So I went online. When I say online, I don’t mean that I’ve only just discovered the internet, but I put myself out there and did one of the things my 12 yr old self said I’d never do—or at least not before the age of 30. I signed myself up to an internet dating site. A lot of my peers are online—some having found love, others seeking it. And it made me question.
We have this innate God given desire to love and to be loved. Are we going about it in the right way for this day and age, whilst still honouring God, putting Him first, and trusting in Him completely?
We’re in a society of choice. I go to the shops and I can’t just buy apples, I have to choose between six different types of apples; each with completely different characteristics; and then even within the variety, I get to choose the size, colour, and even firmness of the apple before I’ve given it a try. Once I’ve purchased my apples, if I try one and it’s not to my liking, that’s ok! I can dispose of it, in my brown compost bin, and give one of the others I bought a go. It’s not a bad situation to be in, but when this applies to every aspect of our lives, it can become, dare I suggest, dangerous.
During the first couple of days, I experienced a real confidence boost. I was waved at, received friendly ‘hellos’ and mutual ‘matches’. All I had to do was swipe, reply, or simply ignore. I would know next to nothing about them as a person—it would all be based on the pictures that they had posted of themselves, and any information that they were willing to share. Their best foot forward. And this went the same for me; my best foot forward. A whole database of apples at my finger tips, with no pressure of commitment or even interaction. A world of opportunities and choices, yet with no obligation to choose or to settle. You never know, if I had chosen to persevere with that initial apple, taken a second bite, it may not have been as bad as I had initially found—I may have grown to like, or even love, it.
Proverbs 20:6-7 says that “Many claim to have unfailing love, but a faithful person who can find? The righteous lead blameless lives; blessed are their children after them.”
Maybe we can change that to ‘many claim to be fun-loving, adventurous, sporty, have a good sense of humour; but someone who will draw you closer to God, and is a faithful
person who can find?’ (maybe it’s a bit too soon to talk about the babies part: it is only the first date after all!)
I don’t know what (or who) I expected to get out of signing up, or if it were anything other than a social experiment. However, I discovered that whilst it was on my mind, I became quite insular in the way that I interacted with the world around me, as well as how I responded to and essentially treated other people’s profiles. I discovered that it was incredibly easy to advertise my faith on a Christian dating app, and to find people advertising a similar faith. However, on secular dating apps, it is purely down to you as to what you disclose and equally what you ‘swipe right’ to. Am I putting my identity in Christ and am I being salt and light to this online world? There were times when I wasn’t so sure—times when I would get caught up in the moment and swipe for earthly reasons. Don’t hear me wrong—online dating has its platform, but it’s up to me to be on guard and to be disciplined in my faith—to keep in time with heaven’s heartbeat over all aspects of my life.
I don’t think any child dreams of meeting their Romeo or Juliet online—Disney hasn’t quite gone there...yet; but I would like to challenge you, and not just regarding this subject, but in all aspects of life:
Am I drawing those around me closer to God?
What would it look like to honour God in all that I say and do?
How can I practice commitment where I am at in life?
Where, and in whom, am I investing my time and energy?