Quit Playing Games with My Heart

The curious state of relationships in our churches.

The other night I was standing around after church with a couple friends. I remarked to one of my friends, a girl, that her outfit looked very nice. Our other friend, a guy, seemed a little nonplussed. “You are aware you have a girlfriend, right?” he asked me incredulously. I gently explained to him that one can compliment someone of the opposite sex without having a hidden agenda. I went on to describe how compliments are actually a normal part of a platonic friendship, not a lecherous scheme to woo someone.

In this same ministry, I know a couple of guys who have dated their way through every girl in the community. They are amazing, giving, generous and kind people—except when it comes to their relationships with women. With women, they are manipulative, noncommittal and dishonest.

I’ve been involved in a couple of young adult ministries at this point, and I seem to see the same couple scenarios playing themselves out. In scenario one, guys in the ministry burn through the dating scene, indiscriminately leaving a trail of destruction in their wake. In scenario two, guys seem incapable of even carrying on casual conversations with girls for fear that their intentions will be misread. Of course, women are hardly exempt from the problem. I’ve seen plenty of girls in young adult ministries who string guys along, toying with their emotions without wanting to commit. I’ve seen even more who demand that any overture from a man come with a lock-step commitment to marriage. In short, on both sides of the equation, young adult ministries seem to be a breeding ground for dysfunctional inter-gender relationships.

Inter-gender communication is, and always has been, an absolute minefield. If there’s one thing the sexes can agree on, it’s that we don’t understand each other. It’s a real trick just to interact without offending one another. So, it’s little wonder that the perils of interacting with the opposite sex spill over into Christian community. However, if we are indeed supposed to be set apart and different—a peculiar people, if you will—shouldn’t our communities be places where Christ’s love is exemplified between the sexes?

Part of the problem, no doubt, comes from our emphasis in the evangelical church on marriage to another Christian as the pinnacle of spiritual success. “We have to admit that we as church leaders are actually responsible for this dilemma,” says Josh Loveless, a former pastor of a church with a twentysomething ministry. “We are the ones who have sent conscious and sub-conscious messages that the church is the best place to find a soul mate who follows Jesus.”

Of course, a strong Christian marriage is a wonderful and amazing picture of God’s love for us and His Church. But, we need to stop applying so much pressure on our communities to find a mate. We’re supposed to be missional communities serving the world as we seek God, not mail-order bride services.

“So is your church a meat market or the best place to find your future spouse?” asks Loveless. “We can either explain away the tension of these two perspectives by choosing one message to tell our people or we can teach our people how to live in the tension in a healthy way.”

There’s another wrinkle to this: Some of the difficulty the genders have in treating each other with love and respect comes from a simple lack of training. As my mother would say, some people just weren’t raised right. They’ve never had proper inter-gender relationships modeled for them. As a result, they don’t know how to treat each other as brothers and sisters in Christ.

I think the solution to this is two-fold. First, we have to stop pushing marriage as the only acceptable outcome for a well-lived Christian life. The vast majority of the people involved in your community will indeed get married, but we must begin to recognize that singleness can be an amazing gift. In order to even enter into a healthy relationship, one must be content in one’s singleness. Moreover, dating without the pressure that every outing must be a step toward marriage can actually be incredibly healthy. Without a doubt, the courtship movement brought some much-needed seriousness and responsibility to the idea of dating. But the pendulum seems to have swung so far this way that many people in our communities have lost the notion that people of the opposite sex can go to a movie together without exchanging engagement rings.

Secondly, we need to begin to take seriously the way people around us treat the opposite sex. There’s nothing wrong with using broken people in roles of leadership (after all, that’s what Jesus did), but how many of the volunteer leaders—not to mention the rank-and-file members—in our churches are terrible at relationships? This is not merely a personality quirk, it is a sin issue. When people in our communities treat their brothers and sisters in Christ in a hurtful manner, dismissive of their emotions, there need to be repercussions. When you see this happening in your church or community, it should be taken especially seriously. I would wager that in the vast majority of young adult ministries, some hard conversations need to happen with members of even the leadership team over the way they treat the opposite sex. It is simply not to be tolerated.

Discipleship is key in seeing people grow into healthy inter-gender communication and relation. We need to recognize the seriousness and severity of toying with the hearts of the opposite sex. We need to emphasize the gift of singleness and the necessity of contentment. Above all, we need to take the issue seriously. The Church shouldn’t be playing catch-up with the world when it comes to men and women treating each other with love and respect. We should be setting the example.



Anonymous commented…

I actually agree on a lot of what is said by everyone....however I disagree a bit with almost each one.

Miriambundick- I like your sentence: "There are nice girls who are attractive and talented with awesome personalities are looking for nice guys and are under the age of 25, I know quite a few of them, and I am one of them." I am one of them too and yet I must agree with Steve Davis....they are hard to find...but the opposite sex that are like that are hard to find for us too! Well ones that are single at least. haha


Brian Sterling commented…

THANK YOU! I usually feel like a pariah for saying these things! I feel affirmed that someone else is noticing the same things.

I tend to think that the evangelical culture is largely to blame for this. The people I know who converted to Christianity from outside the evangelical culture have a much lower tolerance for the various kinds of repression that, in my opinion, almost completely dominate evangelical culture.


cindy commented…

A really goodarticle but..."They are amazing, giving, generous and kind peopleexcept when it comes to their relationships with women. With women, they are manipulative, noncommittal and dishonest." Can you really be the first if you are practicing the later for an extended period of time? Knowing God's Word with a heart to obey and led by God's Holy Spirit it isdoubtfulthat they would continue in this sinful behavior.

William Jorden


William Jorden commented…

Hello Ladies, Please Take A Few Minutes And Enjoy My True Stories About The Wonderful World Of Key Lime Pies As Well As The Magic Of The Most Beautiful “Mrs. Anita Pelaez” Wife Extraordinaire And The Beauty Queen Of The Key Lime Pie World! “Oh”, What An Honor That Must Be.


Blues Here, How Are You All Doing? That’s Great, I’am Just Setting Here
Watching “Major Crimes” On The Tube. Pretty Good Show. Wouldn’t You
Just Love To Be Eating A Nice Big Slice Of Anita’s Key Lime Pie As You
Two Lovers Are Snuggling There Watching The Show? Then You Two Love
Birds Can Get Into Each Others Drawers After this Episode Goes Off.
That’s Sure What My Love A I Are Contemplating As We Eat Our Second
Slice Of Pie. Well Eat Your Hearts Out, Better Luck Next Time!

“Ah”, Yes, My Little Chickadees, May Each One Of You Enjoy Your Very
Own Key Lime Pie Baked by The Lovely And Most Gracious,…Mrs. Anita
Pelaez and Her Handsome Husband ….Captain Kutchie Pelaez. Together The
Proud Owners Of Asheville’s Own

Anita And Kutchie Pelaez’s Key Lime Pie Factory And GRILL Conveniently
Located Near The Biltmore House And Estate In That Beautiful City. Known
As Heaven On Earth Whenever Mrs. Anita Pelaez Is Anywhere Near. “AH”,
The Magic Of Anita Pelaez And Her KEY LIME Pies. Voted The Country’s
Favorite For The Past 27 Consecutive Year!

…..That Babe Can Bake Me A Pie Anytime She Wants To.

Elwood Blues

Turn You’re Ladies On In Extra High Heat Mode Easily Just By Seducing
Her With “Anita Pelaez’s” Ultra-Sexy Key Lime Pies! You Know The Pies
That Her And Her Famous Husband Kutchie Have Been Baking The Last
40-Years Over Too Their Key Lime Pie Factory Near the Biltmore House and
Estate In NC.,..Yeah, That’s The Ones, You Dirty Mind! Shame On You.

Anita’s KLP Will Light Her Candle And Make Her Hard To Handle.
Guaranteed That She Will Get A-Hold Of You’re Handle Too….Your Boy
Elwood Says,….”AH”, The Magic Of Anita Pelaez ..And Her Key Lime Pies!
“Yeah”, You’ll Be “AH-ING” Too!…Put Your Faith In Anita’s Pies.

Is what they are all saying true about how eating those World Famous Key
Lime Pies Baked In The Carolina Mountains By The Former Miss Florida
USA And High Fashion And Swimsuit Model …”Mrs. Anita Pelaez”, ….Surely
Everyone Has Heard Or Read By Now That Consuming Her Wonderful Key Lime
Pies Has The Ability To Cause The Male Penis Length To Increase 50% Or
More. And The Girth Of The Erect Male Penis To Increase To Six-Inches
AROUND!….”WOW”, And Add To The Fact That Her Pies Have Been Known To
Make Males Multiorgasmic /One Orgasm One After Another With Little Or No
Reflationary Period In Between Ejaculations Is Nothing Short Of
Awesome!. Why, It’s A Miracle If You Ask Me.. ..You Can Count Me In On
That,… That’s For Damn Sure!,….Mrs. Anita Pelaez Is Surely The
Undisputed Queen Of Key Lime Pies That’s For Sure……Yes, There Was A Time
For Decadent Key Lime Pies And That Time Is Now At…..”Anita and
Kutchie’s Key Lime Pie Factory And Grille’, Conveniently Located In
Asheville, NC., Near The Biltmore House And Estate….Yes The First Lady
Of Key Lime Pies,..”Mrs. Anita Pelaez” States “For You’re Pies Only”.
…Count Us In Darling, Sweetheart, Please Wrap-Us Up A Dozen Pies
To-Go!…We’re Gettin The Band Back Together……………..Thanks,….Elwood.

I Know That Your Not Going To Believe This When You First Read It.
Don’t Worry, I Didn’t Believe It Either At First. My Dear Wife Insisted
Or As She Said, That She Was Going To Cut Me Off. Now I Like My Nooky As
Well As Anybody But When She Starts talking About Cutting Me Off. Well,
Lets Just Make A Long Story Short, If You Want To Continue Eating At
The (Y), Then You Had Better Listen To What Mama Is Whispering Into Your
Ear. Get The Damn Pies, Enjoyed Them With The Little Lady And Die A
Happy Man. End Of Story.

People, If You Want To Have A Lot More Sex Then You Need To Start Eating A Lot More Of Anita And Kutchie Pelaez’s Key Lime Pies!

…One Eyed Willie…Smooth Willie…Be Good Willie!…Elwood Blues…Darling,..Don’t Go Breaking My Heart!

Honey, What’s the number to the Key Lime Pie Factory?…We’re Out Again!

Gladys Talarico


Gladys Talarico commented…

Since many mobile phone customers usually are not involved in cramming the serial variety of their telephones, this is able to be an excellent resolution to recovering your stolen mobile phone.


Please log in or register to comment

Log In