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The Problem with Being Unequally Yoked

Have you ever wondered what it really means to be unequally yoked?

It’s a term that’s thrown around a lot in Christian circles and it’s based on a passage of Scripture in 2 Corinthians 6:14. It says “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? ”

Now, that term “yoked” is actually an agricultural term that describes two oxen pulling a burden. But when the oxen aren’t evenly matched…an interesting thing happens.

Gotquestions.org explains it this way:

A yoke is a wooden bar that joins two oxen to each other and to the burden they pull. An “unequally yoked” team has one stronger ox and one weaker, or one taller and one shorter. The weaker or shorter ox would walk more slowly than the taller, stronger one, causing the load to go around in circles. When oxen are unequally yoked, they cannot perform the task set before them. Instead of working together, they are at odds with one another.

The Same is True In Relationships

If we are unequally yoked, when the troubles of life come…we’ll be working against each other.

Take me for example, I like to be running things. Because if I’m in charge, I can eliminate uncertainty. But the need to be in control is a death sentence for a relationship, and the Lord is helping me  overcome my control issues. He says things like:

  • Let Morris take care of the finances.
  • Don’t you say that to your husband!
  • Have a seat, Simone, and let Me handle this.

It scares me to think how my need for control could have destroyed our relationship.

But, when I’m in the wrong the Lord speaks to me. And when Morris is in the wrong He speaks to him. And we rely on each other to be obedient to the will of God.

The Danger of Being Unequally Yoked

As Christians, the danger with being unequally yoked is that we make it easier for the devil to rip our relationships apart. Because when the hard times come (and they will!),  we will be at each other’s throats…rather than laying it on the Cross. 

I think it’s important to remember, that the Thief is working day and night. The Good Book says in John 10:10 that “The Thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but I came that you might have life and it more abundantly.”

It’s easier to walk in that abundant life with someone that’s on the same page when it comes to faith.

By the way, dating someone to bring them to Christ doesn’t really work either. As Joe says in his video “we are not called to be missionaries on the dating field.”

 So, what are your thoughts on being unequally yoked? 

If you are like me, you’ve tried it and have the war wounds to match.

Next time, I’ll be sharing how my misunderstanding of this passage almost derailed me and Morris’ relationship. Because I was a spirit-filled non-denominational and he is a Bible-toting Baptist.  Be back in two weeks. Love, Simone

10 Comments

  1. Excellent blog Simone! Keep them coming. 🙂

  2. Girl if this isn’t an on time word, I don’t know what is! Like most Christians, I’ve heard that scripture many many times. But today it clicked for me. I was discussing marriage with my ex, even to the point where I told my mother I was probably going to do it. She said she was going to hit her knees. And guess what? I realized that there was no way I could marry him because we are on two totally different life journeys. To marry him would mean giving up God’s perfect will for me. I know that He also allows a permissive will, but I want God’s best for me and my life! It’s amazing how much peace I have about it. God is faithful!

    P.S. You’re not the only one with a few war wounds. But I know that He can fully restore. 🙂
    Faith Simone recently posted…National Book Club Conference in Atlanta!My Profile

    • Simone

      August 13, 2015 at 5:13 pm

      Amen, Faith! Amen. I got chills reading your comment, and I’m soooooooooo grateful that what being unequally yoked means clicked for you. Praise God for the Holy Spirit and Praying Mothers. (My mom has hit her knees on my behalf more times than I like to admit:-). It takes so much strength, courage, and faith to walk away from the PRESENT and trust God’s will for the FUTURE. But you are doing it! And I’m sending you a huge virtual hug.

      I love what you said “to marry him would mean giving up God’s perfect will for me.” That is such a clear picture of what we forfeit when we get ahead of His timing in everything jobs, decision-making and relationships. That is one of the things I’m currently struggling with, I’m really feeling frustrated with my writing journey…and I often think about just going to get another job. But I said I’d give it a year and something keeps telling me to wait. Thank you for that reminder Love, Simone

      • You hit the nail on the head when you said, “It takes so much strength, courage, and faith to walk away from the PRESENT and trust God’s will for the FUTURE.” Because that’s exactly what I’m doing. And it’s not easy because I still have love for him. I just want God’s will more than I want my own. So I pray for him daily and trust God with the outcome!

        Don’t give up on your writing! Give it time and see what happens. Peace in the wait is one of the hardest things, but I know He will provide it. ((((Hugs)))))
        Faith Simone recently posted…Book Review: Mama’s Boy by ReShonda Tate BillingsleyMy Profile

        • Simone

          August 24, 2015 at 5:59 am

          “I just want God’s will more than I want my own.” Wow…that’s a beautiful place to be, Miss Faith.
          And a good word for this writing journey too! Thank you for the encouraging word. I took a week off last week to recharge and I keep feeling/hearing/reading about being present for the process and not rushing to the destination. So that is I’m trying to do…be peaceful in the wait.

  3. I bet that this is one of the biggest problems in relationships. And people wonder why they can’t get along or are always arguing–being unequally yoked is probably at the root of it. Unfortunately, though, I think that sometimes people don’t realize this until later (or until they’ve matured in their walk with God), and by then, some tough decisions might have to be made.

    • Simone

      August 16, 2015 at 10:12 pm

      I agree with you: arguing is often a symptom of the root cause problem–being unequally yoked. And I think it IS one of the biggest problems in relationships, because we are looking at life (and its problems) through two different lenses. Your point at the end makes me wonder: how many marriages end in divorce for this reason alone?

      • I think the biggest problem faced by most Christians is the definition of “unbeliever” itself as a word. What really is an unbeliever? Is it someone who doesn’t believe in what you believe? Is it any other person from a religion that is not your own? Is it any other person who belongs to those religious groups that don’t believe in Jehovah God? Is it an outright atheist? During my walk of faith I have mainly had difficulties with the fist two definitions of unbeliever. Come to think of it, it looks pretty obvious but its not. You are a member of a non-pentecostal denomination, you meet say an Adventist guy. He’s Christian isn’t he? And in most circumstances he may have an even finer Character than a thousand of the boys in your church. for those churches that believe in ex-communication, marrying that guy is the ultimate sin which will result in ex-communication. The question therefore is, is such a man an unbeliever? Up to now its a concept I do not fully understand. Is it about the church he goes to or its about his spiritual maturity? What do you think ladies, do we have pockets of unbelievers in the Christian church? Can any one church label all other denominations “unbelievers”? Are we as Christians “one big believing family”? Defining from the onset would save lots of future marriages because I think thats where most Christian women get it all wrong.

        • Simone

          August 24, 2015 at 6:43 am

          Hey Audrey! I know EXACTLY what you mean and this is such a grrrreat topic to discuss here on the blog.

          I’ve been working on a blog post for about a month on how I came to reconcile this for myself. But, somethings wrong with the post and it doesn’t quite communicate what I really feel like the Lord spoke to me when I was facing this dilemma. That’s why I didn’t post it last week. But two things came to me as I read your comment. And I want to encourage you to ask yourself these two questions:

          – Do I trust him to hear from the Lord and obey?
          – Will I follow him?

          I ask these two questions, based on personal experience. Before Morris and I began dating, with the exception of one man, I dated unbelievers. Men that did not live their lives like Jesus. Primarily, they were thugs. (I was in a stage of rebellion and liked the appeal of the life I saw in rap videos. Keep in mind, I was a Church-going Christian and could quote scripture with great fervor. I knew in my heart what was right. But, I chose what was wrong). I did not trust any of these men and had we married, I would have been in a constant inner struggle. Because I would not follow them. Because I did not trust them to hear the Lord. Despite all my wrong-thinking, I’ve always heard/felt the voice of God.

          I believe what you said is true, defining this from the onset is where we get it all wrong.

          So, I looked up the Greek meaning of the word “unbeliever” and it means without Christ, an untrustworthy person, or faithless. I would say that an unbeliever is anyone that doesn’t believe in Christ’s death, burial, resurrection, and Him as the only way to atone for our sins, reconcile us to our Heavenly Father, and the only Way to eternal life.

          So if a man is an atheist or doesn’t believe in Jesus Christ and him crucified, I would argue he is ineligible for a relationship with you or any of my Christian Sisters.

          In the example that you gave, if a man is a 7th Day Adventist but believes in Jesus Christ and him crucified…then he is a believer. Man-made denominations is what confuses me and A LOT of Christians…and I don’t think it’s what the Good Lord intended. Also, does the Bible say anything about marrying someone from a different denomination being a sin?

          Can’t wait to hear your thoughts?!

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