The Boys' Growing Up in the Lord

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Question

Hello,

I am in desperate need. I've got three questions to ask, so I'll start with this one. First off, I'm not very old; I'm not in high school yet. So, the way I see things may be different from your perspective. Anyway, there's this girl I met about three months ago. I've fallen in love with her, and I've been dating her since. I have plans of marrying her, but I have one problem -- she isn't Christian; she believes in reincarnation. I know the Bible says that one should not be unevenly yoked with a non-believer, but I don't want to leave her. I really love her, and I don't want her to go to hell if she dies. I don't ever want to leave her. I want her to go to heaven with me! I'm so confused. What do I do? 

My second question: I'm dating her online, so I can't really explain it to her in person. I do want to meet eventually and marry. Is it bad to date online?

My third question: She is two years older than me and will be graduating from high school just as I'm becoming a sophomore. Neither of us have a problem with our ages, but is it bad to have an age difference?

Please, I really need help. Especially with the first question! Please and thank you.


Answer

Congratulations in finding someone you are interested in. You are right that my perspective is a bit different than yours. This is all new to you, and I've "been there, done that."

One of the things God warns about it making assumptions about the future. "Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit"; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that." But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil" (James 4:13-16). I'm guessing you have seven or eight years, minimum, before you would be in a position to be able to marry anyone. Think how much has changed in your life in the previous eight years and you might begin to see how much can happen in the next eight years. In regards to most of life there is very little that we can personally control. So while she is a strong candidate for your heart at the moment, I would like you not to fully commit yourself to any woman until a year or so before you are ready to marry.

Meanwhile, though, the desire to see anyone saved is a worthwhile goal -- girlfriend or not. You should talk to her about what you believe and why. You should encourage her to seriously consider Christianity. Whether she will listen to you is something I can't predict, but her response to being shown what God says about various matters will tell you a lot about her character.

This initial phase in meeting a girl is really a chance to get to know them as a person. You should eventually know what is her favorite color, her favorite song, her favorite dish, as well as the things she dislikes. What you are looking for is whether the two of you have plenty of common interests to be friends for the rest of your lives. Being a Christian is important to you, so you do need to know what her attitude toward Christians is because if she is against Christ, you two would end up with a very rocky marriage.

There is no command to Christians not to marry non-Christians. Actually, there are several passages which deal handling the difficulties that arise from being married to a non-Christian. The passage you referred to is II Corinthians 6:14-7:1. What Paul is warning against is a more general issue: don't bind yourself in any way that would cause you to compromise your beliefs. Now, that could happen in some marriages, and therefore it has to be considered. For example, a Christian marrying a woman who likes to frequent bars and periodically gets drunk could cause him to violate his commitment to Christ. "Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles -- when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries" (I Peter 4:1-3). It is hard enough to get to heaven without having a spouse pulling you in the wrong direction.

People use words like "dating" too loosely in modern times. I guess it is to be expected. English constantly changes and evolves, but in the transition leaves inaccurate impressions. And I expect a part of it is our societies drive to claim to get to certain points in a relationship faster. "Dating" literally means when you set future times to met each for activities. You set dates when you plan to do something. Since you having met yet in person, you technically haven't been setting dates to do things together. Eventually you will, if you remain interested in each other. Right now you are friends and expect to become better friends as you get to know each other. You have an eight year plan in mind, so don't be in a rush. "I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles or by the does of the field, do not stir up nor awaken love until it pleases" (Song of Solomon 2:7). The point is that if you try to rush love, you'll lose it, like trying to run up to a deer.

Getting to know someone online is just a modern way of communicating. In the past it was done by sending letters. But in both methods there is a danger if you deal with someone who is not honest. It is too easy to pretend to be someone you are not behind the mask of words. Video chats are a bit better. At least you can see the other person's body language and hear the tone of her voice to know when her words don't exactly match what she is saying.

Modern technology presents other temptations that you have to guard against. Because we view the communications over the Internet as being private (though they really are not), it is easy to fall for the trap of thinking you can do inappropriate things because no one will know. Then too, most young people know they shouldn't have sex, but they convince themselves that is it safe to talk about or portray sex with people who are not physically there. God calls this type of behavior lewdness and lust. Substituting one sin for another doesn't make you a better person.

The different in your age is more significant now than it will be when you are near an age to be married. The reason is that you are both maturing -- physically and mentally. Add to that the fact that girls mature faster than boys and you will be finding periods when her interests and yours are going to diverge for a while simply because you are not going to be looking at the world the same. But if you realize this and are willing to view this as a long term possibility instead of a short term absolute, then this relationship might grow until you are both ready for marriage.

I suspect that your desire to talk about marriage with her is more because you are afraid of losing her and you want to lock your commitment to her now. You need to have more trust that if this is the right person for you, then things will work out on their own without you having to tie someone up with their words. Take your time; see what develops; and don't let your emotions interfere with you making a good decision.

Thank you. I will take in mind these things, and I will try as best as possible to follow them.