Anonymous asked: Hi Uncle Glen! Let me just say that I love you. Your advice to other people always somehow minister to me and I admire your straightforwardness. You also never fail to make me laugh! I wanted advice on a situation I have with a friend right now. He and I are very close, but we both made it clear to each other that we need to focus on God right now, and that we’re becoming a distraction to each other.
We love spending time together, and we don’t do anything wrong together, but feel that our time with each other is not centered in Christ. Probably mostly because we don’t talk about Him whenever we’re together. He’s told me that recently he’s been far from God, and in some ways I’m struggling with the same. Do you think we should just stop seeing/contacting each other until we’re both good with God? Is it dangerous to be that close? [edited for length]
Unka Glen answered: I love ya right back, and I got to tell you, this situation is a real head-scratcher. On the one hand yeah, if anything is a distraction to you in your walk, then it’s time for that thing to go (Matthew 5:29). But I’m not sure I buy that the relationship is the problem here.
First of all, let’s be real about Christian dating, and Christian marriage. It isn’t about having a continuous Bible study or something. There is meant to be some time set aside for making out, and rolling around, and making cow eyes at each other and saying nice things to each other and (particularly for married Christians) getting naked and doing the no-pants dance.
Yes, it’s possible for all the lovey-dovey stuff to cut down on your focus on a lot of things, like friendships, your studies, and your walk with the Lord. But learning how to manage all those things is an important part of life. As you get older, life only gets more complicated, so you might as well start now.
Sure, if you’ve got your priorities way out of whack it makes sense in some cases to just shut down a relationship altogether and rebuild it from scratch, but regardless, it’s about developing strategies to have this relationship be part of the solution, instead of part of the problem.
So let’s say your grades are down, and you decide that for every two hours of studying you’ll reward yourself with 20 minutes of making out and snuggling. Suddenly this relationship has become a motivator instead of a distraction.
You used the word “dangerous” do describe this situation, and let’s remember this is dating, it’s not like handling live snakes or something. Mistakes will be made, and there’s almost no chance of temporary paralysis or permanent nerve damage, so we can relax. Fear does not help us navigate through life, in fact, it often gives us false indications of trouble that just isn’t there.
If you both feel far from God right now, I wonder if you both might, on some level deep down, feel resentful, that following God means not being able to be with each other. And here’s the deal: I think there’s a right way to do this thing that God would smile on.
Invite God to be present in your time together. It may feel odd if you’re not used to doing this, but what’s a little bit of an odd moment compared to building something special? Start by just praying together. It doesn’t have to be anything special or according to some formula, just pray.
Then start talking about your walk together, find out, for the both of you, why you feel far from the Lord. Talk it out, and peel away the layers. Once you feel like you’ve helped each other figure out the next steps to take, you hold each other accountable and move forward. If you can minister to each other like this, I’d say you’re ready to date.
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