Let's examine a familiar passage from 2 Corinthians chapter 6.
"Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: 'I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people." 2 Corinthians 6:14-16
Let's begin with looking at what this passage doesn't mean. This passage does not mean that Christians should not have any relationships with unbelievers. Christ ate and drank in the homes of "sinners" and the Pharisees bashed Him for that. We are to live amongst people of all different backgrounds: gay or straight, rich or poor, American or foreign, Christian or non-Christian. This passage does not tell us to build a compound on the edge of town and hide away in it. No, Christians are to live in our communities and work for the good of the people in those communities. We are to reach out to people with the love of Jesus and how can we do that without building any relationships?
This passage is about being yoked with unbelievers. Being yoked invokes an image of two oxen or horses. The yoke bound them together in unity as they worked. So, this passage is telling us not to have binding, covenant-type relationships with unbelievers. This is talking about deep friendships, romantic relationships, etc.
Why not? This is the obvious question to ask. I want to give a couple of reasons to answer this question. I'm sure there are more reasons, but I'll give two.
1) What do we have in common with unbelievers?
I'm not saying that an unbeliever and I can't have a strong affinity for Cubs baseball or Chicago style pizza. What I'm saying is that as a Christian our faith is not merely a part of who we are, it is who we are. My identity is found in Christ and what Christ has called me. My faith isn't part of who I am, it is who I am. How can you have a binding, deep, covenantal relationship with someone who is so radically different from you at the core? Who I am in Christ affects how I see everything and I can't be bound to someone who sees almost everything differently than I do. Can I love them? Absolutely. Will I bind myself to them completely? No.
Here's a mathematical truth I want to share with you in a story problem (Yes, I'm using math to prove a Biblical truth. God invented math and created its laws that we later discovered).
One horse on a farm was able to pull 8,000 pounds. So, the farmer found another horse who could pull 8,000 pounds on its own. How much can the two pull together? You may answer 16,000 pounds but you would be wrong. Because of the law of synergy these two equally yoked horses can pull around 26,000 pounds, not 16,000 pounds. The law of synergy says 1+1 = 3. When the combinations of strengths are equal the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
Christian relationships are like this. A married couple that are equally yoked in Christ can do more together than separately. A team of Christian friends will do more together than the sum of their parts would suggest. There is great synergy when we are bound in relationships with those who share our identity.
So, don't avoid non-Christians. Pursue relationships with them, but not binding relationships. Find your identity in Christ and find friends who have done the same. And for those of you aching for a romantic relationship, yearning for a partner in life, wait for another believer. Don't believe Satan's lies when he suggests you settle for someone who "believes in God" but really isn't a believer. If you are going to marry please do it God's way. Find someone who will run the race with you and watch what the Lord will do with you two teamed together.
Be equally yoked today.