always said I wouldn’t date non-Christians, but he caught me when I was slipping in my faith due to problems with my mum’s mental health. He encouraged me to go back to church and spend time with Christian friends because he knew it would help me.
Throughout our relationship he’s really encouraged me in my faith … But when we announced our engagement I received a few emails from the pastor saying the Bible is clear that the relationship is wrong and that I need to end it.
The advice I need is how to deal with this. I knew that, out of love, I would receive some hostility from Christian friends, but it is getting to the point where I do not want to go back to church, because of the volume of people telling me to end the relationship—when they cannot give me a reason for doing so, other than him being a non-Christian. . . . I just am happy with my decision, and believe that it is not a sin and God will bless my marriage and aid me through the difficulties. But I do not know how to handle the simplistic thinking from many members of the church who think that my relationship is wrong—that I should either end it, or be living in sin. Many thanks. God bless.
And this is a reader’s comment recently left on my post Should a Christian Marry a non-Christian?:
I am a Christian woman; I love Jesus and my heart follows Him. I’ve been dating this man for two years now and he prepared me that he’ll be making a proposal soon. I was overwhelmed with joy, laughter, and excitement. A few days have gone by since the excitement and my heart is torn, I feel guilty for even dating a man who doesn’t follow Jesus. The idea of my Christian friends ridiculing me for potentially marrying a no Christian and even worse the idea of disappointing God himself is bumming me out. Something so good, is so bad cause I’ve dedicated my life to Christ and my bf has chosen his own path.
Dear Christians who make a point of letting their Christian friends who are in serious relationships with non-Christians know that they think it’s wrong for a Christian to date or marry a non-Christian:
If I ever meet you, I am going to beat you up.
Oh, wait. No I won’t. Because that’s not the Christian thing to do. It’s wrong to start pounding on someone just because you disapprove of something that they’ve said or done.
“Verily I say unto you: do not vex me, lest I begin soundly thrashing you about your head and ears, you vapid dinkwad” is not something Jesus ever said.
You know what else is not a Christian thing to do (or what shouldn’t be, anyway)? Putting religious dogma ahead of being a friend.
If you know someone who is in a committed relationship of which you do not approve, an excellent question to ask yourself—especially before venturing to offer any opinion on that relationship—is whether or not anyone but you gives a rolled-up church bulletin what you think of that relationship.
More importantly, does anyone actually in that relationship care what you think of it? Have they asked you what you think about it?
If no one in a relationship has asked for your input about their relationship, then why not actually show you’re a Christian, and be quiet about it? (And don’t talk to anyone else about it, either. Offering unsolicited critical opinions of others makes you a toxic gossip, which is one of the lowest things anyone can be. And basing your criticism on some nonexistent rule that you’ve decided is God’s decree makes you a sanctimonious toxic gossip, which, in the descending rings of hell, puts you just above waiters who spit in people’s food, and just below people who don’t clean up after the dog they’re walking.)
And if it’s your opinion that God automatically condemns the Christian who marries a non-Christian, then you’ve clearly tossed out, along with the baptismal water, Paul, who wrote in 1 Corinthians:
For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. … How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?
If Paul was okay with Christians being married to non-Christians, perhaps you could find your way to lightening up on the matter.
And that includes you, pastor.
We live in a tough world. If two people have found each other, fallen in love, and are taking good care of each other, then let them be. Let their relationship grow into whatever it might.
Besides, it’s not like both parties being Christian ensures a wonderful marriage. Christian couples get divorced as often as anyone else.
Love is a challenge. Let’s support it when it happens. There are too many people in the world suffering from a lack of love in their lives for us to spend our time fretting over a love that doesn’t exactly match our idea of what love is, or what love should look like. Love is love. Let’s make sure we’re doing all we can to create more of it in the world, not less.
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