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Christian Singleness: A Curse or a Blessing?
Audio Version: Christian Singleness: A Curse or a Blessing?
In a society that values progeny and considers bearing offspring and carrying on the family name as a mark of filial piety, being single beyond a marriageable age can be a stigma. In Christian circles, it is no different, with such exhortations as ‘to multiply’ and ‘two being better than one’.
Yet the Bible also speaks of celibacy as a gift, and many prominent Biblical figures such as Mary Magdalene, Rahab, the apostle John, Paul, and even Jesus remained single throughout their earthly lives. Is Christian Singleness or being celibate a blessing or a curse? Our writer, Victoria, shares her reflections out of her own experience of the biblical perspective on the topic.
Two and a half years ago, I was in the throes of what I thought was the most excruciating grief I have ever felt. The pain left me reeling, disoriented and an utter wreck for many months. Tears poured, prayers were uttered, and memories haunted me relentlessly night after night, as I was left to pick up the pieces in the aftermath of a tearful mutual breakup.
Six months later, and after gorging on tons of junk food and ice-cream which caused my weight to balloon, I finally moved on. A year and a half later, I found myself in a brief two-month relationship against my better judgment, only to plunge forth into the aftermath of another painful heartbreak. I had to break it off. It would never work out. I was once again, single and devastated. I took some time off to grieve.
Soon after, my ex-boyfriend of two months began to contact me and pleaded for me to take him back. Still devastated and heartbroken, I wavered and almost accepted the proposal to return to the relationship. Each time I tried to do that, I felt a caution in my spirit. Eventually, I stood firm and refused to give in to his pleas although the thought of taking him back kept haunting me day and night.
Obedience, Acceptance and Another Battle
A week later, I found myself kneeling before God, pledging celibacy if that was really what He wanted for me. I would choose to obey Him. As I threw myself into prayer and sought Him in worship, He began to speak to me through His word and through the articles and the YouTube videos I was bingeing on. This time, I was more certain in my spirit that He wanted me to remain single for this season, however long or brief it may be.
I had to learn to be contented in my singleness for a season. I held on to His words that He would heal me, the brokenhearted, and bind up my wounds (Psalm 147:3). Yet, thoughts of reuniting with my ex would creep into my mind all the time. At times, the fear of being single and alone overwhelmed me. It took much effort and prayer for me to forge on and to keep my focus on Christ alone. I had to strengthen myself in His word and pursue Him daily.
The Struggles of the Christian Singleness
Some singles may have found themselves in similar predicaments as mine yet chose to remain single out of obedience to His call. Some may find themselves unwillingly single due to unfortunate circumstances or for a myriad of other reasons. Whatever the reasons may be, the struggle to find contentment in singlehood can be a very painful journey for some.
For some singles, the fear of loneliness and fear of missing out can be so excruciating that it is akin to having the heart cut open and taken out again and again. This pain is relived each time they see couples walking together happily in church or on the streets. The pain magnifies manifold each time they receive a wedding invitation or attend a wedding. In extreme cases, these singles may eventually turn away from God due to fear, bitterness, and shame.
Much of this pain and fear stems from the way society has conditioned people to think of singles. In some societies and cultures, single folks are viewed as faulty or damaged in some way. This negative view is sometimes perpetuated in some churches whereby marriage and family are often upheld as the ultimate Christian goal.
While this notion may have never been explicitly preached at the pulpit, certain words and actions of well-meaning church folks may have unwittingly forged this view. Some singles constantly find themselves pestered by questions directed at their relationship status if they are not married by a certain age. The disdain and disapproving looks received from others because of their singleness exacerbates this issue. As a result, some Christian singles end up believing in the lie that they are not worthy or desirable unless they find someone or are married off.
In some cases, Christian singles have yielded to the temptation of sexual sin as a result of believing in this lie or after struggling to cope with their sexual desires. Others end up unequally yoked to pre-believers due to the fear of being single and missing out. Their singleness becomes more of a curse rather than a blessing.
A Biblical Perspective of Christian Singleness and Marriage
The reality is that the average church in our nation is geared towards the Christian family, which includes married couples, children, and the youth. The struggles associated with Christian singles cannot be overcome unless churches strive to cultivate a more biblical perspective of Christian singles.
Apostle Paul mentions in 1 Corinthians 7:7-9 that while marriages are wonderful and it is not wrong for a person to choose to marry, he considers singles who live righteously in order to serve Him as of high value. Having a more biblical perspective of both singleness and marriage corrects many errors of perspective, such as the view that all singles are rejects and damaged in some way or that everyone should marry. Both stigmas are erroneous and unbiblical.
The church should realize that some individuals may be called to singleness, either for a season or a lifetime. Not every single folk is itching to find a partner. Some may be happily single and contented. Some live more fruitful and God-honouring lives in their singleness. For these individuals, Christian singleness is a blessing.
Nonetheless, singleness is not necessarily the right choice for every person. Many singles desire to find a partner and have never received God’s call or direction to remain in singleness. These singles would gladly receive a helping hand in meeting potential partners if they so desire. The church can offer such individuals more opportunities for singles to meet each other.
Whether Christian singleness becomes a curse or a blessing hinges largely on the application of a balanced and biblical view of singleness and marriage. It also depends on the willingness of the church to address the needs of both groups. Both singles and married couples have vastly different needs. Once these needs are addressed in a more balanced way, many Christian singles will be more empowered to serve Him in more authentic and god-glorifying ways.
About the Writer
Victoria currently teaches English. She loves to dream, sing, and write poetry during her free time.