Kelly Ladd Bishop

Exploring issues of faith, culture, and spirituality with a focus on women in the church and world

A Valentine for the Single Christian

A Valentine for the Single Christian

A Valentine for the Single Christian:

Roses are red
Violets are blue
Christ completes you
So don’t buy into any theology that tells you otherwise

It seems that being single in the church is a difficult situation these days. Many churches have made marriage and family somewhat of an idol. There have probably been millions of sermons delivered on dating, courting, marriage, waiting for marriage, etc. But it is not often that our pastors preach to the adult singles in the pews, or encourage people to embrace their singleness.

In churches filled with millennials and young adults, there is a lot of focus on finding the right spouse, and tips for Christian dating. The understanding is that the singles in the pews, (or the bar stools or stadium seats, if you’re in a trendy millennial church), are no older than their 30s, and are all actively seeking marriage. The unspoken subtext is that if you are choosing to remain single, or you are older than 39 and still single, something is wrong with you. Perhaps you were not paying attention during all of those sermons on finding the ideal Christian spouse.

But, how many young Christians have chased after the ideal of marriage, and let it lead them into unhealthy relationships? How many single people have left the church because they feel like outsiders? How many widowed or divorced people have felt ostracized by their church community, and have struggled to find a place to belong?

I understand that there are many singles who wish they weren’t single.

I know it can feel lonely sometimes.

I know people are single for many different reasons.

I know that finding the right partner is not as simple as updating your online dating profile.

I know many singles may sincerely and truly hope and pray to find someone to share their lives with. That’s not wrong! What is wrong is when the church makes us feel like we are less than if we don’t achieve that goal. What is wrong is when the church places that goal above the goal of simply living in God’s will.

And let us not forget that Jesus was single, the apostle Paul was single, and Paul encouraged singleness for Christians.

Marriage can be wonderful, families and children are wonderful, but they are not perfect, and they are not our highest calling.

Our highest calling is Christ. Our highest calling is his mission. Our highest calling is to love God with all of our strength and to love our neighbors.

Our identities are not found in being husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, or even sons, and daughters. Our identities are found in Christ, who has purchased us with his blood, and in him we are a new creation, defined only by our relationship to God through Jesus – not to anyone else.

So, single Christian, whether you are single by choice or by circumstance, whether you have lost a spouse, never been married, or been through a divorce, know this: No one’s identity is found in their marital status. Our identity is in Christ. He calls us daughters and sons, and in him, we are a new creation.

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