Sometimes it feels like singles and married people live on two different planets. Sadly, one of the places this division is most felt is in the church. You know what I mean. We have separate classes, Bible studies, and small groups. We usually have separate outings, but on the occasions when there is a church-wide function, the groups form quickly: marrieds at one table and singles at another.
As a single lady, I’ve often gazed over at the “married club” with a twinge of jealousy, wondering if any of them are secretly thinking how lame it is that I’m still not married. I see the beautiful babies being passed around and my heart aches for “someday.” But then I recognize the subtle hiss of the silver-tongued serpent in my head. He is cleverly trying to convince me that their lives are perfect and wonderful while mine has not even begun. Still, I just sit there, feeling alone and discouraged.
But that same devious devil might be at work in their camp as well. That overworked new mom might be glancing over here at the “singles club” watching me. Maybe she sees my adventurous spirit and my freedom to go places and do things without strings attached and she struggles with jealousy of her own. Or maybe this new season of her life isn’t as perfect as I think and she struggles with her own insecurities, fears, and moments of loneliness
One thing is for sure. The serpent would love to keep us apart. He knows that if we ever joined together, listening to one another in love, encouraging each other from God’s word, and praying in power, the results would be devastating for him. Our fears might be turned to faith, our loneliness into the sweet fellowship God always intended us to experience, and our insecurities would melt away as we “encourage one another and build each other up” as Scripture commands us in 1 Thessalonians 5:11.
You see, in Christ there should be no division, because, as Paul says in Galatians 3:28, “We are all one in Christ Jesus.” God intended for all His children to work together in harmony like different members of the same body (1 Corinthians 12). That means reaching out of our comfort zones and our current situations to care about other people who may not look like us, act like us, or be in the same stage of life as us. Every part should have equal concern for one another.
For singles like me, when was the last time you were truly concerned about your married friends? What would happen if we put aside our jealousy, insecurity, and feelings of loneliness long enough to ask that newlywed how he is really doing? Or offer encouragement to a young mom who secretly thinks she is ruining her kid and just really, really wants a nap? What if right now God wants to temporarily meet that longing in your heart to nurture and love children by having you offer to babysit for that exhausted momma?
And married folks, what if you stopped carrying on about “am I doing this right” and “what do people think” long enough to invite the lonely singles into your messy lives and let us learn from you? Don’t try to fix us by fixing us up with someone. Listen to us. Invite us into your lives. We need you and you need us!
At the next church picnic, go ahead and get up from your table and cross the line. You may just find that God has a beautiful and meaningful friendship waiting for you.