Sunday, July 29, 2012

Why Can’t We Live Together?

In a Yahoo News article entitled “Going Cohab? 8 Survival Tips For Staying Together”, it pointed out how more unmarried couples are bypassing the altar. New figures from the U.S. Census Bureau reported that the number of opposite-sex unmarried couples living together had increased by 13 percent from 2009 to 2010.

“Shacking up” has become commonplace today even among some Christians. Because I wasn’t aware of this practice specifically mentioned in Scripture (later discovering John 4:18), I used to think there wasn't anything wrong with that. At the time I recommitted my life to the Lord in March 1991, I shared an apartment with my then-girlfriend. Eleven months later we were still living together but sleeping in separate beds. I knew it wasn’t God’s will for us to get married. Still I was reluctant to end the live-in relationship because I enjoyed the affection this woman gave me.

One day my girlfriend experienced oppression that I knew was demonic. She refused to seek counseling and so I called our church asking to meet with the next available minister. The pastor I talked to pointed out that my girlfriend and I were opening doors to the devil by living together. I asked this pastor to verify what he was saying with Scripture. One verse he mentioned was “Avoid all appearance of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:22 KJV). Even if my girlfriend and I were not having sex, we were giving people the impression that we were by living together. I was finally convinced my girlfriend and I should not be roommates. Later that day I found another place to live with other Christian men.

Does this mean it’s always a sin for any unmarried man and woman to sleep in the same residence? Personally I think it can be permissible in emergencies or temporary situations as long as no illicit activity occurs. One time a female friend offered to let me crash on her couch for the night after a winter storm caused my apartment’s electricity to go out. During my travels, I’ve occasionally stayed in guest rooms in houses owned by single women.

Then again, there was one female missionary who invited me to stay in her efficiency apartment for a few days so we could evangelize together in her city. While I appreciated her offer, I turned it down because it would have resulted in us sleeping in the same room.

Remember the world is watching us. God’s people are expected to hold to a higher standard of morality.

“Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.” – Hebrews 13:4

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