03 Oct Insensitive to Singles?
The following article was sent to me by one of my sons and I thought it contained some helpful insights and advice. We have many, many singles in our church. Some by choice and some not by choice.
I think it would be a good growth step if we could all become a little more aware and therefore sensitive to how we talk with one another, how and when we ask questions and what statements we make without thinking.
I would suggest another area that we need to think more carefully about before we speak is when married couples don’t have children. So many ignorantly, press and joke about ‘when is it your turn?’ or ‘why aren’t you having children?’, or ‘whats wrong with you guys?’.
Many a couple has had many tears shed as they would love to have children or another child, but are unable. The last thing they need is their church family adding to their pain.
Plus – while I am on a roll, to those having a baby, be excited, share the good news, enjoy these days, but please be sensitive to those around you who may not be able to have a child.
Anyway, back to the blog entry on being single.
Well I don’t know about you but I find that to be a rather strange question; which isn’t to say I haven’t heard it before. In fact, such a strange question really deserves an equally strange answer. “Because my parents said I can’t date till I’m 30 and I’m only 19;” “because I have multiple brothers with multiple guns;” “Oh, I actually have a wretched personality;” or my personal favorite; “Because I have a significant-other killing disease. I got it from a black-window-spider”.Those answers are, of course, ridiculous. But like I said, the question itself is strange; especially coming from older more mature Christians. In fact, it can be frustrating and encourage young people to sin. Let me explain.So, you have a Christian young person (let’s call her Sally) who is doing her utmost to live for Jesus. She knows she’s getting older but she also believes that God only has good plans for His children even if it’s difficult. She knows she doesn’t need a boyfriend to fulfill her, she only needs God, and so she lives her life trying to trust God’s wisdom even though she doesn’t understand why He’s saying “no” to her when it seems like all her friends are dating.
Then she goes to church.
At church the older people politely ask her how the youth retreat went and if she “met any nice men” to which she replies “oh yes, lots.” She smiles and excuses herself to talk to her friends, three of which are wearing engagement rings and talking about their weddings. This is fine. Weddings are nice. Then one asks her if she would like to take a “special date” and another offers to change the table seating so Sally can meet her cute cousin. Sally replies that she will be coming alone and she would prefer not to be set up. She drives home from church, thankful to hear a sermon on God’s providence and upset because she seems to think He somehow messed up with her; not that she would ever say that.
You see, church kids are told from the time they’re small that God has everything in control and He loves His children and has only good plans for them. Most of them probably have Romans 8:28and Jeremiah 29:11 memorized. They know they are to live by faith and not by sight and to be content with God.
It can be very hard to believe God’s promises when older Christians who you respect are always pressuring you not to be content with your portion. If you are an older Christian do you suppose that a 28 year-old girl (who isn’t to ask guys out because they should “take the lead”) is encouraged in her walk with God when you ask her where her boyfriend is? She’s probably asking God the same question. She’s probably wondering why her path is a lonely one and why everyone seems to think she isn’t a complete person until she walks down the aisle in a white dress. When you ask young people why they’re still single it helps them believe the lie that there is something wrong with their lives, in fact there must be something wrong with God’s plan for them. God must be wrong. This is the lie Satan fed to Adam and Eve and it’s a lie people are still believing today.
Rather than ask young people why they’re still single (because you already know the answer is that God has a better way for them to glorify Him right now than if they were dating) ask them about their lives. Ask what they think about things, how they’re growing in godliness, how you can pray for them. And encourage them.
If you are single you should know that people generally don’t mean to be destructive with their questions about your singleness. Everyone loves a good love story especially when it involves someone they love. But you should also know that being single is not a curse, it’s not a disease, and it does not make you less of a person (or a Christian) because you are alone. I’ll write more on that in my next post.
(It might be helpful to note that this post stemmed from several conversations that I’ve had with young ladies over the past couple months. It is written from a girl’s perspective because I’m a girl and I talk to girls. If the guys disagree with anything I’ve said or have more they would like to add on the subject they’re welcome to e-mail me. I should also point out that not everyone who is single struggles with being asked about it. And, it’s not only 28-year-olds who feel pressure; 16-year-olds do too.)