Christian youths – even young teens – have been following the worldly practice of dating, which is thoroughly unbiblical. Many seem to be totally unaware of the dangers of “dating”. Now, what is biblically wrong about modern “dating”?
Generally, what is called “dating” today refers to the maintaining of a romantic relationship with someone of the opposite sex. To an increasing number of youngsters in our society, dating is simply “having fun” with someone of the opposite sex, with no strings attached. In Singapore, dating is becoming common even among young teens in secondary schools. The dating activities of youths in tertiary educational institutions frequently involve booze, drugs, going on holidays together, sexual intercourse, etc.
Dating is largely patterned after the lifestyles portrayed by the entertainment world in movies and suchlike. It is a relationship based on sensual feelings and fantasies. In dating, friendships are struck up through fleshly attractions, such as good looks, a cute smile, an amorous voice, sensual appearance, flirtatious speech and behaviour, fashionable and trendy attire, a groovy car, etc.
Even Christian youths begin dating on the basis of such sensual appeal. Christian couples, who date much like the world, fall into many spiritual, moral, emotional and social problems. Dating opens the youths to temptations of sin. Improper sexual conduct, sin and a damaged testimony often plague such youths. That’s not all. More troubles and evils will ensue – disappointment, depression, guilt, shame, quarrels, resentment, vengeful spirit, etc. Furthermore, the relationships with parents and friends will likely also become tumultuous.
When a dating couple agree not to date others and stay together for an extended period of time, they are considered as “going steady”. They become attached romantically, emotionally, and often sexually. They often behave like a married couple. However, it does not have the commitment of a faithful marriage relationship. Their relationship is generally unstable and unpredictable. It is a phoney, sensual liaison – a counterfeit marriage relationship! Then when the boy or girl gets bored with the relationship, or becomes suspicious of the other, or catches the other cheating, or simply decides that someone else is more desirable, the relationship is ended.
Unsurprisingly, dating is so often a temporary, flirtatious rather than a permanent, godly relationship. Many of those dating relationships do not end up in marriage. The resultant break-up often involves heartache, anger and many negative emotional consequences. Although some “succeed” only after going through several dating experiences, they often manifest the distasteful experiences of distrust, suspicion, anxiety, etc. which have been engendered by their string of failed dating relationships. It is not uncommon that such marriages end up on the rocks.
Dating, which is founded on worldly principles, promotes fornication and destructive behaviour among young people. Hedonistic attitudes maintained in such relationships, which drive one to be obsessed with deriving as much pleasure out of life as possible, engender disrespect and ill-treatment, as well as desensitise moral discernment. The resultant marriages are much like houses built upon sand, ready to collapse.
The apostle Paul viewed very disapprovingly those who conducted themselves in an impure and sensual manner. He warned the Corinthian church, “And lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and that I shall bewail many which have sinned already, and have not repented of the uncleanness and fornication and lasciviousness which they have committed” (2 Corinthians 12:21). This shows that in the Corinthian church, some members had been living sensually. Paul was appalled and mindful that such members who conducted themselves in a sensual and worldly manner would bring shame to the Lord and His church. It is utterly humiliating to a godly congregation when some members live in worldliness and in fornication. Paul spared no effort in warning against the destructive effects of fornication: “Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand” (1 Corinthians 10:8); “Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body” (1 Corinthians 6:18). Do realise that a life of fornication not only destroys relationships, but also one’s emotional, mental and physical health!
Dear youths, do not engage in the worldly kind of dating. Let every young Christian know that “this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication” (1 Thessalonians 4:3). God’s Word clearly admonishes us in Colossians 3:5-6 to “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: for which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience”. Dearly beloved, keep yourselves unspotted from the world and worldly trends (cf. James 1:27) – especially regarding “fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints” (Ephesians 5:3)!