Theology Thursdays: Singles Dealing with Temptation and Bitterness by Andrea Hughes
Everyone has to deal with temptation and sometimes we're even tempted to be bitter about some of life's trials and circumstances. Temptations are even good sometimes because they can make us stronger in character. However singles face some particular temptations that have their own twist to them.
Take for instance time and money. Many singles find they have quite a bit to play around with. There is the temptation to squander all this extra time with lots of frivolous activities and expenditures, as the world does, rather than meditate on such questions as: "How might I use this extra time and money to further advance God's kingdom coming?" "What will I be able to say when I am asked to give an account of the "talents" I was given to work with?" "Will I have provided shelter for someone needing a home, refuge, or emergency shelter - near or far, visited some sick, in prison, or shut ins on a regular basis to minister healing, setting someone free from loneliness (even my own) by bringing Jesus to them personally or by a letter, by phone and or funds, provided clothing to anyone needing it - near or far?" "Am I spending so much time and money on myself - hording in the bank, staying "fashionably correct", hitting all the right nightlife places, cruises, trips to conferences and restaurants, educational and career advancement that I have not shared this with someone who may not be able to afford any of these luxuries, who is barely making it? Do I even know any such people, personally or have I surrounded myself with so many of the elite, "arrived people" that even Jesus with his down home mixing-with-the-common-people self would not be comfortable or even allowed in my social sphere?"
Hmm. What would God say to us? How about meditating on: Matthew 6:19-21, Matt. 25:14-30, & 31-46, Luke 14:12-14. Also you may want to see the movie Hotel Rwanda, the best modern display of a man doing Luke 16:1-10, wisely making friends with mammon that this editor has seen.
Then there is the question of bitterness. Many singles, especially in the D.C. area, find themselves staying single much longer than planed. Not only does it seem incredulous and quite an unexpected, unpleasant surprise, for many it also begins to rub on the nerves and patience. There is not only the temptation to give up waiting on Jesus in chastity and or abstinence from premarital sex (after all, seems like everyone is having all the fun); there is also the temptation to be disappointed, angry, and even bitter with God.
Now, it's not that God can't take us and all these emotions, after all He is the one who created us emotional beings and He gets angry and disappointed too. He says: "Be angry and sin not." Ephesians 4:26 And His chosen people, Israel, were forever disappointing him. Right?
However, what about this bitterness with God that shows up in our bearing, our interaction with people - irritability, coldness, harshness, disagreeableness, unfruitfulness, self-righteousness? Have you ever stopped to meditate on why you may have been selected to be single? What God might be saving you from or for? Have you ever wondered why some saved singles seem genuinely happy while many married, divorced, or separated seem so sad? Why God didn't relegate "peace beyond understanding" and "joy unspeakable" only to married people but said all believers regardless of status, age, country born in, etc. can have them?
Therefore it would seem that married people really don't have a corner on joy, peace, and the abundant life. Alleluia! We can all have it. Now what about you?
Andrea Hughes is a Counselor, Speaker, and a Singles & Family Life Minister. This article was published by the National Black Catholic Congress.
Thursday, November 9, 2006