I once had, directed to me, some unkind and what I consider misguided comments by someone who ridiculed my article on Relationships. His concern was not on the quality of my work or literary skills, instead, he had a few misgivings with the subject. He felt that a relationship was not a very important matter and that I could instead focus my efforts on other things like employment, academic research, and many more ‘scholarly subjects’. My ambitious friend and colleague in the global fraternity, like all aspiring trailblazers, felt like relationships were not an important matter. What about you?
I didn’t take it kindly until a friend from India (we became friends that day) came to my rescue and explained, before the whole world (the group hosted scholars from across the world) why relationships are a very important matter. His concerns, which resonated well with mine, was that whom we relate with, and how we relate, will have a net effect on our usefulness. I believe that relationships have an effect on how we handle everything else in life. If you could see more than meets the eye, you could see abuse, either physical, psychological, or emotional, in the lives of caustic colleagues or unkind staff we oftentimes meet at the customer service desk.
With this understanding, We want to have a little discourse on the question of “Who will you relate with?” I know there are some degrees of relationships in which we don’t have the power of choice. No one chooses the family to be born into, so forgive yourself about that abusive family of yours. No one chooses who their colleagues at work will be (except the totalitarian HR), so don’t worry about that unkind colleague at work. Even countries of birth we don’t choose. By birth, some of us are bound to defend the flag of Ukraine and Russia, some are forced to endure the dearth of SubSaharan Africa, some are forced to the cold winters of western countries, and others face poverty in Latin America. And, I will repeat, don’t blame yourself, for things you didn’t choose to happen to you. This should encourage some good girl who lost her virginity in the hands of an abuser.
However, I don’t know how to be sorry to anyone who is in an abusive romantic relationship. The reason is, we have a power of choice on who our partner will be. I understand there are a few cultures that have clung to the stern patriarchy, where men choose women against their wishes as long as dowry can be paid. But the majority of the world operates in liberty where everyone has the entire world as their sample size when they are confronted with the need to choose a marriage partner. If with the option of choosing better, you settle for anyone, you should be comfortable. Everyone has their weaknesses, but you should be satisfied with the one you settle on. No sympathies, just understand them and find how to enjoy them.
The dating scene is no child’s play. It is complicated even when you get the best and the most understanding partner. Every human being, culture, exposure, or spiritual persuasion notwithstanding, have struggles that need keen attention. Different upbringing and worldviews influence how people deal with issues. So we are going into this with an assumption that if you would bring together the best gentleman and a phenomenal damsel, this is already a recipe for conflict.
With this in mind, we need to dissect an unbeliever. So who is an unbeliever? My remote definition would be; an unbeliever is someone who doesn’t believe what you believe. Their belief system and yours are different, rival, and offer no possibility of concord without compromise on the part of one. What do you believe in? If you believe in law and order, then you find a liberal anarchist an unbeliever. If you don’t accept the Lordship of Christ, a Christian is an unbeliever to you. If you believe in Christ but don’t accept His ministry in the heavenly sanctuary, whoever accepts the work of atonement in the sanctuary above is an unbeliever to you.
Regarding the issue of belief systems, we are going to ride on one of the main pillars of culture; religion. Most religious groups are very strict when it comes to the choice of marriage partners. The reason is that one’s religious views have a great influence on their world views. Religion takes over traditions in a big way. When you bring together a Muslim and a Buddhist, its a conflict. A Christian and a Pagan will have disagreements all the time because they have different worldviews. Religious views that influence people’s belief systems can only be ignored at the expense of a dysfunctional family.
In the Bible, the Israelites were not allowed to make marital relations with other communities. Why was it so?
Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son. For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly.[KJV Deuteronomy 7:3-4]
God’s reason was not considering the beauty, academics or exposure, but the eventual shipwreck of faith. They were not to convert unbelievers to Yahweh and marry, instead, they were warned that they will be converted to idols of the foreigners instead. All who disobeyed this counsel have left object lessons to us regarding such carelessness. Samson performed below his potential because of the entanglement in the vale of Sorek with the maidens of the Philistines and finally got a fatal shave at the lap of Delilah. King Solomon tried to convert the daughters of heathen Kings and he lost his allegiance to God. How about you whose prayer life is withering like the drought-stricken hills of Gilboa? You will likewise fall.
And incase you are a “New Testament Christain” as many who don’t want to keep the law of God say, here is what Paul has for you:
Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said:
“I will dwell in them
And walk among them.
I will be their God,
And they shall be My people.”
“Come out from among them
And be separate, says the Lord.
Do not touch what is unclean,
And I will receive you.”
18 “I will be a Father to you,
And you shall be My sons and daughters,
Says the Lord Almighty.”
[1 Corinthians 6:14-18]
Even if an unbeliever you want to bring to your matrimonial home is favourable to your religious views, the Bible does not recognize it. You will always have issues around vital issues of life. By choosing him over Jesus, you give up God’s protection, and He is not responsible for the consequences of your actions. I am not promising bread and butter to those who settle for believers, but I am saying it is safe with Jesus in the vessel. Let a nice vegetarian Pagan, Atheist, Buddhist, Mormon, Catholic, Adventist etc, get one of their own.
Don’t you think it would be sweet to deny Christ together with your partner? Don’t you think it would be sweet to deny the perpetuity of the law of God together with your partner? Or as well refuse the fact that Christ is coming with your partner? But I will say, “My best days of the week are when I switch off every work-related engagement, and spend a sabbath rest with those that I love”. It is sweeter than promotion at work.
Let those who are contemplating marriage weigh every sentiment and watch every development of character in the one with whom they think to unite their life destiny. Let every step toward a marriage alliance be characterized by modesty, simplicity, sincerity, and an earnest purpose to please and honor God. Marriage affects the afterlife both in this world and in the world to come. A sincere Christian will make no plans that God cannot approve.Letters to Young Lovers P. 90