By Lebogang Sewela:
A few days ago a stimulating realization hit my mind; most of my articles are inspired by thoughts coming from one specific mind, a mind of a close friend of mine Siyabonga. But he's not aware and honestly I cannot confess anything because I haven't found a reason as to why that is the case. Perhaps it could be the fact that I pay too much attention to his speech or maybe he happens to be one of those people who are in travail with a condition of always making sense. But whatever the reason might possibly be, I keep my silence. I'm mentioning this because again he inspired this piece.
Those casual conversations that are often debated about, on how spirituality relates to reality, science vs Christian values, culture vs. Christianity, etc; I keep pondering and asking myself why we tend to spiritualize everything. Even the things that are part of this unpleasant world we manage to fit them quite well in the Godly world, possibly because we want to have the benefit of both worlds. Even though the bible plainly remarks that as Christians we're not part of this world, it seems we can't help but link and apply the principles of the world into our Christian lives and justify them convincingly. Don't get me wrong I'm not claiming that the above listed combinations are against God's expertise, my point is that dance is dance, we don't have to yoke it with “spiritual”, to make it holy so that is can be secluded from the other types of dances. Well, I charge myself guilty of this act; I personally went as far as applying “holy” to the concept “dating,” and honestly I'm still finding myself holding on to my justification of the apparent paradox – “holy dating”.
Siya as well for a while believed in this proposition of “holy dating”, until his thoughts brought him face to face with the truth that we cannot force an unholy thing to be a holy thing. I must admit that this notion did cross my mind on several occasions. But honestly, is dating really unholy? The conversation that I had with Siya keeps echoing in my head, and actually brings discomfort to my mind. I keep wondering whether I am trying too hard to justify wrong actions? Why the sudden conversion of believe?
Siya: I'm taking a break from dating, to focus on God and his work
Lebo: nods in confusion…
Siya: “everyone always wanted a scripture about whether Christians should date or not and I found it, it is said in the bible that as young Christians we should only concern ourselves with God's work”
I find myself agreeing with Siya but after the conversation I still remained with questions in my mind: what makes dating wrong? How does dating stop us from doing God's work? Does dating distract our Christian journey? Siya does validate his revelation with the facts that; although the scripture is not precise, what it implies is that, for us to fully focus on God we can't have divided attention, after all our God is a selfish God. The devil knows that dating is an easy access for temptation, so he might be lurking in the shadows waiting for the right moment to plot inducements against us to shift our focus from God. The easy way to fight temptation, 'not dating' is a safe game. Only married people are permitted to have divided attention.
The above revelation is profound and accurate. My heart to these questions is that dating is not exactly wrong but we'reinclined to do it the wrong way. Am I justifying again? Well maybe. Is there a right way of dating though? I doubt, but I 'redefined' dating as simply two people coming in union to know each other, and I strongly believe that what we do in the course of getting to know each other remains our choice. As Christians we simply have to apply God's ideal principles, put Him first and fight for noble standards in whatever we do together as a Christian couple. Well some churches will favor courtship as being the epitome – which is the act, period, or art of seeking the love of someone with the intention to marry. But courtship is like dating; they both are not explicitly commented on in the bible, so it leaves us with choices. When it comes to me, I want to know and understand the person I intend to marry, to spare myself of amazements. I think it's all about applying the word in all we do.
On the other hand I don't think dating stops one from doing God's work, but I believe it has the power to do so, if God is made an option in the relationship rather than a priority. And I must agree that we tend to get carried away in dating and this links to my last point being that, if we do fortuitously get carried away our Christian journey will be distracted. I'm not naïve to the fact that stereotypically dating comes with a package of temptations and actions which are in direct contradiction to God's commands. And maybe that's the reason I apply “holy” to the concept “dating” not because I'm saying dating is a holy act, all I'm saying is we take the redefinition of dating and apply Godly principles. Whenever temptations sneaks in, the idea of “holy” should remind us of our mission.
We continue with our journey with God and now the difference is that we're walking on our journey with someone in hand the same way as disciples and adding a cherry on top of Paul's definition of love. With this bearing I think we're on a winning path. God is impressed with those who make the effort.
Am I still justifying 'holy dating'? Maybe!