Avoiding the Traits of a Bad Picker
I. Introduction: A single person faces the high-stakes challenge of discerning who might be a good pick for a relationship and who might be a bad pick. The standards the world uses are at best unreliable, the modeling from our own childhood may be distorted, and the church is often silent on the subject. The result is you end up feeling you are all on your own.
A. A Definition of a Bad Picker—Someone who lacks the knowledge of what makes for lasting relationships, who ignores wisdom and warning signs, and who impulsively enters into relationships. They pick people who do not share you faith and Christ and who are willing to compromise the truth.
B. Two Biblical Examples of Bad Pickers
Solomon and Many Foreign Wives
Ananias and Sapphira
C. The Dilemma—A single person faces the high-stakes challenge of discerning who might be a good pick for a relationship and who might be a bad pick. The standards the world uses are at best unreliable, the modeling from our own childhood may be distorted, and the church is often silent on the subject. The result is you end up feeling you are all on your own.
II. Bad Picker Trait #1: Picks a Person of Who Doesn’t Share Your Faith in Christ
A. Definition—True character values are those guiding beliefs and principles that produce a person of faithfulness, respect, purity, kindness, and courage.
B. The Challenge—As a single we may meet someone who we are emotionally attracted to yet the person lacks saving relationship with Jesus Christ. A bad picker will: 1) ignore that reality and hopes the person will change later, 2) convinces themselves the person actually is a believer when they are not, or 3) decides having someone is better than having no one and ignores the spiritual disconnect.
“King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women besides Pharaoh’s daughter – Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites. They were from nations about which the Lord had told the Israelites, `You must not intermarry with them, because they will turn your hearts after their gods.’ Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love. He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray. As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been.” 1 Kings 11: 1-4
“He followed Ashoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molech the detestable god of the Ammonites. So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the Lord; and he did not follow the Lord completely, as David his father had done. On a hill east of Jerusalem, Solomon built a high place for Chemosh, the detestable god of Moab. He did the same for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and offered sacrifices to their gods.” 1 Kings 11: 5-8
C. Picking a Person Who Doesn’t Share our Faith
- A bad picker will look outside the community of believers to find someone they find attractive or available.
- They will make romantic attraction or sexual chemistry the first priority in their lives over spiritual compatibility.
- They will flaunt God’s warnings believing they can manage the consequences.“I acquired men and women singers and a harem as well – the delights of the heart of man…I denied myself nothing my eyes desired. I refused my heart no pleasure.” Ecclesiastes 2:8,10
- A bad picker ignores the warnings of God’s Word believing they are irrelevant, impractical or outdated.
- They indulge themselves in relationships to the point of excess and even addiction.
- They lose self-control and simply begin living for the pleasure and experience of infatuation regardless of the cost.
- As time goes on we care less and less for the things of God.
- Spiritual callousness develops to the point we don’t sense the conviction of God’s Spirit in our lives anymore.
- Rather than changing their hearts, they end up changing our hearts.
- We end up doing things we thought we would never do.
- You will end up with someone is willing to share everything with you except your love for Christ.
- You will pick an individual who at first tolerates your faith, then later finds it a nuisance, and finally comes to oppose it.
- You will find over time that in order to please them you will have to adapt their values more than they adapt to yours.
- You will one day be presented with the choice to either sacrifice your spiritual integrity or sacrifice your marriage.
- At best your children will be spiritually confused.
- You will find your own heart and house divided.
- Ultimately, you may become a person you no longer recognize.
- 8. Remember the three steps toward ruin in anyone’s life (Gothard):
- Living a life of foolishness (consistently ignoring God’s moral law)
- Entering into a life of madness (giving in to spiritual forces that manipulate our minds and hearts toward ever increasing evil)
- Experiencing a life of death (reaping the final destruction of ourselves and others)
E. The Real Issue—Are you willing to run all the red lights of God’s Word in order to find romantic and sexual fulfillment, or are you willing to wait for a person that shares your passionate love for Jesus Christ? Are you willing to say no to your feelings in order to say yes to your soul?
14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15 What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 16 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.” 17 “Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.”18 “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6: 14-18
16 The king, moreover, must not acquire great numbers of horses for himself or make the people return to Egypt to get more of them, for the LORD has told you, “You are not to go back that way again.” 17 He must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray. He must not accumulate large amounts of silver and gold. 18 When he takes the throne of his kingdom, he is to write for himself on a scroll a copy of this law, taken from that of the priests, who are Levites. 19 It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the LORD his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees and not consider himself better than his brothers and turn from the law to the right or to the left. Then he and his descendants will reign a long time over his kingdom in Israel.”
Deuteronomy 17: 16-20
22 Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.
31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. Ephesians 5: 31-32
Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come and his bride has made herself ready. 8 Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.) 9 Then the angel said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!’” Revelation 19: 7-9
F. Truth that Can Heal
- God knows that marriage and relationships can produce the deepest pain and deepest joy life knows.
- He understands the incredible conflict, hurt and disappointment that is inevitable when two people not share the same faith.
- He wants to spare you such deep and damaging emotions and give you a life of peace, harmony and true oneness.
G. Action Steps
- Decide today you will not try to build your future house on two sets of blueprints.
- In the most honest way you ever looked at your own life, ask if you have saving faith (Lutzer):
- Knowledge of the Gospel
- Agreement with the Gospel
- Trust in the Gospel
- If the answer is yes, then ask yourself if the person you are dating or will date has that same faith.
- If the answer to the second question is no, your love interest does not have saving faith, then take the step of difficult step of obedience and let go of that relationship, but do so with grace and truth.
- Remember it is far better to live single than it is to live married to the wrong person.
H. Discussion Questions
- Can we trust our emotions alone when deciding if we should enter into a relationship? Or to put it another way, why is it just as easy to fall in love with someone who doesn’t share your faith as one who does?
- Isn’t dating someone who isn’t a believer a great evangelistic opportunity? Why would that be a potential danger?
- Why would God make such a big deal out of who it is we enter into emotional or love relationships with? Isn’t the prohibition not to date or marry an unbeliever bordering on religious prejudice or bigotry?
- Five or ten or twenty years into a marriage between a believer and unbeliever why do both persons often end up unhappy (even regretting they married the other person)?
III. Bad Picker Trait #2: Picking Someone Willing to Compromise the Truth
A. Definition—Compromising the truth refers to a willingness to deliberately distort the facts, mislead others for the sake of unjust gain, and refuses to hold people accountable for their unethical behavior.
B. The Challenge—As a single we can encounter people who have a number of strong character traits, yet when faced with temptation, they are willing to compromise the truth for short-term gain. A bad picker fails to see the danger in becoming emotionally involved or married to such a person, and eventually learns to practice the art of truth compromise to their ruin.
1 Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. 2 With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet. 3 “Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? 4 Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men, but God.”
5 “When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. 6 Then the young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him. 7 About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 Peter asked her, “Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?”
“Yes,” she said, “that is the price.” 9 Peter said to her, “How could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.” 10 At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband.”
11 “Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.” Acts 5: 1-11
9 We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10 for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine 11 that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me. 1Timothy 1: 9-11
1 The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 2 Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. 1Timothy 4: 1-2
33 Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” 34 Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God—I say this to your shame. 1 Corinthians 15: 33-34
“But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” Revelation 21:8
“But you, O God, will bring down the wicked into the pit of corruption; bloodthirsty and deceitful men will not live out half their days. But as for me, I trust in you.” Psalm 55:23
C. Avoiding Picking Someone Who Compromises Truth
- Avoid someone who is interested in making a show for others or envious of other people getting the attention.
- Avoid someone who works schemes in small situations, they are likely to work them in larger ones as well.
- Avoid someone unwilling to call you on your own compromised behavior.
- Avoid someone who makes a public display of their good works.
- Avoid someone willing to allow evil of any kind to find a welcome place in their heart.
- Avoid someone who is dishonest with money in any fashion.
- Avoid someone who’s dishonest with God.
- Avoid someone who has doctrinal issues.
- Avoid someone who appears to have abandoned their faith in Christ regardless of the justification.
- Avoid picking someone who lacks appears to lack remorse over things they do wrong.
- Avoid someone who keeps bad company.
- Avoid someone who lacks courage or sexual integrity or who is interested in the occult or has numerous idols in their life.
D. Results – If you pick someone who does compromise the truth you can expect the following to happen in your life:
- You will learn to compromise the truth as well.
- You will lose your integrity in situations where it was entirely unnecessary to do so.
- You will find yourself reaping consequences rather than results.
- You will experience God’s judgments rather than God’s blessings.
- You will have no one to hold you accountable for your bad decisions.
- You life will end up being a warning to others (particularly to young people) rather than serving as an example for them to follow.
- Your relationships, ministry and even life may end much sooner than it needed to.
E. The Real Issue—Are you willing to try and wait for someone that will challenge you and hold you accountable to become the best person you can be? Or will you rationalize and deceive yourself into believing that associating with people who tell small lies is really no big deal? Will you let their bad company ruin your good morals?
“No one who practices deceit will dwell in my house; no one who speaks falsely will stand in my presence.” Psalm 101:7
“2 Test me, O LORD, and try me, examine my heart and my mind…I walk continually in your truth. 4 I do not sit with deceitful men, nor do I consort with hypocrites…6 I wash my hands in innocence, and go about your altar, O LORD, 7 proclaiming aloud your praise and telling of all your wonderful deeds.” Psalm 26: 2-7
“A man of perverse heart does not prosper; he whose tongue is deceitful falls into trouble…” Proverbs 17:20
21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. 22 “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.”
1 Peter 2: 21-22
Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32
F. Action Steps
- Do a truth detector self-test: On a scale of 1 to 10 how often do you tell the truth when it would be more convenient to tell a half-truth or a small lie?
- Using that same scale what would a potential love interest have to score in order for you to pursue a relationship?
- Make a commitment to spend next week telling the truth as many times as possible.
- If you must keep a confidence tell people the truth you are not at liberty to speak about that situation.
- Apologize to those you have misled or told half-truths to.
- Ask friends to hold you accountable to consistently telling the truth.
- If you catch the person you’re dating consistently compromising the truth, small or big, confront them with that fact.
- If you do confront them do they: a) get angry with you, b) deny they told a lie, or c) thank you for your honesty?
- If the answer is (a) or (b) it is likely time to end the relationship.
- Remember, if they are willing to compromise the truth with others they are willing to compromise the truth with you.
Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of one’s friend springs from his earnest counsel. Proverbs 27:10
G. Discussion Questions
- Is there such a thing as a small or white lie?
- Should we really be caught off guard when we discover someone has been telling us a big lie? Were there no earlier clues to indicate they are someone willing to compromise the truth?
- Why is “walking in the light” necessary to building a successful love relationship?
- When we enter into a deep emotional relationship with someone should it become easier or more difficult to tell the truth?
- If it becomes more difficult to tell the truth is that a warning sign to get out?
- Why is dating a person who won’t ever compromise the truth an important safeguard against a future affair?