We were building our house in Raleigh when Hurricane Fran whipped through North Carolina. We went to bed in our apartment that night expecting to dodge the worst of it, but awoke to devastation on a level I had never before witnessed. Seventeen large pines had mercifully missed my son’s bedroom as he slept and lay on the ground beside his room. The foundation of the house we were building, and had so carefully placed between two large oak trees, was filled with a hundred year fallen beauty.
We had gone to bed sending up prayers for our neighbors in South Carolina, thinking we were safe. They were missed, and North Carolina was slammed. How could the weather forecasters have missed by so much?
Now we know that far out in the ocean the hurricane had moved north just a few degrees. Could a few degrees really matter so much? A few degrees extended over hundreds of miles put the hurricane in a totally different state.
What is true for storms is also true for people. A few degrees off in character extended over several years can put a person in a different state of being from who you thought they were.
Many have lamented to me over the lack of character in their mates. “He partied in college, but I was so sure he would settle down after we married. I told him I would never marry a man who did drugs or didn’t attend church with me.”
Others share how they attended church functions with each other while dating. Some even met doing ministry activities together. They wonder how someone so involved could be so unkind at home.
Religious activity should not to be confused with goodness or with having a meaningful relationship with God. The Pharisees of Jesus’ day were hyper-religious. They also reeked of self-righteousness—and lack of love for God and fellow humans.
Never choose a mate based on what you hope he or she will become, or on who he/she claims to be. Who is this person now? How do they treat those they don’t know? If he/she never changes, would you be happy with that person? Do you want their traits duplicated in your children? It is godly, not mean, to be discerning.
The person you marry will affect you and your extended family for the rest of your life. Carefully consider the character of those you date and where that character will take that person and you in the years to come.
Proverbs 31:10 says, A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies (NIV). A spouse of noble character may be rare, but worth the wait. Don’t settle for less.
This was adapted from my new Bible Study book, Your Invitation to a Better Life, Lessons Learned from Women Named in Jesus’ Genealogy.
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