Finding the One God Desires
By George Veith , November 09, 2018 09:11 AM
The children of Israel in the Old Testament were warned on numerous occasions not to marry with the people of the pagan nations around them. Marrying them, especially Jewish men marrying pagan women would result in their being drawn away from worshipping Yahweh, the true God, and worshipping the false gods of their pagan neighbors. There are examples of this happening. Samson became involved with a pagan woman who tempted him to the point of revealing his deepest secret--cutting his long hair would deplete him of his strength.
The church has also had to contend with the dynamic of Christians marrying outside of the faith. Although the Bible does not say directly "Christians should not marry non-Christians", the apostle Paul seems to be alluding to this idea when he says in 2 Corinthians 6:14 "do not be yoked together with unbelievers". How can one share the most intimate part of one's being, namely one's faith relationship with Jesus, with another person who cannot at all relate? Some even interpret Paul to mean that Christian businesspersons should not have non-Christian business partners.
There is often the idea on the part of some Christians who are in a relationship with a non-Christian that the non-Christian will "come around". I have heard some say, "I can affect them by my words and actions." This is not a guaranteed thing. In fact, it happens much less often than we would like to believe.
This dynamic of Christians marrying non-Christians is more frequent in places where Christians make up a small minority of the total population. It is in part because it is difficult for Christian singles to find each other. Even if they are aware of each other or know what the Bible teaches, sometimes they still choose a partner outside the faith. Recently a young, mature Christian man in a church in NE China married a non-Christian young woman from his workplace, despite there being many lovely, eligible young Christian women in the church fellowship. Another Chinese brother who had broken up with his non-Christian girlfriend, citing their difference in faith as one of the deciding factors, recently said that they had gotten back together again and would probably get married next year in spite of the woman still being a non-Christian.
In the Chinese church, Christian young people have the added pressure of wanting to please parents who may not be Christians and who do not see the importance of marrying a Christian. For these parents, the important thing is to find a suitable person, someone who has similar interests and who would be compatible with the values of both families. Chinese Christian young people often compromise and let go of the idea of finding a Christian mate. If they decide for a non-Christian partner, the compromise may continue when it comes time to make the wedding arrangements and the non-Christian family insists on including traditional Buddhist elements into the ceremony.
It is very important that today's Christian young people realize the importance of not marrying a non-Christian. If one is to grow and mature as a Christian, one grows best together with the other with whom one has become "one flesh". The church also suffers if there are not strong, mature Christian couples who are part of strong Christian families. May we encourage young, single Christians in the Chinese church today not to compromise on what Scripture teaches or bow to the wishes of parents but rather continue to wait and seek God for the marriage partner He desires.
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