When I was a teenager, I made the brief mistake of dating an unbeliever. I was sure about my faith in Jesus Christ, but the attraction of a girl I met at school melted my resolve. Fortunately this foolish mistake did not last more than a few dates because my mother wrote me a lengthy letter explaining the error of my ways. I read it and immediately heeded her biblical counsel.
Spiritual Compatibility is Crucial
I met Susie in Bible college in 1993 and we married in 1995. We have served in ministry together for the whole of our dating and marriage years, and have been the primary spiritual influencers over one another’s ministry and walk with Christ. The last 25 years has taught us how crucial spiritual compatibility is. That is why we are often burdened when Christians choose to date unbelievers, and we are doubly perplexed when Christian parents remain silent. The Scriptures are clear that friendship with the world is enmity against God (Jam. 4:4), and that Christians are not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers (2 Cor. 6:14). These passages have broad application beyond marriage, but since dating leads to marriage and there is no greater human friendship or yoking than marriage, Christians should only date maturing Christians.
As with any sin, there are multiple-albeit unoriginal-excuses that believers offer to justify this behaviour. They include:
- “It’s a great evangelistic technique!”
- “Without me, my date will be turned off of Christianity.”
- “My date believes in God too.”
- “They have better morals that many believers I know.”
- “I can’t find anyone else.”
These excuses all serve two purposes: to justify blatant disobedience to God, and reveal several personal flaws.
Dating Unbelievers Reveals That:
- I’m a poor thinker: I live in the moment with little foresight, my Christian worldview is under-developed, and/or I am ignorant of Scripture.
- I don’t pray: Since prayer is an act of surrender to God’s will (Matt. 6:10), and God never wills error, dating unbelievers proves that I have not consulted God.
- I don’t obey the Bible: Under both covenants, God showcases the godliness of believers marrying believers only (Ez. 10:10; 1 Cor. 9:5) .
- I don’t believe God is good: The root of every sin is questioning or denying God’s goodness (Gen. 3). When we sin we ignore God’s good plan and live by our own dangerous ideals.
- I don’t love my date: The believer unlovingly robs the unbeliever from seeing the beauty of God’s Word lived out. How unloving is that?
- I’m okay being a bad example: Humans tend to mimic each other. When you compromise your values, others will too.
- I don’t love God: Anytime we disobey God we express our disdain for him.
- I’m not a spiritual leader: When a relationship is founded on an act of disobedience it reveals a man’s inability to lead and a woman’s disinterest in following a godly leader.
- I don’t trust God: Choosing to usurp God’s authoritative Word for lack of “available prospects” proves you don’t trust him to provide in his timing.
- I’m willing to ruin my future children’s lives: Since dating leads to marriage, and marriages produces children, dating unbelievers is a choice to expose children to weak faith.
- I enjoy compromise: Dating unbelievers mixes morals, quenches the Spirit, and shuns the advice of the church leaving plenty of room for moral compromise.
- I enjoy confusion: Compromise always leads to confusion as one’s beliefs and practices collide. In this state, confusion increases and affects the whole of life.
God’s plan for our lives is beautiful and flows from the heart of a God who loves us and desires to bless. I cannot imagine how different my life would be had I continued my wayward path so many years ago. I would have denied myself a godly marriage, godly children, ample opportunities to glorify God, and a life of peace. While obedience is not always pleasant in the moment, when we follow God’s instructions we will eventually be richly rewarded.