10. Relationships with God and with Parents
Oh, how I love your law! All day long I meditate on it. Your words are sweeter in my mouth than honey! (Psalm 119:97, 103)
Relationship with God
The genuineness of a man’s belief in and commitment to God is not always easy to discern. He may read the Bible and pray every day and have many verses memorized, yet be unchanged by it and not really know God in a personal way. There are a few things, however, that are pretty good indicators of how serious a claim God has on a man’s heart.
Read Psalm 119:10-16, 47-48.
What is the Psalmist’s attitude about God’s word?
What does “meditate” mean?
Pay careful attention to how your boyfriend talks about and responds to the Bible. If he frequently complains about things he doesn’t like in it or picks apart the way it is written (e.g., the apostle Paul’s long run-on sentences) instead of looking for its meaning and how it should apply to him, there could be a serious problem in his relationship with the Lord.
Answer the following questions about the man in whom you are interested:
· Does he really seem to love God’s word?
How do you know?
· Does he go to scripture for guidance and instruction?
· What has he criticized recently in the Bible?
· What has he shared with you recently that he has learned from the Bible or that he has applied to some situation in his life?
Read Proverbs 8:13, Proverbs 29:27, and Psalm 119:127-128.
According to these verses, what things will a righteous man hate?
Which of these things does the man you are dating hate?
Which ones does he not hate?
In John 13:35, Jesus teaches his disciples how they can make it very evident to other people that they belong to him. What does he tell them?
In other places, Jesus instructed his followers about the proper ways to treat everyone in general and to treat their enemies, but here he was giving specific instructions about how believers should behave toward other believers.
Does your boyfriend love other Christians and treat them with kindness and respect?
Does he like spending time with Christians?
Read Hebrews 10:25 and I Peter 4:10.
What instructions are given to God’s people in these verses?
Is the man you are interested in willing to be part of a church family and use his spiritual gifts to serve others in that family?
Will he attend church even when you can’t go with him, or does he attend only to please you?
The Bible makes it very clear that we are not to be loners in our faith. We are to be a community of people who encourage each other, learn from one another, and work together to accomplish God’s purposes in the world. If your boyfriend is reluctant to attend church, then he is likely giving only verbal assent to Christianity without any real heart commitment. If he doesn’t want to attend church now, he will have even less desire after you are married and may even resent your attendance without him.
To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable
to the LORD than sacrifice. (Proverbs 21:3)
Relationship with Parents
As children mature, they become gradually more independent. Obedience becomes less of an issue as parents release control of them in adulthood. Paul reminds us in Ephesians 6:2-3, however, of the fifth one of the Ten Commandments which God gave to the Israelites. These commandments were issued to adults, not children.
What is the commandment, and what is the promise which accompanies it?
If a man has abusive parents, he will need to learn how to set boundaries with them to prevent further abuse and he may need some help to work through forgiveness issues. But as a general principle, adult children are to interact with their parents with respect and caring.
The Bible uses the word “honor” to convey this. Parents are not perfect people, and some have made some fairly serious mistakes in raising their children, yet they have also made many sacrifices and given much of their time and resources to parenting. Even if there are many issues on which a man disagrees with his parents, he is still obligated by the word of God to treat his parents with honor (or “respect”)—not necessarily agreement, but honor, nonetheless.
The following verses address several issues related to honoring one’s parents. What are they?
· Proverbs 15:5 ______________________________
An adult child is not expected to toe the line on everything his parents tell him to do or not to do. As long as he lives under their roof, he should abide by their rules and requests unless they are in disagreement with the word of God. But as he leaves his teens, he gradually becomes more independent in his decision-making and responsible for his own choices. A “prudent” man, however, will recognize that the experience and wisdom his parents have gained over the years is still worthy of consideration. Sometimes they have learned things from their own mistakes that can help their children to avoid making those same mistakes.
Is your boyfriend willing to thoughtfully consider his parents’ words of advice or correction?
· Proverbs 15:20 ______________________________
Does your boyfriend’s behavior indicate to you that he is aware that his actions reflect either well or poorly on his parents’ reputations and affect their emotional well being?
· Proverbs 20:20 ______________________________
It is possible to have sharp disagreements with parents yet refrain from cursing them. Cursing is an extreme expression of anger which the Bible does not permit.
Does your boyfriend control the words he uses with his parents when he is with them and the words he uses to talk about them when he is not with them?
· Proverbs 28:24 _______________________________
To say that is it all right to take things that belong to one’s parents without their permission is to assume ownership which is not rightfully yours. Most parents are very generous and willing to share their belongings and their money, but to take without asking is stealing, whether they are your parents or not.
Does your boyfriend respect his parents’ property or does he assume that anything that belongs to them also belongs to him?
· 1 Timothy 5:4, 8 ______________________________
Helping to provide for family members who have severe material or physical needs may not be an issue for you at this point in your lives. But it could become a reality in your future. Talk over this possibility with your boyfriend.
Is he willing to help support or care for his parents or grandparents (or yours) as they age?
What kind of support is he willing to give?
What kind of support is he willing to let you give?
Before you marry a man, be sure you are discuss the issues of how you treat parents. His family becomes yours and your family becomes his when you marry. Relationships with parents will play a big role in your future—especially after you have children.