Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference, so said someone.
Generally, when people talk to me about a Christian attitude towards relationships, I think I need to be this bottomless well of meek forgiveness. I need to put up with people being perpetually late, or be patient with others who can’t make up their mind.
For some reason it feels disempowering and I don’t think Christianity was meant to disempower us.
I’ve decided to take a closer look at what it really means to have a Christian attitude towards those around us. If we turn to the Bible, we can see that there are a few attitudes that stand out.
Don’t worry, there’s more where that came from
This is the attitude of abundance. The attitude of abundance contrasts with the attitude of scarcity. Notice in Scripture the unbelievers are generally saying there’s not enough.
“We have here only five loaves of bread and two fishes,” (Mt. 14:17).
“We don’t have enough soldiers,” said the Israelites about 100 time in the Old Testament.
Jesus, on the other hand, says, “No worries, there’s plenty to go around.”
False prophets of the dating world try to tell us that there is only “one”. That is the attitude of scarcity. “You need to find that one and if you lose him or her, you could be talking to cats for the rest of your life,” they say.
The truth is there is never “just one” person in this world who can fill our gaps.
The only one who can “be the one” is Jesus Christ and last I checked there hasn’t been a second coming nor has He been dating.
So if you’re dating someone, stop thinking they are “the one”. The only thing that creates is an attitude of neediness and the pressure of making it work.
The Christian believes in abundance. There is not just “one”. God is the creator. No matter how compatible you are with someone, that person is not “the one”. It’s always possible that there’s is another person around the corner that you are even more compatible with. That is the way the world is.
Nothing is perfect, no one is perfect but God. If they become the one it’s because the two of you decide that. No one is born the one.
This does not mean we can engage in the attitude of waste throwing away opportunities because “We are scared,” “We don’t feel ready,” or “Aren’t in that place yet.” God is clear that wasting opportunities is unforgivable (Parable of the Talents Mt. 25:14-30).
If you did your best, however, and it slips through your hands, take the attitude of abundance.
There is always more. There are always more people.
Ain’t got nothin to prove
“He said bring drinks. Does that mean alcohol or no alcohol? Maybe beer? But I don’t want to appear boring…is wine better? What I really like are those RAW juices would it be cool to bring those? But I don’t want him to think I’m on a colon cleanse. I want him to think I’m cool.”
Stop trying to prove who you are or who you want to be.
In the Gospel, all the cool people got nothing to prove. Jesus is all about showing who he is, but he also knows how to say, “No sign will be given” (Mk 8:13). I’m not going to try and prove anything to you right now. He did try to prove he is the Son of God, but that’s very different from trying to prove you’re smart, interesting, or funny.
That means you should do what you want! If you want to do yoga for a first date, go for it. If the AC/DC cover band is your thing than do that. Eat what you want, drink what you want. Bring what you want.
Eventually, we do need to make sacrifices for people. We will need to do things we’re not really into for the good of another person. But that comes later on when we are really sure of what other people need and they’re committed to us. Don’t stress on the details early on in an effort to prove yourself cool, likeable, or compatible.
Don’t got time for that
One thing that Jesus knew well was that time was short and he didn’t have time to waste. Stay on the move. Coming from Eternity he probably got to earth and was like, “Dang, 33 years? That’s all I got? Feels like 10 minutes. Let’s move!”
All of us have a limited amount of time to make the difference in the world we were made to make.
While it might seem like you have plenty of time during the middle of a lazy Saturday afternoon, the reality is you have a lot to do.
If you don’t have what you want, you should be opening opportunities to get what you want.
Here are a few things you don’t have time for:
Someone who has no sense of commitment to you.
If they can’t tell you if you’re actually dating or not; or if they’re free at all in the next week you don’t have time for that. Don’t wait around. Stay in touch maybe but go out with someone else too.
Jesus spent a ton of time with people who were committed to him, the twelve apostles, and very little with those who couldn’t commit to him (The Rich Young Man Mk 10:17).
People who don’t matter anymore.
People you once liked but simply aren’t part of your life. You went out once or twice or more and had a great time, but it’s over.
Don’t even waste thoughts on those moments. “Shake the dust off your feet,” (Mt 10:14).
Ya, that’s right, don’t even carry the dust with you. Leave it all behind and keep walking. There’s only one way to go, straight forward.
People who don’t have respect for you.
“They spit in his face and struck him with their fists,” (Mt 26:27). A bit of an extreme example but Jesus didn’t hang around and chat and do miracles for them. He was silent. He didn’t justify himself. He didn’t explain himself. He was basically like, “Let’s get this over with and move on.”
He didn’t have time for that. You don’t have time for that. Stop wasting moments trying to win over people who don’t have respect for you. Respect is the basis of any relationship, it’s not something you eventually earn in a relationship.
Christianity is all about charity and forgiveness, but it’s also about building an attitude of urgency, opportunity, and getting what you were created to get. I think it’s the empowering attitudes that are often ignored.
People say, “Be a Christian.”
Yes, that means expecting people to treat you with dignity and moving on if they don’t.
It means being confident that our Great God created a great world with lots of people in it and opportunities for relationships.
It means that you don’t need any one person to get through life. Unless you’re married people are replaceable.
Have a Christian attitude, think big, use your time well and expect respect.