As your “church father”, I enjoy watching all of you growing up. I now feel the need to talk to you about an aspect of your growth.
You have reached an age at which you are discovering a new interest: the opposite sex.
At your age, your body-chemistry is very strong—sometimes stronger than all other feelings. This is specially true when it comes to the physical and emotional excitement you feel when with someone from the opposite sex.
First of all, I want you to understand that these feelings of yours are not love. You may think they are, but they are not. Most young people outgrow these early feelings. However, your heart can still get hurt. The best thing to do is to guard your heart by making sure you don’t concentrate your attention on any one person, but instead spend your time in the company of a number of young people of both sexes together.
Some of you will shortly leave home—either for studies in a college in another city or for a job. When you do, there will be a sense of new freedom. The restrictions you felt when living at home with your parents will be gone. Suddenly you will have the time and the opportunity to spend time with friends in a way you can’t while at home. Add the body-chemistry of your feelings for members of the opposite sex and you have a dangerous mix: it’s like a bomb waiting to explode.
Increasingly young people are making their own choice about whom to marry. You probably will too, rather than allow your parents to make a choice. So, as your father I would like to share some principles with you:
Let your closest friends—especially those of the opposite sex—be those who believe in Christ, because it is from this circle of closest friends that you will end up making your choice.
The Bible strongly urges that believers should not choose unbelievers for significant relationships:
Do not try to work together as equals with unbelievers, for it cannot be done. How can right and wrong be partners? How can light and darkness live together? How can Christ and the Devil agree? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? How can God’s temple come to terms with pagan idols? For we are the temple of the living God (2 Corinthians 6:14-16).
Here are the reasons for not choosing a person who does not believe in Jesus:
The deepest part of you (the “I” inside your body) is shaped by your upbringing, your family and your home. You need to remember that the other person is also shaped on the inside by his or her upbringing and background. So, if there is no feeling of agreement at the deepest level, a relationship is not really strong.
Where there are differences at the centres of two persons, sooner or later those differences (and other small differences too) become points of conflict.
Some conflict is to be expected when two independent centres (two “I”s) come together. There is a sort of tug-of-war to work out the equation and distribution of power between the two. But when the centres are totally different, the clashing will be constant or all the time. No relationship can survive that sort of continuous battle of wills.
That is why the Bible says that you as a believer should not consider making an unbeliever a partner for life.
Everyone gets into marriage thinking that trouble that came to others won’t happen to them because they are too much in love. No one goes into marriage with plans to fall out of love and break up. Everyone plans on being in love always, and being married for all their lives. So when the plans fail and the marriage breaks up, it is because they didn’t plan to safeguard their lives and their relationships.
I don’t want you to make the mistake others have made. Guard yourself against getting entangled with unbelieving friends in college or at work. If you find yourself attracted to someone who is not a believer, put an end to it by not spending any time with that person alone, and then come and talk to me. Let’s pray together.
In Christ's love,