When God shakes a local assembly...
Rachael HillMemorial Website
Male and Female Created He Them
V. THE DATING GAME - Part II - It's Effects - (or, Oneness Destroyed)
It is good for a man not to touch a woman.
- I Cor. 7:1
Flee youthful lusts . . .
- II Tim. 2:22
Keep the marriage bed holy (undefiled). . .
- Hebrews 13:4
We hope that we've shown in the previous chapter both that the assumptions of dating false as we've seen, and also that dating relationships also have unavoidable and irreversible effects upon the original purpose and plan of God.
But I can hear some thinking, "Ok, ok. So, we won't use dating to find our mate. What's wrong with us just spending time `fellow-shipping' with a brother or sister? We really do need to get to know the opposite sex!"
In the first chapters of this book, we tried to see two key purposes God had in creating man and woman. As we will see later, both are extremely important. The purpose that we want to focus on now is oneness.
We showed earlier how every man and woman, deep inside, longs for a relationship with their opposite that will be absolutely unlike any other - HOLY. And this longing is not only from God, it was to be a vehicle for bringing in His purpose for man and woman.
We also discussed how when we have a quantity of anything, the specialness, or value, or holiness of that thing is directly proportional to how many we have, or how many there are. Anything of which there are many is by nature common, un-special. Anything that is unique, one of a kind, is very special, highly valued, reverenced.
I think we have already seen that oneness is not oneness if there are two or more. There is no area where this is more true than in what God has for a man and woman.
So how does dating does destroy this oneness?
God wired man and woman to not only be attracted to one another, but to turn one another on. Forgive me for stating the obvious, but it is key to where we are headed.
Dating inherently results in the two involved being alone. Maybe not at first, but eventually. As any relationship between a man and woman develops, they will want to be alone. Why? Because there is something special, unique between them that they do not wish to share with others.
So what happens when alone? The longing to be close. It may start with a hug. But soon the hug is not enough. Then comes a long hug. Ok, for a while. Then, the leap - the kiss!
At first gentle, short. No passion. But later, a few kisses for some, many kisses for others, the kiss becomes passionate.
But maybe some of us are good at, "only going so far" and then holding up the "STOP" sign. We can go only, "so far" and then stop. We interrupt the process. For a while. But then the "Stop" sign gets moved. In reality, we think we can stop a process that in God's original intention, in the context of His proper relationship (marriage), was not meant to have to be stopped.
So, after a while the passionate kiss is not enough. Both long for more intimacy. And so it goes, until passion rules, and all the stop signs are thrown away. The two have become one. They are not married, but they are very much one, physically, as if they were.
Somehow, in the beginning, they said, "We will stop before anything happens." How naive. Who is strong enough to stop one of the strongest forces in man? I would even offer that they are trying to stop something that God created to not normally be stopped (in the proper contest of marriage)! So they are fighting creation itself! How foolish we are!
After the sexual involvement has begun, the relationship is ruled by passion. Soon it will meet a fork in the road. One path will be marriage. The other will be separation. It is inevitable. There is no third alternative. Most often, the path is separation. Disappointment. Heartbreak. Torn emotions. Deep scars. One has given all, and for what? It seems just for pain and agony.
But we do not learn.
Along comes another one who is attractive to us, so we try again. Same story. Same result. Only now there is more hurt and the damage and the scars are deeper. And some continue this pattern for many years.
Not only have the experiences that God meant to be unique, special, and holy to one man and one woman now become common, there is nothing left that is special about them.
Each one of us can remember our first kiss. Why? It was so unique, it had never happened before with another. In fact, most of us clearly remember our first of everything in a relationship with the opposite sex. God made it this way. Even if we have kissed a thousand, we remember the first.
God created a glue to hold a man and woman together once they have committed their lives to each other. It is their physical oneness. If neither has ever known another, the sticking power of that glue is beyond measure, beyond description. Broken only by death. They are flesh of each others flesh. God made it this way. It is one of marriages preservatives! Now, alas, for most of us it is lost!
When one has had a physical relationship with more than one member of the opposite sex, guess what happens to the glue? It is diluted, by at least 50%. How about three? Now the glue is only 33% as strong. Four? 25%. And so on until the glue has no holding power at all.
There is something else that happens with this divine glue. It's bond was never meant to be broken. Breaking this bond is almost always impossible - God made it that way. To do so creates deep, deep wounds and scars! Wounds and scars that God never intended. His intention was that there would be one bonding, never to be broken. So in breaking this bond, we again violate God's creation, to our own great hurt.
I know of one dear single sister in the Lord who has slept with only one man - she loved him dearly and thought they would marry. She has broken off the relationship in obedience to God, but she still is paying dearly. Because she is now one with this man, and no other, he has a hold on her emotionally and physically that is beyond description, and she suffers much from this. Why? God made us this way. The bond was not meant to be broken.
Others of us have held hands with so many, that it is not special any more. Most of us have kissed so many that it is not special any more. Some of us have had so many passionate relationships that it is not special any more. And some of us have slept with so many, that it too is not special any more. God have mercy on us. How we have destroyed that which God meant to be holy.
Dating by definition means several things. It means for one that we will try, or test, more than one and probably many relationships. Test, fail, try another. This is the pattern. And in the process, anything of oneness is lost, for it is experienced with many.
It may seem absurd today to even suggest such, but I am convinced that the very touch between a man and woman is holy. Only in very recent years has this truth been denied and rejected.
"But, we have never gotten really physical." God has somehow made the woman, that even upon the touch of a man, she is giving something of herself - something she cannot take back or replace. A touch effects a woman in ways a man cannot imagine. Brothers, we need to be careful - we can take without even knowing it. We should fear. . .to touch a woman is a holy thing we should not profane. And if a touch is holy, what about a kiss?
It is our enemy's prime focus to destroy for young believers the glorious and wonderful experience of oneness with one person chosen by God. He succeeds, before we even marry, when we indulge ourselves in many relationships in the name of finding a mate, or even just in the name of fellowship!
The first effect of dating is that it destroys oneness. How so? I know a dear servant of God who said to me, "I cannot even imagine sleeping with anyone but my wife." As a result of my history apart from Christ, I could not comprehend what he was saying. He then explained how he had never even held hands with any woman but his wife; never kissed another woman but his wife; and so on. You see, what they had was so unique, so special, so HOLY, and had been kept so from the beginning, that they could not even comprehend such things with another! When he shared this with me, something in my heart said, "This is the way God meant it to be!"
It goes without saying that the physical relationship is meant only for marriage. Why? Because it is to be something pure and holy, only between two, never more.
So we say, we have not fallen into any physical relationship in dating, we have kept ourselves pure. So, this is ok, is it not?
We must understand that there is another aspect of the relationship between a man and a woman that is to be holy as well. As we've stated, dating by definition means that we spend time alone with another of the opposite sex. We get to know one another in a way far deeper than other relationships. We often bare our souls in our longing to be close to another. And in so baring them we can become emotionally "one" in our souls even if there has been no physical relationship. Why? God made us this way.
God has so created our emotions that even in this area, completely apart from the physical, a deep oneness can develop between a man and a woman. There is a divine glue that God put here also, never meant to be diluted or broken once a bond has formed.
As with the physical, so it is with the soul. In any close relationship with a member of the opposite sex, we will inevitably come to a fork in the road - marriage or separation. And again, it is usually separation. And the soul is scared, damaged, because something was torn from it that was never meant to be. God's original design and intentions were such that once the deep oneness of the soul is established it is meant to never be severed. To so violate God's design only brings hurt, scars, and destruction that God never intended us to experience.
The church today is full of deeply damaged young people (many who are married!), who bear the scars of separations that should have never been - because the unions should have never been.
Bill Gothard has used the word "defraud" for what Christian brothers and sisters do to one another in their relationships. They take liberties with one another that truly belong only in the context of life-long commitment - marriage, and in so taking, they take something from the other that is not theirs. It feels good at the time, even right. But if the relationship is not life-long, it means that it will end. And when it ends is when the damage is done, and the defrauding is realized. We literally surgically remove from another (without anesthesia!) something of the soul that God never meant to be removed. Oh, what damage is done to one another's emotions and souls in the name of "fellowship" and "love."
There is a key principle here. In God's realm,
Continually entering into and changing relationships is simply this: It is enjoying the privileges and benefits of a relationship without paying the cost, which is commitment. It is a form of stealing, taking something we do not want to pay for. "But common consent makes it not stealing." Only in the eyes of those doing the taking. God meant that there would be cost attached to such things as close companion-ship, deep sharing, special emotional closeness, and even a touch. And we are not even speaking of the areas of physical intimacy.
Whenever we take something that God has designed to be paid with a cost, without paying the cost, we suffer.
I know a certain dear brother, now in his middle forties, who has been in and out of heart-wrenching relationships with Christian sisters for over 20 years! But never married! Each time he calls me with a new story of heartbreak, I ask myself (and sometimes him), "When will he ever learn?" I have watched him hurt, bleed, scar, then partially heal only to bleed again. How many sisters has he left with scars as well? Is it "no big deal" to us how we leave a trail of damaged and hurt brothers or sisters in the wake of our search for "the one"?
If we love our Lord, and truly love one another, can we continue to so destroy one another? Indeed, one day each of us shall give an accounting. May some of us find mercy in that day for what we have done to our brothers and sisters in the name of love.
Would I say that one will never find God's choice for a mate for them through dating? No. But how many broken relationships are left in the wake of such a search?
Would I say that one cannot date just one person in their life and that person be the one that they marry? No. Such things have been known to happen. But very rarely. Maybe one in a thousand. Maybe even less. So, what kind of gamble is one taking? For the costs involved, the chances are slim. It is like playing the lottery.
How do we avoid such damage? There is only one way that I know of. It is strong medicine. Deadly epidemics take strong cures.
In Elisabeth Elliot's wonderful book, Passion and Purity, she tells the story of psychologist Henry Brandt and his son, where Henry "forbade him to go out alone in a car with a girl. `What's wrong, Dad? Don't you trust me?' `In a car - alone at night with a girl? I wouldn't trust me! Why should I trust you?'" Our brother knew himself - but his son did not have this self-knowledge.
In John 4, it says that the disciples, upon discovering Jesus alone with the woman at the well, were surprised to find him speaking with her with no one else around. Of course, they had to be surprised to find him speaking with a Samaritan, but this was not their comment. They knew He would never do such a thing as be alone with a woman. Why? I believe that it was well known then what could develop purely in the soul between a man and woman if they were alone, and it was not considered wise or acceptable. Today we are not so wise, or we care not about the consequences.
In I Corinthians 7:1, the Lord (not just Paul) says, "it is good for a man not to touch a woman." First century Judaic prudishness? Or wisdom from above? God's Word is eternal. Even the touch between a man and woman is in God's original design, to be holy. "Let each have his own wife...or husband."
In II Timothy 2:22, we find, "Flee youthful lusts. . ." Flee is a strong word. It is usually used with running for your life from a deadly danger. It is appropriate here. Whenever we see the slightest possibility of temptation in this area coming, we should run for our lives. Why? Because God knows far better than we the forces with which we are dealing.
"Keep the marriage bed holy (undefiled)."
- Hebrews 13:4
This refers only to married folk, right? Wrong.
We make unholy the marriage bed by giving ourselves its privileges without marriage! We can actually defile the marriage bed long before we ever marry, making its holiness a small thing in our eyes, thinking it is no big deal to partake of intimacies God deigned as HOLY - special, reserved, set apart, unique. May the Lord help us.
I would not forbid an unmarried man and woman being alone together - but I would strongly advise caution and wisdom - and restraint. The issue again here is oneness.
What God is after is that each man and woman would have only one such relationship in their lives, that it be truly holy and pure in all respects.
So we have to ask the question, what is the effect of entering into numerous emotional or physical relationships with members of the opposite gender?
Though it is "pleasurable for the moment," it steals from us the very holy, special, and unique oneness that God has designed to exist in one relationship only - marriage. And the result is that when we do marry, we cannot experience the wonderful uniqueness God has planned for us - we end up with a marriage experience far less that what God intended.
Why? Because there is a law of the spiritual realm that we cannot break: we can have something now, illegitimately, and think we are gaining but really suffer lose; or we can wait until God's time and receive all the good that He has for us in a thing. We cannot have both. May we find grace from Him to wait.
By nature, men are normally not as emotionally sensitive as women. Because of this, they more easily enter into and exit out of relationships than most women. This same lack of sensitivity in men will tend to cause many of them to want to reject what we have been sharing in this chapter.
Not realizing how they effect women, especially in relationships that they consider "just friends", they often leave trails of hurt women in their path, while remaining totally oblivious to what they are doing. A fewer percentage of women are "wired" this way as well.
The spiritual believer who truly wants to glorify his or her Lord in all that he or she does cannot be so insensitive or selfish. He or she must come to the place to where it is seen that to really put the other (sister or brother in Christ) first, one must not be so casual with other's emotions and soul. Indeed, he or she must come to the place of keeping every member of the opposite sex at a "holy" distance, denying self that another might not be hurt or damaged by an involvement or attachment that would come to an end. May God give grace to each of us.