"Do not be bound together with unbelievers"


#1

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately:

2 Corinthians 6:14-15 Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?

What do you make of this? Do you have many people in your life who are unbelievers?

I’ve hady many friends who are unbelievers but have come to a point in life when I’m not very comfortable with people who have no faith or belong to a different religion. I don’t know why that is, perhaps I’ve become so determined to follow God that everything that is against Him somehow feels wrong. In the past I was influenced by my unbelieving friends in a negative way that resulted in moral relativism, cynicism and attitudes that go against Christian principles. These days I am older and hopefully smarter and know how to set the boundaries and to trust God. But has the danger gone away? I wonder how all the co-habiting couples that I know influenece my attitudes towards chastity and marriage. I’m not exactly horrified by their lifestyle choices, although I probably should be. (I’m married so no danger of living in sin, I’m just using this as an example).

St. Paul is very clear about Christians not being bound with unbelievers. The context of the whole passage is about principles for the Church to live by. Should we Christians stick together and avoid unbelievers in order to grow in faith and be strong in faith and never forget that we are not of this world? I think this is what he expected of the church in Corinth in order to grow in purity of heart and holiness.

What do you think about this? How do we manage to be tolerant, charitable and loving towards people and at the same time follow this teaching?


#2

Interesting… I just read a different text version (here)…

Do not be yoked with those who are different, with unbelievers.

That word “yoked” makes me think differently about the passage. It implies *working *in the world, *tilling *ground, *physically *doing work on the earth.
That seems to make more sense because we certainly don’t want to be doing the “work” of unbelievers… tied together in THEIR efforts…

But living amongst them… and furthermore… maybe even bringing them TO our beautiful faith - that’s certainly not something that should be avoided simply because they don’t already believe! Quite the contrary - we’re called to evangelize and bring others to Christ!


#3

Well, I know that this passage has traditionally been used to steer people away from MARRYING an unbeliever, but there is no mention of marriage specifically in that entire Scripture.

I think the key idea here is “bound together” or “yoked together.” To me, that doesn’t mean we are to segregate ourselves away from the lost (as if we could!), but not to get into contracts or agreements with them, or get wrapped up in their affairs, decisions, lifestyle, etc. Jesus didn’t remove himself from the sinful, lost society - he embraced it. But he didn’t start making contracts with the Pharisees either.:wink:

This is on my mind constantly as I am in an “unequally yoked” marriage although both of us are cradle Catholics. We were both long away from the Church when we met and married, but having our first son brought me back with fervor. At this point, I think most anyone would describe him as spiritually disinterested, if not a true atheist. He could not answer me when I asked him if he even believes in God. At least he didn’t say “No!”

There is a chasm between us in our approaches to life. I cannot make myself understood from my side of the canyon. I don’t even know if our marriage will survive, honestly. I didn’t plan for this, God just turned me around and showed me that He was always there with me, I just didn’t recognize him. I pray that my husband will have a moment like that. We’re in counseling (Christian at my insistence) but still…the gap is there. He doesn’t get where I am coming from, thinks I am rigid in my belief system, etc. and I can’t get behind some of his desires for us because they are 100% materialistic and not based on Scripture. And don’t even get me started on the sexual purity issue…

But enough about me - that’s only how I know that being “yoked” or “bound” to an unbeliever causes all sorts of pain in the believer’s life. Even if the unbeliever tries to fake it for the kids’ sake, the house is built on sand, KWIM?


#4

1 Corinthians 7:12-16 sheds light on this.

This article also explains it.

So, no, it's not a sin mingle or marry an unbeliever. The passage was probably refering to not joining with false apostles.

1 Corinthians 5:9-11 talks about who not to associate with. Basically, don't associate with people who falsely claim to be Apostles, particually ones that are morally unjust.

Many people take this passage as saying that we shouldn't associate/marry unbelievers. This seems totally anti-evangelical for a NT Book.


#5

Bound is a euphamism for sex. "to know" "to lie with" and "to be bound to" are all terms that are sexual in nature. When the puritians took over the Bible, already difficult passages became inscrutible.

Here's the Douay-Rheims FIRST corrinthians.
*[14] Now God hath both raised up the Lord, and will raise us up also by his power. [15] Know you not that your bodies are the members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. [16] Or know you not, that he who is joined to a harlot, is made one body? For they shall be, saith he, two in one flesh. *

Obviously referring to sex and marriage

Second Corintinans is about leading the Holy Life. Taking one verse out of context will leave you with a bad taste. It is the reiteration of First Corintinans.

Association is NOT like a "facebook friend"
In SECOND

*Bear not the yoke with unbelievers. For what participation hath justice with injustice? Or what fellowship hath light with darkness? [15] And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath the faithful with the unbeliever? *

Many people take this passage as saying that we shouldn't associate/marry unbelievers. This seems totally anti-evangelical for a NT Book.

Actually, for two non-believers to marry and both commit to a faith is different than a believer to go out and marry a non believer.


#6

It might be that bound in the context of 1st corinithians means that but I don’t see how these verses relate in any way to 2 Corinthians 6:14-15 .

1st Corinithians 6, is about general immorality with an emphasis on sins of the flesh.

2nd Corinthians 6 is about is clearly an appeal from Paul to the Corinithians to return to the ways of the church.

It is the reiteration of First Corintinans

It most certainly is not.

Actually, for two non-believers to marry and both commit to a faith is different than a believer to go out and marry a non believer.

I don’t believe the Church or the bible distinguishes between two. :confused:


#7

[quote="TheRealJuliane, post:3, topic:217511"]

This is on my mind constantly as I am in an "unequally yoked" marriage although both of us are cradle Catholics. We were both long away from the Church when we met and married, but having our first son brought me back with fervor. At this point, I think most anyone would describe him as spiritually disinterested, if not a true atheist. He could not answer me when I asked him if he even believes in God. At least he didn't say "No!"

[/quote]

:console:
I'm sure that if God brought you to this then He will certainly help you in this situation.
I'm going to pray for your family.


#8

I was on a website where a group of people believed themselves to be the "intellectual elites", the awakened unbelievers.

:D

They were heretic Christians - who for personal reasons (unchastity, fornication, contraception, abortion, homosexual sexual acts, radical feminism, etc) had foresaken Jesus and traded for worship elsewhere.

They referred to themselves as seekers and the 'religions' they choose where paganism, Wicca, Gaia, Earth Worship, anything that contained female goddesses / priestesses, etc.

Pagans in St. Paul's day converted into Christianity.

Our modern day pagans are converting out.


#9

Permit me to throw another wrench into the discussion.

While we worry about those we love entering into lifetime commitments of Christian/Non-Christian or Catholic/Non-Catholic there are other instances that are far more perplexing to me.

One can be unequally yoked due to conversion AFTER marriage as well. Two non-believers can marry and one can come to Christ while the other resists.

The same would be true, as TheRealJuliane posted of two believers or two "non-practicing believers" and one returns to the Church (as she did - GO YOU! :clapping: :dancing: ) or one falls away from it.

I, personally, pray for these kinds of relationships every single day. That those who have turned from or have never accepted Christ will turn from their ways and follow Him. While we must, as Christians, do everything we can to discourage unequally yolked relationships we must also do what we can to pray for and encourage those who are already in these unions and struggling in their families. We also need to pray for the children affected by these relationships. The pain of these families is sometimes nearly too intense to bear and often leads to divorce, infidelity, and a host of other marital problems.


#10

Thank you for your prayers. I deeply appreciate it. It is what brought me to this forum. I have already learned so much!

:hug3:


#11

I am in the same position as TheRealJuliane. I was away from the Church for many years and didn’t return until 3 years after I was married. My husband was raised Jewish, but doesn’t practice any religion at this time. He does believe there is something out there greater than us, but it isn’t well-defined for him.

He thinks I am “addicted” to religion because I go to Mass every Sunday. It has been very hard on our marriage the past four years and there have been hurt feelings on both sides. We both very much want to our marriage to work. Some days are better than others.

He refuses to meet any friends I have made through the church and views them all as the enemy. This is frustrating because I receive intivations to social activities I would like to go to, but can’t because my husband won’t go with me and I feel guilty going by myself and leaving him home by himself.


#12

In my opinion, living with unbelievers is even an opportunity for you to win souls for Christ. Move with the unbeliever but live as a Christian and that will teach the unbeliever the proper way of living.


#13

[quote="Anne1964, post:11, topic:217511"]
I am in the same position as TheRealJuliane. I was away from the Church for many years and didn't return until 3 years after I was married. My husband was raised Jewish, but doesn't practice any religion at this time. He does believe there is something out there greater than us, but it isn't well-defined for him.

He thinks I am "addicted" to religion because I go to Mass every Sunday. It has been very hard on our marriage the past four years and there have been hurt feelings on both sides. We both very much want to our marriage to work. Some days are better than others.

He refuses to meet any friends I have made through the church and views them all as the enemy. This is frustrating because I receive intivations to social activities I would like to go to, but can't because my husband won't go with me and I feel guilty going by myself and leaving him home by himself.

[/quote]

I will pray for you too. It is hard for me to do anything at the church because my husband does not want to be involved at all. I am grateful that at least he has gone to church all through our sons' childhoods. He hasn't been an impediment to their being educated in the faith either, so I really have a lot to be thankful for. But I pray that some day we can share our faith in God and really enrich our marriage. And I pray that for you, and everyone in this situation.


#14

I agree to a certain extent. I mean I think if you're two different religions (not too far apart) then its okay.

But I would never advice a christian to marry a satanist. Obviously, lol.
But say one person was catholic and the other was lutheran, I think that would be fine. You might need to go to different churches, but you're still worshiping the same god. Most of the rules are the same too. Mostly the same book aswell. I wouldn't have much of a problem with that. It would be a pain, but if thats what you want to do, at least its the same god, right?


#15

Yeah , what if you live with non believers?


#16

before i met my husband i was a baptist. i really didnt go to church either. my husband was baptized as a child in a baptist church. he USED to believe in God. when we married, we really didnt talk about religion. after we started having children, that is when i felt the need to start attending church. we went to a baptist church but i didnt feel comfortable there...i never had period. i think that is why i never went. then we started going to an episcopal church. i felt almost at home and we had our children baptized as episcopalians. he went to service with me, and he listened but still didnt believe in God. we stopped going to church again, something was still missing that i wasnt getting. so last year i went to my first mass at a catholic church here. i fell in love with the mass!!! i felt at HOME!!! i called the RCIA director and was going to start RCIA. reagan, my oldest daughter who is now 10, got sick with pneumonia and was hospitalized. after about a month after her being released from the hospital, i started going to RCIA. i joined the catholic church this easter!!!! my husband and i had a talk. i told him that i would like him to become more open minded that there is possibly a God and to start attending mass with us. he agreed, because the girls also wanted him there with them. they also alter serve. even though is a non-believer, i do believe there is something there inside him. he is soooooo supportive about the girls and i being catholics. he has never criticized God, or us for believing. we do have very intelligent conversations about religion and never get angry with eachother. but i do see something more in him about religion than i have in the past. i pray each day for his conversion, and for him to believe again. i do not hound him though. i just made one simple request, and that was it.


#17

Well, you obviously have no choice there if it is your family. I’m wondering about actively seeking the company of unbelievers and so putting oneself in a position where Christian principles and faith could be easily compromised.


#18

I have many non-Catholics friends. In fact, my only people in my life who are Catholic are my fiance and one of my old high school friends. I tend to gravitate to non-Catholics. I can’t stand the Catholics in my area, they are very stuck up. An example, when I announced my engagement in my adult woman’s bible study in my parish, one of the women snorted and said “why would a Catholic man want to marry you?” And I just smiled at her.

I would rather be around people who are nice versus people who hide behind a label, but are very hateful inside. :slight_smile:


#19

I think the passage obviously refers to marriage, not other relationships.

Christ clearly commanded that we NOT place our lights beneath baskets and hide them from the world. No better way to basket your light than to avoid contact with all non-believers!

Marriage is a completely different sort of relationship. It binds you together permanently. Upon being married, the two of you work together to tackle all the challenges of life, like a pair of oxen yoked to a plow. This image loses its potency for the typical modern person who has never witnessed what this refers to. Watch a Little House on the Prairie episode some time! No engines, no tractors. To plow up the earth you yoked two oxen together and they had to pull evenly to work the plow properly. If one was weak and the other strong, it didn't work. They HAVE to pull evenly.

I know it's not PC, but this is a warning against mixed marriages and the challenges that await those who defy the advice. It does't mean that those who find themselves there must despair. There IS hope for you, people CAN make it through life with handicaps. But why volunteer for one?


#20

I agree that the passage is probably about avoiding situations where you become so close that it could lead YOU away from your Faith.

I go to a university that needs a lot of evangelization so I do my best to be a good “ambassador” of sorts. There are a lot of people that I interact with that are generally hostile about religion in general but know I am a Catholic and I do lots of good things for them and others, so when they think of Catholics I hope they at least think, “Well, I did/do know a really nice girl that is very Catholic…”


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