I Think It Is Wrong To Ask, “Is he Christian?

So.. You read the title right.

You know us – the girls that grew up in a Christian home, or girls surrounded by Christian friends, whose weekend is spent in church. Yep, you know who you are. And you can replay this scene in your head because it has happened too often. A girl we love in our circle meets a really nice guy. She tells us (and there was a time I told you) he was really nice. And details, and descriptions, and reasons are stated, and the sisters and friends of course smile.

Then the lull. The few seconds, almost milliseconds of quiet, but we feel it.

And the question –

“Is he Christian?”

I don’t think I’ve ever told you something about a person I met without you asking that. And I don’t think you’ve ever told me about a person you met without me asking that. The question was the make or break of the nascent story. If either you or I said “Yes, he is”, I imagine now that sense of relief among the protective girls, and the sense of relief in the girl who said yes because well, there’s no red light and the ordeal is passed. And if either you or I said “No, he’s not”, well the “Ah, But..” is sure to follow. I know we do that for sisterly love and Christian faith.

But I daresay it’s wrong. And I really just came to this the other week. It’s wrong to ask “Is he Christian?” and use that as the preliminary gauge for whether the person is alright or not, can be possibly suitable for our friend (or for ourselves) or not. I will take a step farther now and say, it is wrong for me to look at a person who expresses interest and gauge him based on the answer to that one question.

And of course, various religious groups and others will agree and state various reasons, one that this is being discriminatory and is so politically incorrect. But that’s not where I’m going to because this really is intended for a specific audience and if you know you’re not that audience, it’s really okay to not go on reading.

It’s wrong because – as noble as the intentions were when the question was first phrased so, it has created a shorter thought pattern in many of our brains causing us to meantime be accepting of something superficial. When the answer is yes, we feel that we can relax a bit and open up a little. We feel this may be worth a try because after all, he is a Christian. It is a very small opening, I tell you. Quite harmless in fact. Or so it seems. But if I look back at my own mistakes, it started with that small opening just because he is a Christian, and because – isn’t it such an amazing moment to find a bit of a possibility? But that opening up never should have happened if the guards were up and there was more to choice and acceptance than the answer yes to the question “Is he a Christian?” And we know there is more to Christianity than saying I’m one, or going to church on a Sunday, and more than singing in the stage with the worship team, or holding a Bible study. So much more.. But we get comfortable with the yes because we want it to be something. How do I know we want it to be something? We wouldn’t have told the girls if it was otherwise, and they wouldn’t have double checked by asking the question to find assurance that this development is alright.

It’s wrong because – it had inadvertently caused the labeling of people. We’ve labeled people as Christians and non-Christians when Christianity, the real Christianity of Jesus – I mean the one based on salvation by grace through faith, never had anything to do with labels but was always about the deep matter of the heart. How often have we allowed labels to mislead us? I’ve heard about a Pastor raping someone. And a girl with tattoo and piercing sharing Jesus to someone who was ready to give up on life. So labels – no, no. Not enough.

What then shall we ask? What then is the gauge? I will suggest something very simple –

“Does he love the Lord?”

You absolutely can’t answer that with a yes or no just by knowing someone goes to church and lifts his hand and sings and attends Bible study and serves. You can’t answer yes or no based on whether the person was baptized or not. It takes so much more than that, and time, and wisdom, and discernment to arrive at an answer. And aren’t wisdom and discernment residents of the soul that look to God? And aren’t those the mark of preparedness? And most importantly, the Bible instructs us so.

This is the mark we should look for – love for the Lord.

But we can only recognize it if we allow the Holy Spirit to be ruler of hearts and minds, and if we bear the same love for the Lord. Soul recognizes soul. Likeness for likeness. It takes a knowing of God for us to know ourselves, and for us to understand what God deems good for us. By recognizing the material that our souls are made of, we are also better able to recognize the material that suits it. Why are you and I dear friends, girls? Because though different, our souls confer intimately and recognize one another. Should marriage be anything less?

I leave you with the statement from one of my favorite books The Tenant of WildFell Hall:

Receive, coldly and dispassionately, every attention, till you have ascertained and duly considered the worth of the aspirant; and let your affections be consequent upon approbation alone. First study; then approve; then love.

With love from,

the girl who's looking at the mirror, talking to herself 

who walked that path and doesn't want anyone else near it




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