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Why Christians Shouldn’t Become Unevenly Yoked


Eric Snow Sermonette 9-6-03 UCG Ann Arbor



In Joshua Harris’ book I Kissed Dating Goodbye, he explained his not-so-good experiences with some shopping carts when he has gone grocery shopping.  I’ll use his experience here, although I’m going to draw a different point than he did today.  Have you ever gone grocery shopping, and got a bad cart?  Maybe you got one that constantly squeaked as you pushed it.  Or it had a defective handle in which the plastic handle moved back and forth or around the metal underneath.  Or maybe it was simply hard to push since one or more of the casters would get stuck some as it or they turned.  Perhaps the worst one is the “swerver,” which constantly wants to go to the side. 


Now imagine for the rest of your life you had to have a bad shopping cart EVERY time you went into (say) Farmer Jacks, Krogers, Meijers, Kmart, etc.  Wouldn’t that be a constant minor trial?  Would it drive you half nuts?  I think my mother would be, especially since she hates grocery shopping anyway.


But now there’s something much worse than this fictional trial, and that’s for someone to deliberately marry someone who is in constant disagreement with them on religion.  Much like the itch that can’t be scratched, or the shopping cart with a mind of its own, a Christian married to a non-Christian will have a relationship that’s a constant source of conflict.


S.P.S.  Christians should never choose to be married to non-Christians.  We should never be unevenly yoked with unbelievers.


May say can tune out, go to sleep for next 15 minutes, since only theoretical issue, since already married, or older & widowed or divorced.  But still may have children or grandchildren or friends this is a live issue for.


Not about those called after being married.  Just because UCG-IA won’t administratively punish for this doesn’t mean it’s spiritually good.


II Cor. 6:14-18


“heterozugoyntes,” refers to two of a different kind trying to work together, such as plowing with a donkey and ox together, which the Old Testament prohibits.  Marvin Vincent, Vincent’s Word Studies, p. 324:   “Unequally gives an ambiguous sense.  It is not inequality, but difference in kind, as is shown by the succeeding words.”  Cooperation is difficult because of the differences involved.    In Gone With the Wind (p. 22), Gerald O’Hara, the father of Scarlett:  “Only when like marries like can there be any happiness.”


Constant friction involved when values fundamentally different.  Christianity is a way of life, not just a couple hours each Saturday at church:  How children will be raised?  What TV and movies will you watch together?  What music would you listen to?  What will you eat if the husband or wife wants to eat pork or shrimp and you don’t?  How will they act on the Sabbath around you when they don’t keep it but you think you should?  What would you do when they want to put up a Christmas tree, paint eggs for Easter, or display lanterns on Halloween?  Suppose the conflict turns on something even more fundamental, such as doing drugs, hanging out in bars constantly, smoking, heavy drinking, watching or reading pornography?


I Kings 11:1-9


Solomon corrupted by being unevenly yoked despite God had appeared to him twice even.  This could happen to us, regardless of how spiritually strong we think we are.  It’s much easier to compromise down than up.  Could hope for conversion of mate, but it’s not likely.  One case example. 


Gone with the Wind:  Scarlett, thinking she could change Ashley Wilkes, “Oh Pa . . . if I married him, I’d change all that.”  Gerald:  “Oh, you would, would you now? . . . Then it’s little enough you are knowing of any man living, let alone Ashley.  No wife has ever changed a husband one whit, and don’t you be forgetting that.”  This is overly emphatic, but it states a basic truth nevertheless.


SKIP?  Tim LaHaye, as a pastor, counseling woman who wanted to marry unsaved man:  “We have in our church 36 women and 4 men who are married to unsaved partners.  I’ll give you their names and phone numbers, and you can call any of them and ask, ‘If you had to do it again, would you marry an unbeliever?’  Out of those 40 people, no one of them would answer yes.”


Conclusion:  We as Christians have been called to live a different way of life from the world.   Christians who marry people in the world who insist on living the world’s ways are setting themselves up for constant conflict if they wish to live God’s way of life and their mate doesn’t.  Much like the grocery shopper battling shopping cart with a mind of its own, a Christian who chooses to be unevenly yoked has chosen to be often unhappy.  Let’s remember Gerald O’Hara’s general advice when we’re tempted to marry someone in the world:  “Only when like marries like can there be any happiness.”


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