Yesterday I posted about the wolves which creep into Churches and deceive the sheep. While this was predominantly related to us being aware of who is coming into the Church, speaking to us on a leadership level, there is another level I want to consider. Romantic relationships.
One of the things I became aware of, as a young woman in my twenties, is the vulnerability of many who are born and raised in the Church. Our naiavity of thinking people are the same as us. Our naiavity of thinking when we meet a potential partner, they have immediately been sent by God and will be “His best choice” for us. Mainly because of the teaching we receive, and also because there isn’t the same freedom to be open about romance, relationships and….shhhh – don’t say this too loud – sex…. in the Church as we were growing up.
So, there is a high-risk that those of us with potential to be used by God for great things in His kingdom – which, basically, is all of us! – are at risk of being identified by a wolf who isn’t afraid to dress himself up in the right outfit, using the right words, in order to win us over, and distract us from the calling and purpose God has clearly marked you out for.
I know, it’s all lovely when a new man comes along, and whisks us off our feet with weekly gifts, and declarations of love in song and poverty. I know it’s a good feeling when a new woman comes along and tells you how much you complete her and she wants your sole attention and devotion. But…..! Watch out! Not all sheep are who they portray themselves to be, and often don’t reveal their true character until it is too late. By then you’re married, or pregnant, and the wolf sheds its mask because it no longer feels the need to maintain the act, they have successfully distracted you from your relationship with God, or from fulfilling the call of God on your life, “You put your ministry before me – I’m supposed to be your ministry first!”
There are warning signs – red flags we can watch out for which identify whether a man’s word matches his character, or if there is something which doesn’t quite add up:
- Does he or she claim your full attention, even in a crowd, challenging your relationship with them if you speak to others when they’re around?
- Does he or she constantly accuse you of being flirtatious or fancying others in your friendship circle, often with no real logic behind what they are saying?
- Does he or she make a “joke” about you – the way you look, things you do, your character – in front of others, then tell you you’re being too sensitive when you raise it with them?
- Does he or she check through your phone, read your messages, your prayer journal, etc?
- Does he or she keep a close eye on their own phone, laptop, tablet etc, so you can’t see what they are up to?
- Does he or she blame you for the way they speak to you, actions they have done toward you?
- Do you find yourself waking on eggshells to avoid saying or doing the wrong thing, which could upset them?
If any of these ring true for a new – or not so new – relationship, then this should be like a red flag waving dramatically in the wind of a tornado about to hit the ground! Things are not always what they seem, but you don’t have to succumb to the charms of a wolf dressed up like you. He knows what he needs to say to keep you. She knows what she needs to do to hold you down. But you can break free from the clutches of the wolf.
The community of Jesus day was a community. People were connected to each other, and no man was an island. This sense of community, in our Western Church, has been replaced by a sense of individualism. Which means it is easier for the enemy to send his wolves among the flock in order to segregate individual them from the flock in order to “steal, kill and destroy”.
Being part of a community gives us the chance to speak to one another, and do life together. There is safety in numbers. Connect with other believers, and share your “red flag” fears with them….or if you’re a friend who recognises a red flag in the relationship of someone you know and care about, don’t leave it blowing in the wind… Highlight it in an attempt to take it down, for when we are part of the Body of Christ, we most definitely are our sister’s (or brother’s) keeper.
To read more about this kind of relationship, click here to read Laura Pethebridge’s article, 12 Traits of an Abusive Relationship, published on Crosswalk.com