If you watch the news much, you will notice that there are countless murders, suicides, and murder-suicides that happen between boyfriends/girlfriends, husbands/wives, and exes. Why the incredible rise in so much violence and killing among the people with whom we should be the most safe?
Here is my theory about what may be happening in some of these situations:
I believe that our culture trains us from a young age to idolize the opposite sex, romance, dating, marriage, and family. You can hear it in our love songs with phrases like…
- How can I breathe without you? (Lee Ann Rimes – How Can I Live without You?)
- I can’t live… if living is without you! (Harry Nilsson – Without You)
- Need you now (Lady Antebellum)
- I need you like water, like breath, like rain… (Lee Ann Rimes – I Need You)
- I wanna be with you, gotta be with you, need to be with you (Mary J Blige – Be Without You)
(You may click on the links to read these lyrics. They are all about idolizing another person and finding identity, security, contentment, satisfaction, etc… in a romantic relationship. Of course, movies, romantic books, the media, and friends may also encourage this mindset, too – as well as our own sinful nature that is very prone to putting other people or things above Christ.)
The problem is, the only source of real satisfaction, real peace, contentment, joy, purpose, hope, security, and all of those amazing things we all long for – is Jesus. No human and no thing on earth can meet the deepest needs of our souls.
If we are looking to people (or anything but Christ) to fill us up, the Bible says we are digging broken cisterns that can’t hold water. (Wells with big cracks in them that leak.) Jesus is the source of Living Water. The Only Source. When we pin all of our faith, hope, and trust on another person to “complete us” and be “our perfect soul mate” (which is not a biblical idea, in my view), we will be very disappointed! Only Jesus can heal us, complete us, and be our perfect soul mate – not in a sexual or romantic way – but He is the only one with whom we can be “enmeshed” and it is healthy!
I believe that when we idolize another person – we can become extremely smothering, needy, and clingy. Maybe controlling, too – thinking we should be able to tell the one we love to do whatever we want and that they should do what we say and submit to us. We then repel the one we want to love us the most. When that person eventually tries to leave because they can’t meet all of our needs and they feel like they are drowning in our massive black hole of neediness, we get really upset. Some of us get upset enough that we are willing to sin in order to try to get that person (our idol) to come back. If we can’t woo them back, maybe we will try to cry and scream and pitch a fit to make them come back (which only repels them further). We are fueled by fear – fear over not having our idol. Maybe we need to try to hurt the other person so they will see how hurt we are? The sin of idolatry of another person – when it is carried out to its fullest extent – leads people to hatred, resentment, bitterness, unforgiveness, and yes, even suicide or murder.
The Bible says,
- But each one is tempted when by his own evil desires he is lured away and enticed. 15Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is fully grown, it gives birth to death. James 1:15
It is totally fine to seek a godly boyfriend and to desire to be married – BUT – if you find yourself thinking things like this:
- I HAVE to have a boyfriend!
- I HAVE to have THIS GUY or I don’t want to live anymore!
- I MUST be married and have children or live isn’t worth living.
- If I can’t have this man, I want to hurt him/I want to hurt myself.
- The worst thing that could ever happen is that this guy would leave me.
It is time to stop.
What we can’t live without is Jesus! Everything else, we can hold loosely. Our trust must be 100% in Christ, not in a sinful, finite man.
Stop trusting in mere humans, who have but a breath in their nostrils. Why hold them in esteem? Isaiah 2:22
God wants us to trust Him!
It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. Psalm 118:8
And He wants us to desire Him FAR above anyone or anything else! He is WORTHY of our worship and total devotion. No one else is!
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.
As believers, we don’t have to freak out when relationships with other people (men or women) don’t go the way we want them to.
We can let them go while maintaining our dignity, poise, and respect for God, the man who is leaving, and ourselves. We can trust God’s sovereignty. We can ask God to use the painful times to teach us and to help us grow spiritually more. We can thank Him for what He will do and look with eager anticipation toward the future He has in store for us. We can praise Him. We can rest in His love.
We don’t have to despair. We don’t have to sink into total depression. We have feelings and emotions to wrestle with and pray through, yes. We can take our pain to God and ask Him to make something beautiful from it and to share His spiritual treasures with us in the dark valley. We don’t have to live as if we have no hope. We have Jesus! He is EVERYTHING! We don’t have to respond in sin. We don’t have to lash out to hurt the other person or ourselves. No! There is a much better way!
We can entrust the one we love who leaves us into God’s hands. We can seek to become the women God calls us to be. We can live in Jesus’ peace and joy. We can wait patiently on Him. We can find healing and wholeness in Christ. We can realize He is the Greatest Treasure there is and nothing else can compare! We can thank Him and focus on good things. We can do what is right on our end of things, seeking to please God fully and to be a blessing to others.
If you ever realize that you are acting out of despair over a man who left you or who won’t go out with you or because you are not dating or married – let’s talk about it together! (Or please reach out for godly counsel!) If you are in Christ, you never have to live in desperation for another person or in hopelessness because a relationship didn’t work out. We don’t have to “shrivel up on the floor and die” if a man leaves you, like Debbie Chavez says, “You have Christ!”
Sometimes single women think – the worst thing that could ever happen would be for:
- me to never have a boyfriend
- me to never kiss a guy
- my boyfriend to die
- me to never have a wedding
- me to never have sex
- me to never have a husband
- me to never have children
- me to feel unloved in marriage
- my husband to die
- me to get a divorce
No!!! These are not the worst things! The worst thing is to not have Jesus. The worst thing is to stand condemned before God when this life is over. The worst thing is to not receive the gift of salvation and Lordship Jesus so generously offers to us all! The worst thing is to displease Him or to miss out on His good and perfect will because of our sinful choices or unbelief. All of us, as believers in Christ, have the freedom and ability (as His Spirit empowers us) to walk in His will and to walk in victory and obedience. He can give us the strength to do this. We can’t do it on our own. But we can all choose to submit fully to Him as LORD of all in our lives and live in the center of His will which is the most fulfilling, precious place to be in all of the universe!
Much love to each of you!
www.focusonthefamily.org – free Christian counseling service