Recently, I read a book titled: “The Right One: How To Successfully Date and Marry the Right Person” by Jimmy Evans and Frank Martin. I wanted to read the book to learn from other established authors in the Christian world to find out what they were saying about relationships. Overall, I was impressed.
But there was this one section where one of the author’s talked about his daughter’s perfect (my emphasis) dating relationship with his now son-in-law. They did everything right: they discussed their intentions from the beginning, they stayed above reproach while not giving into temptation, they got advice from the right people, they dealt with their differences, they communicated effectively, they remained physically pure, etc.
As I was reading this, I was annoyed.
It’s easy to preach about a perfect, or near-perfect dating scenario when you have two apparently whole human beings involved, with family, mentors, and friends who’ve got your back, also involved. Call me crazy, but I know a lot of people who love Jesus but don’t have the support this couple had, don’t have the familial love this couple had, don’t have the resources this couple had, and don’t have the Jesus-loving, parent-loving, friend-loving, and unconditional love I assume this couple had as children, adolescents, and now adults. So then, how do you preach this message of an awesome, perfect, whole, pure courting relationship to a screwed up generation of Christians? (or at least Christians who come from a screwed up past)
I get what the author was saying…he was bragging about how proud he was of his children and their way of dating. He was proud that they were able to do it better than he was. And it is admirable. But just because you love Jesus, have chosen a pure lifestyle, read your Bible, and go to church, doesn’t mean you’ve all of a sudden forgotten about your messed up past relationships, or how terrible your father was, or all your emotional baggage you’re bringing into your Christian relationships.
So then, what message should be preached to not-so-perfect Christians? I don’t claim to have the greatest answer to this question, but I believe (I hope) that my writings are tailored more for the Christian who hasn’t come from as great of a background as this couple. In my opinion, people who have had this type of support, love, and mentorship have an easier time dating and finding a marriage partner. People who come from a strong family unit, with parents who have exemplified a beautiful marriage have an easier time falling in love. I’m just not so sure if those people are the majority of young professionals these days.
So, the message that should be preached? …
Stop letting your past dictate your present. Stop letting your fears corrupt your heart. Stop letting your worldview determine what truth is for you. Stop believing for the worst. Stop waiting for the perfect person to come along who has everything you don’t, or didn’t as a child, to rescue you or make you feel whole.
Start making decisions based on your current faith, not your past fears. Start allowing yourself to love and receive love. Start making courageous decisions to trust and forgive. Start opening your heart up to the opposite sex. Start accepting the healing and wholeness Jesus brings to your life – just because you were messed up doesn’t mean you still are. Start looking at yourself with the love and adoration of your Savior. Start forgiving yourself – for the past, present, and future. Start believing for the best.
Happy New Year everyone! Make it a good one.