The Trouble With Evangedating
e·van·ge·da·ting 1. Attempting to date a non-Christian of the opposite sex with the intent of converting them to Christ, sharing the Gospel. (UrbanDictionary.com)
Scenario 1: Girl meets guy through a mutual friend. He’s handsome, funny, and genuine, but isn’t really interested in God, which is important to girl. Guy asks girl out. She hesitates and thinks “Should I go?”
Scenario 2: Guy gets invited to a bible study/retreat/conference by his friend, he goes, has a powerful encounter with Jesus and begins to live his life for Christ. Guy’s girlfriend has not had a similar encounter with Jesus, nor is she interested in doing so. He begins to wonder, “Can this still work?”
Scenario 3: Girl and guy are both into their faith, but guy has a life-changing event that dramatically changes his faith and he no longer believes the things he used to. Girl still desires to share in their faith, but guy is no longer interested. She begins to think the relationship is headed nowhere but is afraid to break up with him because if she does maybe he’ll lose his faith forever.
Hey reader, can you replace your name, or a friends name, with “guy” or “girl” in one of the above scenarios? I’m rarely a betting woman, but I’m going to say “yes” on this one. I’m confident in this because I’ve heard these scenarios over and over again from Catholics in the dating scene and the question is always the same “What do I do?”
Many Christians here will give you a blanket “2 Corinthians 6:14, do not be yoked with unbelievers.” Loosely translated to, “If you partner up with a non-Christian, it will never work out. The non-Christian will slow you down in your faith because they won’t be pulling their spiritual weight.” At the end of the day I certainly agree with where people are going with that, but at the same time I just don’t think it’s that black and white.
When a friend of mine first met her future spouse, he was a bit rough around the edges. He asked her out and she flat out said “no,” but because they lived in the same community their paths still frequently crossed, and his attraction to her goodness and beauty only intensified. Over time he began to see that what she desired in a man was holiness, something he hadn’t spent much time working on. It was her example that made him want to grow in holiness not just to win her heart, but more importantly for the sake of his own. Eventually they started dating and even although you wouldn’t call them “evenly yoked” at the time, he wanted more than anything to become the man she deserved and the man who could help her grow in holiness, which he continued to strive for on a daily basis.
Sometimes God uses human love and attraction to bring people closer to Him. The truth, beauty, and goodness of one person, can spur another person on to reach for something greater, but only if they are challenged to do so. The above scenarios can be sticky waters however and not something to be flippantly prayed through or ignored. If you find yourself here asking, “what should I do?”, my first piece of advice is to take it to serious prayer. Pray for the wisdom to see things clearly for what they really are. Then pray for the grace to accept God’s direction, whether it be what you want or not. Next, evaluate the situation, preferably with the help of a friend/mentor who will give you sound advice. I’ve put together the following red lights and green lights to help you know if your current or potential relationship could end in a true pursuit of love or a quick tailspin of disaster.
Red Light #1: They support your faith, but have no interest in ever pursuing a faith of their own.
Red Light #2: They only attend faith related events to please you.
Red Light #3: They pull you away from your faith.
Green Light #1: They seek spiritual growth outside of you.
Green Light #2: They have engaged in a Christian community.
Green Light #3: Their growing faith helps you grow in your faith.
At the end of the day remember, it’s God who brings about a conversion, not us. If we are trying to evangedate so we can claim the “winning” of a soul or so that we create the good, holy boyfriend/girlfriend that we can’t find, we’re bound to get burned on multiple levels. But if God is at work and is using our lives as a tool to bring about a greater good in a unique style, who are we to stand in His way? Be authentically yourself and always prayerful; God will take care of the rest.
Be saints, it's worth it!
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May 20, 2015
The Trouble With Evangedating
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