The decision as to who to date is one of the most critical decisions a person can make. Many people say they are just dating for fun, or to have someone to spend time with. But, as the old saying goes, “we generally marry those we date.” Therefore, we need to be especially careful who we date.
There are those who teach that a Christian can only marry another Christian. By that they normally mean a member of the church. Unfortunately, there are many members of the church that are not making much of an attempt to live as a Christian. A Christian is one who is doing their best to follow all the teachings of Christ. Dating and marrying a Christian is always my first recommendation. But, we need to be careful just accepting church membership as the criteria.
It is important that we find someone who shares our core values. I will mention a couple of Biblical principles:
- Do not be deceived: Bad company ruins good morals. (I Cor. 15:33)
- Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? (II Cor. 6:14)
In the Old Testament the children of Israel were to marry only Israelites. They were forbidden to marry those from the nations around them. In Ezra 10:11, we read where those of Israel who had married non-Israelites were told to separate themselves from their pagan wives. We also see where one as great as King Solomon was led astray by his pagan wives.
Even though we do not have the same restrictions today as did the Israelites, we can see the wisdom in dating and marrying a Christian. However, if we can’t seem to find someone who is suitable that is a member of the church and a Christian, then we need to search for one who has the proper characteristics. One who is dependable, honest, diligent, friendly, mature, considerate, sincere, humble, and especially above all, spiritually minded.
With regard to having unsaved friends, I feel the same principles apply that I have mentioned regarding dating. However, we are not in any way forbidden to have unsaved friends. In I Cor. 5:9-10 we read, “I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world.” So, we see we cannot seclude ourselves from worldly people.
While we will associate with worldly people, we need to be careful we don’t become like them. I wouldn’t suggest that worldly people become your best friends with whom you spend most of your time, but having unsaved friends is not wrong. In fact, the best way to teach people is to spend some time with them so we can get to know them and hopefully have a good influence on them.