The Allure of Mr. Wrong, Part 2
April 4, 2001
I had no idea how easy it was to fall for a non-Christian. And I had no idea how many of you are wrestling with this very issue. Both truths trouble me, and that's why we're revisiting this topic in this edition of The Single File.
The responses to my column in the last issue — in which I told about my attraction to Jake, an unbeliever — were plenty and personal (to read the article, click here). Many of you admitted to having your own "Jake" or "Jackie," and to wrestling with difficult questions such as "Is it okay to hang out casually with a non-Christian?" "Can I do so without confusing him/her — or me?" "Is is possible to share your faith when romance is on the line?" "Why aren't any Christians asking me out or agreeing to go out with me?" Unfortunately, there aren't many easy answers here.
That's why I wrestled so much with last issue's column. To be honest, I had a really difficult time figuring out what to say about this all-important topic for Christian singles. It was especially hard wrapping up the article, with no real resolution in my own situation. If Jake had called me that day to ask me to dinner, I would have said yes … but felt uneasy about it.
But I also didn't want to set the precedent of only being able to talk about topics that have happy endings or easy answers (though I'm not sure I've ever had either!). Sometimes life is messy, and when we fail to share these situations and struggles with our brothers and sisters, we miss out on the encouragement and accountability God designed to be key functions of the Body of Christ.
Many of you wrote loving words of warning. And many more shared your own stories of countless questioning, agonizing breakups, fallen friends, and continued struggles. I was touched by your concern and vulnerability. This is the kind of sharing we singles need to engage in more often to help one another navigate the sometimes-tricky issues of going solo. So I compiled several of your e-mails, and we've included a link to the message board discussions about whether it's ever okay to date a non-Christian (see links below). I hope you'll check out these thoughtful and thought-provoking responses.
As for my relationship with Jake, based on your stories and advice, I've decided to step back a bit. When I took a completely honest look at my motives, I realized they were more about my hormones and desire for male interaction than they were about concern for the state of Jake's soul. Not an easy truth to face, but a vitally important one.
For all of you who wrote me and are currently wrestling with a mismatched relationship, I pray you'll take the same long, hard (and yes, difficult) look at what you really hope to gain and what you really have to lose.
It's not easy to sacrifice affections for the sake of honoring God and doing the right thing. But recently as I was sitting in a church service gearing up for Good Friday, I was struck by the thought, "Who am I to whine about sacrifice?" God's ways may not always be easy (just ask Jesus), but they are unquestionably always the best.