Friday, March 17, 2006

Attitudes Towards Christian Singletons

For the last couple of weeks I've been having it a little rough at church. There has been a great deal of focus on marriage... we have had a few couples coming in for the reading of their wedding bans. It's always the prayers that get me. On the first occasion the couplers were prayed for, the person doing the prayers pointed out the blessings that married couples experience and how they wished all those blessings to be passed to the couples in their futures together. All well and good in itself, except for the fact that everyone in the building was married or engaged except for a male student, a schoolgirl and... me. Last week was worse because the visiting preacher prayed for couples who are planning to get married, newlyweds and for those who are struggling in their marriage.

None of that I have a problem with... except for the notable exclusion of praying for people who AREN'T in a relationship at all. Apparently for some reason us it appears that single people are often not counted as entities when in fact our needs are just as valid as people who are in couples. I would argue that some (not all) people in troubled relationships need to count their blessings. So long as they are with the right person, what they have been given is an incredible gift. Those of us who have been denied such treasures know their worth.

I have been in a wrong relationship and I have learned the value of solitude; yet I have also seen people in right relationships and have learned by gazing from outside the window, the value of true companionship between two people who love one another. This is all the more obvious to me having had proper, balanced love withheld from me when I was dating the wrong person.

Instead of lecturing one another or bitterly complaining from the sanctity of our respective pedestals about how we think others should behave or what they should realistically expect from life, we should look to how we can positively help their situation through prayer or practicality. We would do well... all of us - wherever we are, to mark Paul's words to the Colossians:

"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." Colossians 3:12-17

Because compassion is a rare commodity and we need it these days more than ever! We need hearts of flesh and blood, not hearts of stone... that are beaten down with "compassion fatigue".

We need to mutually recognise one another's blessings and struggles if we are to help one another move on.

Bear with one another.



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