Tue | Sep 26, 2017

Unequally yoked - Making marriage and religion work

Published:Saturday | February 4, 2017 | 2:00 AMCecelia Campbell Livingston

Light of the world, shine on me
Love is the answer
Shine on us all, set us free
Love is the answer
Love Is The Answer - Todd Rundgren

*Janet was all set on marrying the love of her life. The invitations were sent out and everything seemed to be going great, until her fiance had a talk with his pastor and everything went downhill from there.

Janet is a Pentecostal believer and her fiance is a 'Jesus Only' believer (a movement of believers within Pentecostalism who hold that true baptism can only be "in the name of Jesus" rather than in the name of the Trinity).

Upon advice from his pastor two days before the wedding, he called it off.

This is a situation being encountered a lot in Christendom. Family and Religion reached out to Pastor Rameon Facey of Freedom Evangelical Association, Town Centre Plaza, Portmore for his take on the matter.

He expressed lack of confidence in such a union working as he said their concept of God determines how they see themselves, how they conduct themselves and how they view marriage and relationships. "These opposing viewpoints can cause them to be pulled in different directions, thus creating conflict in the marriage. However, if it is a case where they are willing to change their religious beliefs for each other, it just might work," he points out.

Agreeing that the Church is one foundation, he reminds that Bible alludes to not being unequally yoked together with unbelievers.

(2 Corinthians 6:14).

"It does not only refer to ungodly, but also people who cannot believe in God on the level that you can. A marriage has different components - financial, emotional, philosophical, sexual and spiritual. There is also the issue of the days on which they worship, their faith - one may be so zealous for God that it affects their sexual relationship," shared Facey.

However, all is not lost in the romance department as Facey stressed that if the prospective couple has proper premarital counselling, identifying the various weaknesses in their relationship and are willing to work on the areas of conflicts, having consensus in different areas, it may work.

Still, Facey said there will still be challenges that they would face if they get married such as conflict in vision, spiritual life, family life, financial and sexual life.

According to Facey, the couple can expect several barriers including the day on which one worships, their beliefs - one may believe in speaking in tongues, the other may not.

"One may believe that they should be baptised in Jesus only, the other in the Father, Son and Holy Ghost; should one wear a hat to church or go bare head and the list goes on," he said.

On the matter of pastors getting involved in such relationships, to the extent where they have an influence on the union, he said pastors and marriage counsellors are gatekeepers to the marriage covenant and it is their responsibility to guide God's flock in every area of life.

"Not to lord over them, but to lead them using the moral authority of the Word of God; not to be legalistic, but to be understanding using the wisdom that comes from the Holy Spirit," he shared.

Should the one being counselled choose to ignore the voice of the counsellor or their pastor and 'follow their heart', Facey said they should define what it means to 'follow your heart'.

"The Word of God says, 'he that trusteth in his own heart is a fool' (Proverbs 28:26). If following your heart means following your own sensual perception, your sensual perception can cause you to make poor decisions that can affect your relationship. However, if following your heart means that you are inspired and led by God to marry that person, but the pastor/leader is a stumbling block, I believe one should respectfully decline this leader's advice and seek counselling from someone else who is trained and qualified in this area," he shared.

Facey told Family and Religion that the ultimate voice to listen to when it comes on to direction on life's decision is God. He should be the one to direct the decisions that are made.

"If we are led by Him in every area of our lives and believe that it is His Word that governs our lives, then we should have no difficulty when it comes to choosing a life partner."

familyandreligion@gleanerjm.com