“It’s a love/hate relationship between those two…” How many times have you heard that saying? We see this kind of emotion played back and forth between our favorite movie characters as well. Things start off all butterflies and roses, a relationship starts to grow, it get stronger, then, one of the people involved messes up, and the relationship begins to go south. Some recover, some do not. How can you, as a Christian teen, know when to recover this relationship, and when to let Mr. So-and-So take a walk?
In the book of Ecclesiastes, there is a beautiful passage that reminds us that everything in our lives will have its own time and place. One sentence reads: “A time to love, and a time to hate” (Ecclesiastes 3:8). Relationships can be tough; there are temptations to hurdle, and barriers to be broken down. Having a special someone in your life comes with huge responsibilities. You are called to respect yourself, God, and that someone else by keeping yourself pure and free of sexual immorality. Being in a relationship teaches you how to love someone unconditionally, but it can also cause some ugly emotions as well, such as hate, jealousy, and selfishness. Relationships are tricky, but when you search the Word, and live by the Word, you will overcome any problems that may arise if you are both committed to the Lord, and to His commands.
A time to love
The word “love” in the passage is called “Qal” and is defined as “A human love for another, a human love for God, an act of being a friend, and God’s love towards man.” Any good relationship with another should always start with this friendship type of love. It should be with someone you know and respect, and know they feel the same kind of love and respect for you. Ask yourself: is this guy a respectable one? A guy who is able to share this “Qal” type of love is likely to have a good relationship with his family, especially siblings. Hey, a guy who can put up with pesky sisters or brothers, and still manage to love and respect them is a keeper! It shows he can work through issues with those closest to him while still maintaining a good relationship with them. A guy who demonstrates this kind of love for the Lord is a keeper too. Is he a Christian, and does he outwardly show his love for the Father through the inner love he possesses?
This goes for you too. If you have a hard time loving and respecting your siblings and parents, those closest to you, how can you manage to love and respect someone who isn’t as close in a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship? If you are not a Christian in action, loving and serving your Creator, you are not ready for a relationship. God is love, if you do not know God, you do not know how to love (1 John 4:8). I believe this is why the passage in Ecclesiastes tells us that there is a special time for every season in our lives. When you are ready, you will be able to share this “Qal” kind of love with that special guy, but not until you are able to express it with those closest to you. Do not try build a relationship with someone if you cannot manage this kind of love yourself. If you do, you will try to show your “love” in a physical way, and turn to sex because you “love” your boyfriend, when in reality, you are stealing away your precious gift of virginity from your future husband, and stealing your boyfriend’s special gift of virginity from his future wife. Sex before marriage is not a gift of love, it is a sin. You become a thief and steal the most precious gift given in a marriage because of your ill-informed concept of love.
Respect yourself. Respect your boyfriend. Love him enough to stay away from temptations. Love him enough to want the best for him. Love him enough to develop a friendship that will become the basis for your relationship.
A time to hate
Ohh, hate is such a strong and passionate word. We know that we are to love all, even our enemies, but we are also called to hate certain things. If the relationship that you have found yourself in contains any of the things we are to hate, things that the Lord hates, we are to turn and run immediately, no exceptions. Proverbs 6:16-19 gives an account of the things the Lord hates. If your relationship contains these things, the “Qal” love spoken of earlier does not exist, and ties should be broken. Are there lies in your relationship? Are you or your boyfriend full of pride? Does your boyfriend devise plans for your relationship that are considered ungodly? Does he like to get into trouble? Are you choosing a wild child to rebel against your parents or the Church? Does your relationship find itself making trouble with others around you? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are involved in something the Lord your God hates. God in His mercy calls us to repentance and forgives us when we do things He hates. If your relationship truly repents of these things, and has enough maturity to work through them in a Godly way, you are on the right track. But, if your relationship was built on these things, or either one of you is unwilling to change, you must cut the ties and move on. Hate, as defined in it original form, calls us to be an enemy of these things. It’s hard to be an enemy of someone you love, but remember that we are to love our enemies, but must hate whatever they are involved in if the activity is ungodly.
So many girls think they can turn a guy with potential into someone just right for them, but I got news for ya: it cannot be done! God himself will not make someone into what He wants them to be because He has blessed us all with free will. He gives us the Word to live by, and gives us opportunities to obey the Word, but he does not do it for us. We cannot turn a guy into what we want him to be. He will either end up resenting you for not accepting him the way he is, or he will slyly trick you into thinking he is a changed man, so he can move on to get what he wants in the relationship. We are all called to spread the Word and lead others to Christ, but that doesn’t mean we need to date them all. Do not toy with the heart of a guy who does not have Christ in the center of it. If you care about him, lead Him to Christ, and patiently wait for him to develop the love with Christ mentioned above. Then, and only then, is it safe to begin to build a dating relationship.
“A time to love, and a time to hate…”
Are you in a love/hate relationship right now? Do you love that special guy, even through his imperfections? Great, that is what we should all do for one another. Does the guy accept you for who you are faults and all? That’s a good love too. The love becomes tainted, however, when both parties loose sight of God and the things He calls each of us to do. As you grow and mature, there are going to be some pretty tough decisions headed your way, and choosing to break ties with a guy caught up in ungodliness is one of the hardest. Sure you love him, you wouldn’t be with him if you didn’t feel something. As a Christian, you are called to a higher standard, and must take part in the sins no more. Relationships will have some bumpy roads, but if you have a true love built with your Father in Heaven and with those closest to you, this will help you get through those times when repentance and rebuilding is involved.