Singled Out for Him: Relating to Families
- Thursday, July 03, 2003
Those singles whose lives are characterized by chronic loneliness probably have not discovered their place in the Body of Christ. The fact is, we are not alone. We are a part of an incredible family of faith. And that family includes far more than just other singles! You and I are called to function within the broader context of the family of God.
One of my concerns about church programs designed solely for singles is the danger of isolating singles from the broader Body. I believe God intends for our lives and gifts to operate within the sphere of the whole Body-young and old, married and single. Those who interrelate only with others whose needs and interests are similar to their own are far more vulnerable to the crippling, deadly effects of selfishness.
Those of us who are single have an obligation to families within the Body of Christ. As members of the community of faith, we bear a responsibility for the lives and marriages of other believers and for their children and grandchildren. We have both an obligation and a rich opportunity to pray for and encourage and invest our lives in those families. Although you and I may not be married, when another marriage fails or another teenager rebels, we all bear the pain and share in the responsibility.
Time spent with families has been one of the most valuable influences on my life, as well as one of the most rewarding investments. Wherever I live, I seek out families to love and serve, families with whom I can grow and pray and play and worship.
I have discovered that regular involvement with families is a safeguard against selfishness. And for those who will one day be married, there is hardly any better preparation for marriage and parenting. In a family setting, we can witness firsthand the blessings of obeying God's plan for the home and the consequences of disregarding it. Nothing will rid us of unrealistic notions of marriage and parenting faster than in-depth involvement in real homes.
When singles are assimilated into families, everyone benefits. The single adult can have a strong spiritual influence on children that reinforces the training provided by their parents. Singles can meet needs of parents, such as to have time alone without the children. Families can provide friendship and encouragement to singles. Both families and singles can offer each other mutual support, counsel, accountability, and prayer.
On a practical note, I have known single men and women who would love to spend time with families and who become resentful when families don't think to reach out to them. My personal experience is that most married couples are not aware of the value of including singles in the life of their family, and therefore generally don't take the initiative to do so. So my challenge to singles is this: don't be afraid to reach out to families. Look for ways to initiate relationships with children, young people, and couples, as well as older people who are alone and in need of families.
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