Recently I saw a TV commercial for a popular online dating site that is geared toward Christian singles. When I pulled up the site on the Internet, the home page included a Scripture quotation and makes an appeal to the viewer to “Find God’s Match for you.” A further examination of this site reveals that it is owned by a company that has several niche dating sites, including one for Jewish singles, and others for black singles and military singles. The Christian site includes a statement of faith, presumably for those who sign up, and tips for Christian dating.
There’s no denying the success of the site. It claims to have more than 2,000,000 registered members and growing. The site and its TV commercials include testimonials from those who have found their ideal mates through use of the site. And it includes endorsements from several pastors and ministers from around the country.
Obviously the site has gone through great lengths to present itself as a legitimate resource for online Christian socializing and dating. The question is, are these online sites Biblical? Can God really use an online dating site to help a Christian man or woman find their mate for life? Can the will of God be realized through internet personals?
Critics of online dating sites say that using them reflects a lack of faith in God. If you use an online dating site (also called online personals) to filter through a waiting pool of potential mates, are you truly trusting and believing in God?
There appear to be two extreme points of view when it comes to dating and marriage. One is that all you need to do is trust in and believe in God, and seek to please Him, and do not worry about finding a wife, and one day it will happen. Maybe you will run into your future spouse in a supermarket, totally by accident. The scripture in Matthew 6:25-34 seems to support this view.
Conversely, there are those who believe that a high level of effort and searching are necessary to find a spouse. After all, doesn’t the scripture say, “He who finds a wife, finds a good thing” (Proverbs 18:22)?
Godly wisdom suggests the need to find a middle ground between these two extremes. Yes, it is necessary to trust and believe in God for your mate, but you may have to apply a certain degree of effort and searching in order to be successful at finding a mate.
Going as far back as Abraham’s effort to find his son Isaac a mate in Genesis 24, and continuing to this day, God has been very involved with mate selection, so finding one must always be done in a Godly manner and in accordance with faith and trust in Him. You must use Holy Spirit discernment as to the “where” and “how” you search for a mate. In Genesis 24, Abraham gave his servant direction as to where to search for a wife for his son Isaac. He told him not to look in the land of Canaanites, whom Noah previously placed a curse upon, but in Abraham’s own land and among his own relatives (v. 4). When Abraham’s servant had arrived near the spring in the town of Nahor, he prayed that the Lord would reveal to him the woman whom He had chosen for Isaac (vv.12-14). God led the steps of Abraham’s servant directly to the place, at the proper time, for him to meet the woman whom God had already set aside for Isaac. But it would have never happened if Abraham did not take the initiative to find a wife for his son. And Isaac might never have met Rebekah if Abraham’s servant did not obey his master and go to the place where God had the blessing awaiting.
In modern times, Christian singles meet and date through church, at social events, in the marketplace, through friends and relatives, and at work. Online dating sites provide a meeting place for single Christians who may be too busy or too introverted to meet people through traditional means. However, just as a Christian must use spiritual discernment (Galatians 5:16) to determine which social events to attend, whom to socialize with at work, and which church to attend, the same discernment must be applied with online dating sites. While these sites are not sinful in and of themselves, they can be harmful for those who are functioning outside of God’s guidance. These sites can present a “quick fix” for immature Christians who have become impatient waiting on God’s blessing, and want to take the matter into their own hands. They provide a way for lonely Christians to quickly and, with minimal effort, become linked with someone who is interested in them, even if God is not ready for them to take on a mate just yet.
On the other hand, sites like this may be perfect for introverts who do not get out much and may have trouble meeting people of the opposite sex. For those who are busy and have minimal opportunities to socialize, online dating sites may provide a means for them to meet people who could potentially become mates. But before you access any online dating site, make sure you consider the following:
Make sure you are spiritually, mentally, and financially ready for dating. Many people want mates. Unfortunately, not everyone is ready for them. Dating and marriage carry responsibilities that not everyone is prepared for. A person that is not fortified in the Lord may be subject to sexual temptation, financial temptation and other harmful vices. Just because a person is a Christian does not mean that the person has the attributes and character of an ideal mate. A person may use an online dating site to circumvent God’s redemptive work at getting the person ready for the mate of his or her choosing.
Bathe the matter in much prayer, and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. Even if you decide that online dating is God’s will for you, make sure you use Godly discernment throughout the process.
Make sure you are not doing this with purely selfish motives. Do not bow to impatience, loneliness, lust, low self-esteem, the belief that you will never find a mate, or the “ticking of the biological clock,” all of which often leads people to these sites.
As with many things in life, online dating sites can be a blessing to those who were meant to use them and use them properly, but can be destructive to others. Unless you are absolutely certain you are being led by God to connect with someone through online personals sites, stay clear of them and focus on your own relationship with God. Fellowship with other believers. Be diligent and watchful, and God will bless you with a mate in due time. Believe Proverbs 3:5-6, which reads, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths.” Your circumstances are no reason to step outside of God’s will for your life. God is not limited by your circumstances. In the middle of your busy-ness, God can send you a mate. Even if you are not the life of the party, God can cause you to be a shining gem in the eyes of a future spouse.
In time, God will lead you to your prince or princess charming.
Louis N. Jones