I love reading books on romantic relationship. I also love to listen to pastors and even irreligious speakers address anything related to romantic relationships. I just personally find it entertaining and often times helpful for me. However, I often find that when Christians speak on singleness, its spoken about like it’s somehow lesser than marriage, which isn’t correct and damaging to singles. The Church should preach the beauty of singleness.
I recently listened to a sermon where the pastor, whom I love and respect, said something that made me cringe. He was speaking about the sanctifying roles that our romantic relationships should play when we have two people committed in helping their partner become the person Jesus created them to be, but he said, “Marriage is like an express lane in sanctification!”. Ouch!
I understood what he was saying, but I just feel like the way he said it could make single people feel like their place in life is less beautiful than those in romantic relationships. Yes, Jesus does incredible things in a relationship centered on Him, where two people see their romantic relationship as a way to shed off sin, pursue Christ, and allow the Holy Spirit to work through them, but is this kind of sanctification only possible in a romantic relationship? I think not.
Every faithful follower of Jesus would say the Apostle Paul was a Godly man who passionately pursued Christ with his life and, just from the outside looking in, his sanctification looks like it was definitely incredible, or in the “express lane in sanctification”. However, the Apostle Paul was single.
Jesus called Paul to be a single man for his entire life. Jesus didn’t see this as a punishment, but a blessing. And singleness is no less beauty, no less valuable place for someone to have. Jesus also was single, showing us we don’t need to be married to live a joyful and rich life. Sure, He is God and we’re not, but it’s still powerful to have the two biggest people in Christianity be single. This stands in contrast to other major religions.
We don’t need to be married to live a fully, holy, and joyful life. Sure, in marriage, it’s wonderful to have a spouse who is committed to seeing the other person become the person Jesus created them to be. However, can’t you have strong Godly friendships that can do this? Also, can we progress in our sanctification through depending on Jesus, praying, and mediating on His word, and faithfully serving Him with your life? Do we really need to be married to experience growth in our sanctification? I think not. Singleness is a beautiful stage and we shouldn’t preach anything less than that.
The Church should preach the beauty of singleness more. We are doing singleness an injustice and we’re limiting God, since we think somehow we can’t find true meaning outside marriage. However, true meaning is found in Christ alone. We shouldn’t complicate it by saying true meaning, fulfillment, or sanctification is found outside of a relationship with Jesus. This is false, but also damaging towards people in many ways.
Three downfalls to not preaching the beauty of singleness.
If we don’t preach the beauty of singleness, we will make some people rush out of singleness, since they’re rushing towards finding true meaning. We say that singleness isn’t as great as being in a romantic relationship centered on Jesus, so it’s not surprising people to rush through singleness. However, singleness is a valuable time where we can learn a lot about ourselves, do a lot for God, and just do a lot of important things.
Another downfall to not preaching the beauty of singleness is that some people might stay in unhealthy or destructive relationships,siNce they’re scared to be single. I’ve known many people who have said they would rather be unhappy in a relationship than be to be unhappy in singleness. They cling to an unhealthy relationship instead of cling to Jesus.
A final downfall is that if we don’t preach the beauty of singleness we’re encouraging people to not grab hold of all the goodness Christ provides during our time of being single. There are too many people who hate being single. They don’t think it’s a valuable time in their life. They wait for a relationship to be where their life truly begins, which is ridiculous, but it’s also understandable when we don’t preach the beauty of singleness.
These are just some downfalls that stood out to me. I know there are more, but my point is that we should preach the beauty of Jesus in all stages of our lives. We shouldn’t paint one stage as better, more holy, or even more rewarding, since this unintentionally takes the focus off Jesus and on a particular stage.
I was single for years and now I’m four months away from getting married, and I wouldn’t say being engaged, or even in a serous romantic relationship, has been more enjoyable than being single. Sure, finding the girl I’m going to spend the rest of my life with is wonderful,but my joy isn’t in being with her, but rather my joy is in being with Jesus.