Relationships: How To Spot the Wrong One

How to Determine if You’re Dating
The Right One

In this day and time, people oftentimes consider themselves lucky if they can find someone to date them, regardless of whether the relationship is a good fit for them. This ideology can be destructive towards us, because it will keep us feeling stuck in relationships that will drain us and make us develop a negative outlook towards the concept of love. This practice is even more detrimental to Christians, for an unfit relationship can cause them to be led astray from their faith in God, and therefore destroy every other aspect of their life in it’s wake. So, how can we as Christians determine if the person we’re in a relationship with could be the right one? Well, we compare their actions to what the Bible says about love.

What is Love?

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

 Love never fails.


-1 Corinthians 13:4-8

The above verses are often read aloud at wedding ceremonies, and are featured in romantic films such as one of my personal favorites, A Walk to Remember; however, many people love to recite those words, reveling in the fact that it’s a cute love quote rather than taking the words to heart as God intended. Today, we’re going to review how love is defined in these verses, and determine how to spot a relationship that fails to align with these guidelines.

Love Is Patient, Love is Kind

Truly loving someone requires constant patience and kindness. Sure, your significant other may test you sometimes with being late, saying something out of the way, or doing something that you disagree with. Nevertheless, at the end of the day, if you truly feel love for this person, you will wait for them, even if you don’t feel like it. You will be understanding when they mess up. And, you will do these things with a good attitude.

Now, let’s consider this from your significant other’s actions. Does he/she exhibit patience and understanding with you when you fall short of what they expect, or do they approach you with hostile words?

Warning Signs:

  • Quickly growing angry when they have to wait on you
  • Constantly making rude remarks

Love Does Not Envy, Love Does Not Boast, Love Is Not Proud

Truly loving someone also requires that one will not exhibit jealousy over the other relationships that their significant other has or has had in the past. For example, if your significant other likes to spend (a reasonable amount of) time with their friends, you should allow them to enjoy that freedom without complaining that their friends are intervening with your time together. True love also does not boast, and is not proud. Boasting/exhibiting a proud nature in a relationship comes in the form of being too busy bragging about your own accomplishments than magnifying the accomplishments and strengths of your significant other.

Going back to your significant other, let’s consider their actions. Is he/she envious of your relationships with others, even non-romantic ones? Does he/she spend a lot of time bragging on themselves, while only pointing out your flaws?

Warning Signs:

  • They constantly exhibit jealousy over your friends/family/exes
  • They forbid you to interact with certain others
  • They place themselves on a pedestal
  • They constantly blame others and never accept their own mistakes

Love Does Not Dishonor Others, It Is Not Self-Seeking

When you love someone, you will make a choice to not dishonor them. Dishonoring your significant other can come in the form of calling them derogatory names and talking about their flaws with others (YES this includes posting bad things about your husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend on Facebook). Love is also not self-seeking, meaning that you’re not just dating or marrying this person for personal gain. For example, someone may chose to marry someone for money.

Does your significant other often say things that are aimed to lower your self-esteem, or make you look like a criminal? Do they always seem to focus on a certain aspect about you that may have the potential to boost their standing?

Warning Signs:

  • They call you a skank (or worse versions of this word), stupid, ugly, etc.
  • They question your trustworthiness constantly, though you haven’t done anything for them not to trust you
  • They constantly take advantage of your kindess

Love Is Not Easily Angered, It Keeps No Records of Wrongs

Along with utilizing the virtue of patience, true love requires us to not become easily angered with our significant other. Loving someone with understanding and kindness does not go hand in hand with constantly being angry with them. Additionally, love keeps no records of past wrongdoings. Maybe your significant other has fallen into sin before you met, maybe they have wronged you during your relationship. However, if you truly love this person, you will be willing to love them as Jesus does… forgive and forget.

Does your significant other seem to be angry at you over every little thing? Do they keep a list of things you have done wrong, and pull them out to belittle you?

Warning Signs:

  • They pick meaningless fights
  • They hold grudges
  • They expect you to forget all of the mistakes they’ve made but keep a list of yours

Love Does Not Delight In Evil, But Rejoices With The Truth

I’m going to be completely honest here: a guaranteed red-flag in a Christian based relationship is that you or your significant other is leading the relationship into sinful actions rather than actions that honor God. In addition, if you find yourself trusting more heavily in the knowledge/approval of your significant other over that of God, you are not honoring God. True love for Christians involves encouraging one another to actively pursue a relationship with God, to live according to the standards He has set out for us, and for us to love as He has instructed us.

Does your significant other lead you to sin? Do they encourage your relationship with God, or distract you from Him?

Warning Signs:

  • Constantly overstepping physical boundaries after you have asked them to stop
  • You have stopped going/missed a lot of church since you started dating
  • You feel further away from God after spending time with them

Love Always Protects, Always Trusts, Always Hopes, Always Perseveres

Truly loving someone implies that you will always be willing to protect them from harm. This means that you will stand behind them when the world seems like it’s turning against them, that you will pray for God to help ward off the temptations or struggle in their life. Loving someone also means that you will always be willing to trust their words and actions. Lastly, loving someone involves placing your hope and persevering in the relationship. If you go into the relationship thinking that you won’t be with this person long, then you won’t; it’s just that simple. Most importantly, when you’re facing a tough situation, you’ll be willing to fight to the end with this person if you love them.

Does your significant other pray for you, in times of need or on a regular basis? Do they trust you, and can you trust them? Do they see themselves with you in the long-term?

Warning Signs:

  • They don’t pray for you
  • They act distant when you need to talk to them about your problems
  • They act like they don’t trust you
  • They always snoop through your phone/social media profiles
  • You’re stepping on eggshells wondering when it will end

LOVE NEVER FAILS

The last portion of the verse is the most significant attribute of love in my opinion: it NEVER fails. A lot of people say that they still love their ex boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife… but if what you two had together was really LOVE, it wouldn’t have failed. The person God intends for you to love in a romantic relationship that will lead to marriage will stick with you through everything, and won’t opt to end the relationship under any circumstance. They will be willing to be patient, persevere, and continually exhibit faith that God will see the two of you through your trials and tribulations. The good news? With God on your side, you’ll have nothing to worry about.

Do you and your significant other fight a lot? Is your relationship constantly on-again, off-again?

Warning Signs:

  • There are constant arguments in your relationship
  • There are many unsettled arguments/grudges
  • You feel trapped in this relationship
  • You’ve broken up and gotten back together many times
  • You often question if this person is worthy of spending forever with

Love isn’t…

If you were able to relate to a majority of the warning signs listed above, you may want to reflect on your current relationship. Are you and/or your significant other exhibiting these virtues that make up love? If you are not, or if they are not, that does not necessarily mean that you should break up immediately. If your relationship isn’t living up to love’s standards, yet you have feelings for this person, read these verses together for what they are. Attempt to resolve your relationship by living by these standards and making God your center focus. If one of you has a hard time adapting, then by all means, end it. Being able to say you have a boyfriend/girlfriend isn’t worth feeling unloved, especially if it’s leading you away from God.

Goodnight, and God bless!

-Allyson 😀

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Edit and Save

Over the last week, I’ve been doing a lot of editing on one of the novels I’ve been writing.  I’ve been working on this novel for several years, and I just realized about a year ago that I no longer liked the direction it was taking.  Therefore, I’m now taking the initiative to edit the work I’ve done so far, and rewrite the parts that I wish to change.  Throughout the editing process, I can’t help but think of the fact that Jesus goes through the same type of process with us once we ask for forgiveness.

Editing

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” -2 Corinthians 5:17

Jesus begins the editing process in us whenever we accept His gift of eternal salvation, which we can do by asking Him to cleanse us of our sins and guide us in our daily lives.  Whenever we ask Jesus to do this for us, He talks to God and makes intercessions for us, and works with us to transform our behavior from that of a lost sinner to that of a new creature in Christ.  The editing process for new Christians is not an easy one, due to the fact that Jesus will guide you through some extreme changes to keep you from falling back into sin, if you ask Him to do so.  For example, if you are friends with people who are involved in drugs and alcohol, Jesus will work with you to end those relationships.  It may seem as if you’ve lost a lot whenever you delete these friendships; I know that’s how I sometimes feel when I delete a portion of a story that no longer works with my new plot ideas.  Nevertheless, whatever we lose will be no where near as wonderful as what we will gain through Christ.

“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
-Romans 8:18

Saving

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”
-Romans 10:9

The word Salvation literally means “a source or means of being saved from harm, ruin, or loss.”  Therefore, while Jesus is editing out our old sinful behavior, He is also saving the work He’s doing every step of the way.  Whenever we ask Jesus to forgive us from our sins, He doesn’t forget about His promise the next time we mess up, and doesn’t revoke our salvation privileges when we sin again, no matter which sin it is.  Jesus remembers the fact that we’ve asked Him to come into our lives and transform them, and that acknowledgement stays with Him forever.  No, this does not give us the right to sin as we please once we ask Jesus for salvation; that’s where the editing process comes in.  As long as Jesus knows that deep down we fear the judgment of God and truly want to live to please God despite our slip-ups, then He will always be willing to continue cleansing our sins.

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” -John 5:24

We Can’t Do This Ourselves

The thing about life is that we can’t go back and edit our pasts ourselves.  If we could, there would be many people I would go back and avoid talking to in my past,  and I would lead myself away from situations that have caused me to sin against God.  But, we don’t have that ability for a reason.  God allows us to go through difficulties and sin in order to show us that we need to rely on Him and His guidance instead of our own.  God doesn’t let us have the power to edit and save our own lives, because that’s the very reason He sent Jesus to die on the cross years ago.

 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
-John 3:16

Sometimes, we’re going to think about our pasts and cringe with regret, wishing we could go back and change what happened ourselves.  If you are a born-again believer in Jesus Christ, don’t fret, for He has already done that for you!  Jesus has edited your heart and saved your soul, so you no longer have to worry about all of the evidence of sin you’ve left behind in the past, because He has deleted it from your file once you asked for salvation!

 

Good night, and God bless!

-Allyson 😀

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The Brainwashing Myth

Yes, I am a Christian.

No, I was not brainwashed.

A common misconception about Christianity is that Christians are members of a cult who have been brainwashed into believing in the gospel by the generations that came before them.  As a Christian, I can testify this ideology to be false, as I made the decision to follow Christ on my own at the age of eight.  Naysayers may be thinking, “well, I’ve heard of people getting beat with the Bible if they chose not to believe,” or, “my parents kicked me out of the house because I don’t agree with their Christian beliefs.”  To that, I have one thing to say:  people who actually do force the gospel on others and give them the ultimatum to either believe or be hated are NOT true followers of Christ, and therefore are a false representation of what the gospel truly is.  The gospel doesn’t call us to “brainwash”.  The gospel calls us to be servants of Christ.

It’s Their Choice to Believe, Not Ours to Make For Them

 

“But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife.  And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.
-2 Timothy 2:23-26

If you have a close relationship with someone who confesses to you that they do not believe in salvation through Jesus Christ, it can be difficult to accept their decision.  You will want to try your best to convince them that they are wrong for rejecting Christ.  You may get offended when they make fun of your belief in God.  You may get angry if they decide to argue against the fact that God exists.  Nevertheless, under the circumstances, it is imperative that you keep your composure.

Let’s refer back to the verse above:

“A servant of the Lord must not quarrel, but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition…”

If we want to make a difference in the life of a non-believer, let’s start by planting a seed of God in them by mirroring the actions of Jesus instead of letting Satan rile us up.  When a non-believer sees a Christian become irate if someone doesn’t agree with them, it reinforces the stereotype that Christians like to beat the gospel into one another; however, if a non-believer is offered the gospel in a respectful way, they will notice the light of Christ in the believer, and the seed may be watered.

“…if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.

When you’re gardening, if you go through all of the motions to plant a seed and then snatch it back out of the ground seconds later, there is absolutely no chance of you reaping a crop.  The seed has been forced away from its decision to either produce a crop or remain dormant, which has rendered it dormant forever.  Conversely, if you take the time to properly plant the seed, water it, tend to it, care for it, then you at least have a chance of garnering something from it later.  Of course, the seed still has a possibility of remaining dormant, but at least you’ve provided it with the opportunity to accept life if it so chooses.

*Cough* The same thing applies to spreading the gospel!!!! *Cough*

If the plant is to grow, it will grow under the right conditions, i.e. God allowing someone to come to their senses about Him.  On the other hand, some seeds will remain seeds forever.  Some plants won’t grow; that’s just a fact of life.

But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.”
-2 Corinthians 4:3-4

As Christians, we are called to minister to those who are lost.  By answering this call of duty, we have to realize that we are not called to force this belief on non-believers by attacking their beliefs, growing angry with them, or showing hatred towards them.  When I was little, I remember watching a cartoon that stated that plants need sunshine, water, and love in order to grow.  Nowhere in that equation does it say that we need to beat non-believers with the Bible in order to get them to believe in God.  Instead, let’s use love, and hope that God will see fit to provide the sunshine and water for the non-believer to be able to grow in their belief in Him.

Goodnight, and God bless!

-Allyson 😀

 

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