What’s wrong with being single?
It seems like everyone is dating or getting married... but there can be good reasons not to!
By Patricia Weerakoon.
Naomi, a single woman in a church I spoke at, said to me, ‘One of the biggest issues for me has been the lack of understanding towards me as a contented single woman. There seems to be this underlying idea that it’s OK to be single if you are miserable about it, and that a single woman really needs a man to look after her.’
The culture of teenage, even in church youth groups, is often one of girls and boys looking to pair off in dating relationships rather than build friendships with people of the opposite sex. It’s no different when it comes to adults—it seems like everyone is either married, or looking to be. A woman like Naomi feels marginalised, pressured and unhappy.
There is nothing abnormal about not having had a boyfriend in your teens or not wanting one.
Men and women were created for relationships, but not just in marriage. Whereas marriage and having children is undoubtedly a wonderful stage of life, there are many stories, especially in the New Testament,where single people play a very important role in the Church.
In Matthew 19:10–12, Jesus talks of the single state as being special:
The disciples said to him, ‘If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry.’ Jesus replied, ‘Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. For some are eunuchs because they were born that way; others were made that way by men; and others have renounced marriage because of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.’
Men and women today are members of the new community of Christians. While the Old Testament concept of children as a blessing is still current for New Testament Christians, we need to be clear that Jesus’ command was to go out and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:18–20).
From the days of the New Testament to the missionaries of today, single people have always played an important part in this new kingdom growth.
There were single women in Jesus’ life: Mary, the scholar and Martha, the hostess (Luke 10:38–41); and Mary Magdalene (Matthew 28:1–5). Single women were recognised by Paul for the role they played in the early Church: Anna, an 84 year old widow (Luke 2:36–37); and most likely Dorcas, a charity worker and seamstress (Acts 9:36–41); Lydia, a business woman and hostess to the disciples (Acts 16:14–15); and Phoebe, the encourager (Romans 16:1–2).
Single life is a positive state—don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. As a single person, you have a special role in the nurturing of younger people and kingdom building. If this is your choice, enjoy it.
Edited excerpt from Teen Sex By the Book by Patricia Weerakoon.
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