Pastor Kevin Sanders

"He must increase, but I must decrease." -John 3:30

Relationships: The Two Commandments

I believe much of the Bible’s relationship advice for singles can be summed up in two commandments.  Here they are:

1. BE PURE
2. BE WISE

The Bible doesn’t really give specific instruction on dating/courtship.  But it has a lot to say about purity and wisdom.  These principles have everything to do with love and romance!

Be Pure

I’m talking about sexual purity—the Bible’s commandments to abstain from sex outside of marriage.

Consider these verses:

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.
–Genesis 2:24

Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.”
-1st Corinthians 6:16

It is God’s will that you . . . should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable . . . he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit.
-1st Thessalonians 4:3-8

2. Be Wise

Wisdom is the ability to make good life decisions.  The Bible is full of admonitions to live and choose wisely:

Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.
Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the LORD and shun evil.

-Proverbs 3:5-6

Above all else, guard your heart,
for it is the wellspring of life.

-Proverbs 4:23

Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you:
Do not arouse or awaken love
until it so desires.

-Song of Solomon 8:4

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise . . .
-Ephesians 5:15

The Two Commandments at Work

I think 90% of students’ (and singles’) relationship problems are a matter of purity or wisdom (or a combination of the two).

Let’s say a young woman is being pressured to have sex by her boyfriend.  We clearly have a purity issue.  In order to stay pure, she needs to “flee youthful lusts” (2 Timothy 2:22) and end this relationship immediately.

Now, suppose a young man tells me he’s madly in love.  Upon further questioning, he reveals he’s never met his “girlfriend” in person—he’s “in love” with a textmate.  Well, we have a wisdom issue here—it is foolish to profess love for someone you’ve never met in person.

The scenarios are often more complex than the ones I’ve just mentioned.  Regardless, it usually boils down to issues of purity and/or wisdom.

I’ve been teaching these two commandments to our students.  They are easy to remember, and (hopefully) it will help them to apply biblical principles to dating/courtship.

23 Comments

  1. I agree with your post! Being pure and wise are two great advice for singles or even those who are in relationships but not married yet.

    But I also think that your example about falling in love with a textmate being unwise, that would depend on the situation. Wisdom is good, but it depends on the situation. Not everybody’s stories are exactly the same. Am I making sense? 🙂

    Good post!

  2. IF he met her through texting but they’ve met IN PERSON, fine.

    If anyone is claiming to be in love based on texting alone, I call that foolish. I think it is foolish to claim you are in love with someone you’ve never met in person.

  3. Pure and Wise: great advice for ANY situation – love or otherwise.

  4. Hi Aubrey,

    I saw that story, and I may eventually write a post about it.

    I’m really skeptical about this kid being the father. He looks like he is nowhere near puberty.

    Regardless of the details, it is a really sad story.

    Thanks for stopping by.

  5. I would say long distance relationships are not very wise but it does work for some.

    I’ve a friend who had a relationship with a guy she hadn’t met yet, became his fiancee even and when he came, they got married and she’s happy. and this was at the time when there were no texting, no internet in the Philippines yet, they just communicated through snail mail.

    and I know of stories where you meet the guy and you marry the guy and you discover he isn’t what you thought of him.

    Although I’d agree there’s danger and a lot of risks involved in relationships developed thru the net or texting, you really can’t say but it’s still best to be safe.

  6. Guys,

    The issue is not having a relationship that started online (or through texting). The issue is not long distance relationships.

    The issue is claiming to love someone you’ve never met in person (based 100% on texting/chatting, etc). This is unwise.

  7. PS–Thanks for reading and commenting guys!

  8. I understand your point of view, Kevin, about “claiming to love someone you’ve never met in person”. But I also believe that that IS possible. For example, I have a friend who is in love with someone he met via a mutual friend, but they have not met yet. I don’t discount that they love each other. And they ARE going to meet – just not yet. So I still think it depends on the situation. Not everybody’s stories are similar.

  9. Mabuhay Kevin!

    I just read your post and thought it was an interesting read.

    I am not an expert in love relationships, but I would like to state my opinion here.

    I think it would help us to understand further on these matters if you elaborated a little on your points. I understand simplicity is good, but it would help clear the air on some matters (like the be wise portion). I see many people stating that text relationships are in existence and that (some) work. Perhaps you could explain further what you mean, then you need not elaborate further in your comments. 😉

    Have a good week!

  10. Adelynne,

    I don’t have a problem with people meeting online. And I think it’s fine to say “this really has potential,” even if you haven’t met in person.

    But I think it is unwise to say you are in love with someone you haven’t met in person. Is it possible? I guess so. Is it wise? I don’t think it is.

    Keep in mind, this is just an example I’m using–there are many ways to be foolish in relationships.

    Mariposa,

    Thanks for reading. More elaboration to come in future articles. You may want to go back and read other articles labeled “for women” to see some of my other thoughts on relationships.

  11. I think we must use our heart and mind at the same time. I guess anyone will be able to differentiate true love and virtual love. Yes, it may seem foolish to love someone who you have not meet but love sprouts by any means.. this might start a beginning of relationship that is
    both pure and wise. let’s not be close-minded about this. 🙂

    by the way, pls define wisdom. How can you say one is wise? Define foolishness.

  12. Germaine,

    I have no problem with someone saying he “likes” a chatmate or is “interested” in a textmate. But I have a problem with someone claiming to be in love when he hasn’t even met her in person.

    I’d say wisdom is the ability to make good choices which produce good long-term consequences. Foolishness is the opposite.

  13. hello kuya kevin, would you mind to give me the permission to post this on my blog? we’re friends on multiply kuya.. thanks 🙂

  14. Sure–just include a link to my blog and give me credit.

  15. hi kuya Kevin!
    i came across a talk about “emotional purity”, about how we should also consider that kind of purity with our sexual purity. it’s a very interesting and very very timely message for the youth as so often we may be abstaining from sex but we defraud each other by demanding too much of the other person, emotionally.

    hope you could look in to that. i think a lot of people need to hear about that and i know you’re one way of reaching them 🙂

    thank you!

  16. Thanks for stopping by, Fiona.

    To be honest, I get a little concerned when people talk about “emotional impurity.” I understand the concept, but it usually comes across to me as a bit legalistic.

  17. May I ask a question! What if I profess love with my chatmate.. is there any problem regarding the WISDOM???

  18. I believe it is very unwise to profess love for someone you have never met in person.

    Check out my article on online relationships.

  19. Yes, having cyber partners (bf or gf met through electronics) is not a nice way.

  20. Whats the difference between unconditional love and martyrdom?

  21. You can look up the “Romantic Martyr Syndrome.” Being a martyr means you stay in a relationship that is unhealthy or abusive.

  22. How about for someone who has lost
    their sexual purity?
    can they still be back to being pure?
    and still enjoy as if it’s the first time
    when they have met the real person
    that God has destined for them?

  23. Thanks for writing.

    I can’t promise you that someone’s wedding night will be like the “first time” in that situation.

    But God can certainly bless people who have made past mistakes–otherwise no one would be blessed (He’s had to extend grace and forgiveness to all of us). Many people are happily married even though they weren’t virgins on their wedding night.

    When we’ve made a mistake we just have to ask God for forgiveness and make a decision not to repeat the same sins over and over. Don’t dwell on the past because you can’t do anything about it.

    My book (Basta LoveLife) has a chapter entitled Old Scars and New Hope about this very issue.

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