this is sort of a continuation of what i was thinking while i was writing marriage tuesday yesterday…
here’s the passage about being “unequally yoked” that i referenced:
Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” 2 Corinthians 6:14-16
these words come in the midst of paul’s defense of his apostleship…as he defines the depth of relationship he and his friends in the corinthian church have with each other. this passage is not about marriage. it’s about friendship and partnership in the work of god.
so here’s my personal take on what he is saying: there are going to be people i cannot share my life with, because they will never understand my life.
there is a depth and purpose found in the life of a genuine follower of christ that can only be understood by someone who shares that same purpose. one who shares the same yoke. (a yoke is an apparatus that connected two animals together for a common purpose.)
there are some people in my life who i love deeply…thoroughly enjoy…share common interests with…but we are completely and totally different at the core. they don’t get me. we don’t share the same essence. the things i do with my time and money and energy make no real sense to them.
they may love me…and i, them. they may admire me. they may respect me. they may even need my help or seek out my input. but they don’t get me, because we are unequally yoked in our relationship with each other.
this doesn’t make me better. i am in no way superior to them…more gifted…more loved by god…more worthy of mercy and grace. we simply do not share a fellowship of the spirit. we see life from different world views. we have different starting points. we exist on completely different basic assumptions about life and love and purpose.
to be honest, i’m not exactly sure what paul was referring to when he told the corinthians to avoid being unequally yoked with people. maybe it was about business relationships. maybe it has marriage overtones. maybe it was a general statement to avoid being in controlling relationships with unbelievers. maybe it was a command that was unique to their particular situation (which we have no detailed knowledge of). i really don’t know.
what i do know is that we will spend our lives being connected to people…essentially yoked to them as friends, family, work associates, teammates, neighbors…and many of those relationships will exist in emptiness and frustration because they will never fully understand who we are or what makes us tick.
some of those relationships will leave us with permanent broken hearts and sadness that doesn’t go away.
that’s why we live must live with integrity and faithfulness to our calling…because, ultimately, that’s the only thing we can bring to these relationships that will really matter.