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  • Writer's pictureJan Weihl

Unequally Yoked (2 Corinthians 6)

If someone asks for your blessing to get married, do you see that as just a formality or is there meaning behind it we should consider? What if it's not marriage but a business partnership or maybe just a friendship? What criteria should we use for that blessing?

As Christians the Bible gives us very clear criteria but we have to make sure we understand it and use it correctly:

2 Corinthians 6:14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?

The word "yoked" literally means bound as two oxen pulling a cart are bound together with a wooden yoke. Two animals that are not pulling in unison in the same direction, will accomplish nothing.

So this verse does not mean that the unbeliever is a bad or evil person.

What this verse (and the whole passage) is saying is that an unbeliever is never going to base decisions within marriage, within business, or within friendship on whether those decisions glorify Jesus. The unbeliever is going to base decisions on what pleases them.

So if a follower of Jesus is trying to base decisions on God's Word, that is almost always going to be at odds with what an unbeliever wants to do.

That means as followers of Jesus, if we are asked to give our blessing on a marriage, a business partnership, or even a friendship between two people who are not both followers of Jesus, we need to point out the natural disconnect that will constantly occur.

Of course there is the other possibility which is the follower of Jesus will stop following Jesus and instead go along with what pleases their partner.

So maybe the way to approach this is to draw out the yoke on a piece of paper and ask a few questions:

  • Person A: Are you a follower of Jesus Christ? Are you going to base the decisions in your relationship on what brings Jesus glory according to the Word of God? If the answer is "yes," draw an arrow straight ahead.

  • Person B: Are you a follower of Jesus Christ? Are you going to base the decisions in your relationship on what brings Jesus glory according to the Word of God? If the answer is "no," draw an arrow going the opposite direction.

If Person A answers "yes" and Person B answers "no," ask them how they are ever going to accomplish life together if they are not basing their decisions on the same goal?

Suggest they discuss this themselves and what this would mean for their relationship and ask to meet with them again after they have had some time to think about it.

When you get together a second time, if they both are still in agreement to join in marriage, business or friendship with one of them committing to follow Jesus and the other not committing to follow Jesus, then you would want to say as a follower of Jesus yourself, you can't bless this disunion because it is against Scripture and not of God.

Dear Lord, We are living in a time where at least half of all marriages fail. We also see many businesses and friendships failing. Lord, I know if the partners in those situations are both chasing after You with all of their heart, these statistics would be drastically different. Your Word warns us not to be unequally yoked in any of our relationships for our protection. Lord, thank you for this reminder. Thank you for the wisdom in Your Word to navigate our relationships and set them up for success with You rather than failure without You. In Jesus' name I pray, amen.

Jan Weihl

Living Word Ministries

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