But I met him (her) at church…

All that glitters isn’t necessarily gold

First things first-You don’t know someone, until you know them. Meaning…you don’t know someone until you’ve spent enough time with a person to see if the values they say they believe, they actually live out in their life.

For some reason the art of discernment is no longer en vogue. Perhaps in an effort to be tolerant, understanding, and non-judgmental, we have forgotten that discernment is not condemnation.

Merriam Webster  defines discernment as “the quality of being able to grasp and comprehend what is obscure” or put another way, it’s the ability to size up the character of a person based on details that may not be so obvious.

Have you ever been in a situation where you met someone and something just didn’t feel right? But as days, months, even years pass by that person finally says or does something that confirms your original uneasiness.

When it comes to matters of the heart, if there’s a certain level of attraction towards a person, we have a tendency to disregard signs and clues that a person is not all that they appear to be. And when it comes to meeting someone at church or some other religious function, there’s even more initiative to ignore uneasy feelings or overlook red flags that pop up. After all, how bad could a person be if they’ve gone on missions trips, regularly attend a Bible Study, recite scripture, etc.?

Ever heard of the catchphrase “Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven”?

All kinds of people go to church for all kinds of reasons.  Some are seekers. Some are just beginning their faith journey. Some are battling addictions and other unsavory habits, while others are “wolves in sheep’s clothing”.

It may be tempting to assume that the church is a safe place, full of emotionally healthy people. And it may be tempting to quickly chuck your brains and discernment at the door, but that’s a fast track to heartache.

What I’m not saying is be suspicious of everyone you come in contact with. But what I am saying is don’t be so quick to assume that your values and goals are the same as the person that you are getting to know. Remember what I said in the beginning, you don’t know someone until you know them.

One other thing…

Many  of us struggle with trying to discern the will of God-especially when it comes to romance.  The problem is it’s hard to know if that “special feeling” that you’re feeling toward someone is a sign from  God or something else. This is why I am not a fan of the cliché – “you just know”. You just know what?

I think it’s one thing to say that a relationship is a good choice because you aren’t fighting all the time or you became a better person because of the relationship or there is an absence of strife or uneasiness, etc. But telling someone that “you just know” can be confusing especially when you consider how intense sexual desire can be.

Meaning…

You can be extremely attracted to someone who is a poor fit for you.

In fact, it’s easy to say to oneself, how can I have such an intense longing and desire for this person if this attraction is not a sign from God?

Simple…

  1. You may be projecting onto this person attributes and qualities that they don’t really have.
  2. You may be consciously or subconsciously ignoring red flags about this person’s character.
  3. You may be more lonely than you are admitting to yourself. (Denial has a way of coming out in subtle,destructive ways.)
  4. If you are able to acknowledge this person’s flaws and short comings, you may believe that you can “fix the person” or pray them into fixture of godliness. (See Chris Cornell* below)
  5. You may be blinded by sexual desire. At some point you will find yourself in the presence of someone who is the physical embodiment of what you find extremely attractive. But…

You can be extremely attracted to someone who is a poor fit for you.

It may be tempting  to justify your desire for someone by trying to fit that person into a mold that they don’t really fit in. But if the image that’s in your head isn’t syncing up with reality, it’s better  to cut your losses and move on.

Navigating attraction isn’t always easy, but if you learn how to  practice discernment by being able to recognize the characteristics of a healthy person and a potentially great relationship, you’ll learn how to avoid unnecessary heartache.

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net


*Can’t Change Me-Chris Cornell

She can do anything at all/Have anything she pleases
The power to change what she thinks is wrong/So what could she want with me?

But wait just one minute here/I can see that she’s trying to read me
Suddenly I know

Shes going to change the world/But she can’t change me
No she can’t change me…

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