The issue of whether or not we, as Christians, should date non-Christians presents major obstacles to some of us striving to live ideal Christian lives. For single Christians, or for those of in a relationship with a non-Christian and pondering on what to do for the best, Scripture should always be the first place to seek advice.
Paul states his belief very clearly. ‘Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?’ (2 Cor 6:14)
There’s no room for doubt left here but is it that simple in contemporary society?
Why do we sometimes fall for people we feel we shouldn’t? If we do, is it a sin?
There’s no problem with having non-Christian friends. Jesus urged us to ‘Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven’. (Matthew 5:16). Being ourselves, showing the joy our faith brings to our lives only reflects positively on Christianity. Who knows, that shining light may lead more people to Jesus.
So at what point do you take a step further and discuss your beliefs with someone who you have feelings for?
Only you can make that call but the earlier in a burgeoning relationship you explore your faith, the better. Putting off the inevitable may cause problems further down the line.
‘Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment’’ (Matt 22:37-38)
Do we compromise that commandment by becoming romantically involved with a non-Christian? Do we place a barrier between ourselves and God?
If we don’t wish to preach to them or enforce our views, we risk a chasm developing as our Christian life becomes a completely separate entity from our relationship. Yet, therein lies a problem. As Christians we are called to be Christians at all times; our faith isn’t something that can be put into a box and taken out when it’s ‘safe’.
By tempering our faith do we not diminish it?
Do we live in hope that one day they will become Christians too and everything will be ‘right’?
Paul cautions ‘But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned’ (1 Cor 2:14).
The issue of Christians dating non-Christians is highly emotive. Some of us may be aware of couples where the relationship works well where one is a non-believer. Equally, some may be able to cite examples to the contrary.
Throw into the mix the clear statement that we become ‘one flesh’ when we marry (Mark 10:7) and we’re adding to the minefield.
It’s also another matter completely if you and your spouse were both non-Christians when you first married but one of you has converted since. Here, the Bible is very clear.
‘But to the rest I, not the Lord, say: If any brother has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her. And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy. But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But God has called us to peace. For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?’ (1 Cor 7:12-16)
The delicate issue of whether or not we should date (or marry) non-Christians is highly personal. Equally, our relationship with God is personal, the intimate details are known only to us and to God. For those grappling with just such a dilemma, all we can do is take it to Him, read the Scriptures, listen to His calling, pray and be as sure as we can that our conscience is clear and our heart at ease before God.
If only it were that simple.