Dating can be frustrating; when things don't work out, we might feel tempted to treat each other in a hateful way. Andrew Hess writes how as Christians we can overcome this temptation.
One of the challenging aspects of Christian dating is when things don’t work out the way we had hoped. Both men and women can quickly slip into excitement and anticipation over a budding, new relationship. But then, it seems, an incalculable number of things can come along and sabotage the whole thing. Dating can sometimes feels like building a house of cards on a windy day. Dating can be frustrating.
Truth be told, getting to know someone and starting to date is risky business.
The more we spend time with someone, the more we will naturally and increasingly trust them with our heart, our emotions, our happiness, etc. And it’s natural for there to be pain and frustration when things don’t work out. Maybe you've felt the desire to avoid, ignore, badmouth and even physically hurt someone you once thought of as a forever friend. Those feelings often seem justifiable in the moment, but—for Christians—reveal a shortsighted, parochial perspective.
The body of Christ should never succumb to such temptations, because our hope and happiness does not rest solely on what happens in this life, but what awaits us in the next. Several times in the New Testament, a young, persecuted church was taught to rest their hopes and dreams in the joys and happiness of Heaven.
The Bible describes Heaven as a wonderful place where all those who are saved by the blood of Christ will live together forever. Too often we forget that every Christian will live together in a perfect, loving community with God, where every person will overflow with deep, sincere love for every other person. It is a staggering thought.
Jonathan Edwards once described Heaven this way:
“There this glorious God is manifested, and shines forth, in full glory, in beams of love. And there this glorious fountain forever flows forth in streams, yea, in rivers of love and delight, and these rivers swell as it were, to an ocean of love, in which the souls of the ransomed may bathe with the sweetest enjoyment, and their hearts, as it were, be deluged with love!”
But in Heaven, all shall have as much love as they desire, and as great manifestations of love as they can bare... Such will be the sweet and perfect harmony among the heavenly saints, and such the perfect love reigning in every heart toward every other, without limit or alloy, or interruption.
I love this description of heaven. Edwards looked at passages like 1 Corinthians 13 and envisioned a Heaven where God’s love will flow like rivers of joy, drawing our own hearts to overflow with love for God and each other. It’s hard to imagine what it will be like to live in a place where everyone is full of love for you, where there is no secret jealousy or malicious thoughts. Everyone in Heaven will genuinely and deeply love you, and you will love them. We will live as a family of loving brothers and sisters forever.
It’s with this perspective we should grow in our love for our brothers and sisters in Christ now. It’s not always easy, and I can think of cases where people might push back. "What about this particular way I’ve been hurt?" I hear you. This world is full of pain, and unfortunately, brothers and sisters hurt each other here. But this world is temporary, and Heaven is forever.
So, as we deal with frustrations and disappointments in dating, let's remember that we will live together as the family of God forever. One day God will melt away all anger, hate, bitterness, distrust and resentment. We will be satisfied in God’s love, and love every brother and sister with a perfect love. Even today, we can begin to live out this heavenly reality. The Holy Spirit works to sanctify every believer's heart and fill it with love for every brother and sister now. Let’s ask Him to give us heavenly hearts as we wait for the day when we no longer need to read about the joys of Heaven, because they will be ours in abundance.
Written by Andrew Hess