And what does society say about this view? As Elisabeth Elliot says, “If your goal is purity of heart, be prepared to be thought very odd.” Society today has a very selfish view of relationships and life in general. According to a 2016 survey, 45% of Americans feel that personal happiness should be their primary goal. In other words, nearly half of the American population thinks that pleasing themselves is most important, though they would not put it that bluntly.
Think about modern love songs. Most of them talk about “just you and me” and have themes on separation, kissing, and sex. In other words, media has planted an idea in American minds that all you need is a night of sex, alone with your current “partner”, in order to be happy and experience the most pleasure.
“If your goal is purity of heart, be prepared to be thought very odd.”Elisabeth Elliot
In this culture, group dates are considered a bad thing, like it is not considerate of the date to invite a group. Couples being alone together is the championed idea. The people in the relationship are encouraged to spend more and more time together, away from their friends, family, and acquaintances. Couples are encouraged to do whatever feels right, instead of maintaining a solid relationship base.
Instead of giving people sound, logical advice, society says, “follow your heart” or “you do you”. By doing this, people are encouraged to simply do what they want to do, and that it is okay. Can feelings run the show? Consider a two-year-old. All they know how to do is be self-centric and try to get what they want. They try all tactics, from whining, to complaining, to temper tantrums. What about teenagers? The terrible twos are merely a precursor to the teen-aged “you can’t tell me what to do” attitude. It is feelings that lead a teenager to speak out and voice exactly what they are thinking and feeling; things they often come to regret later.
Lately, instead of focusing on happiness as a purpose for life, people are saying to look for meaning; that meaning is what gives you purpose in life. This view, again, focuses on self, not God. John 15:18 says, “[The world] hated Me before it hated you.” And earlier, in John 7:7, “[The world] hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil.” The works of the world are evil. God says so. When society is guided by feelings, it is evil. When the masses are lead by the dangling carrot of happiness, it is evil.
“[The world] hated Me before it hated you.”John 15:18
Is that to say that feelings and happiness are evil? No, of course not! The Bible mentions joy 192 times, and happiness 24 times. And yet, the world cannot imagine God bringing people happiness and joy when they seek Him with all of their heart. Instead, this worldview leads people to look for happiness in themselves and each other. As the American society drifts further from God, it seems to take a toll on people emotionally, leading to depression. Surveys show that, in 2016, only 33% of Americans reported being truly happy.
Thanks for joining us for part 3 of our summer relationship series! Next week, we’ll be discussing a few of the most common problems that arise out of romantic relationships. Hope to see you then!
*Note: A full bibliography from this series will be released at the end of the series. Any statistics, articles, books, or websites will be included.
*DISCLAIMER: In light of the controversy over Joshua Harris’ book, “I Kissed Dating Goodbye,” I considered removing it from this series. However, during the time that he wrote it, he was seeking the Lord and His will for Christian romance. It is for that reason that I decided to retain his quotes. I do not agree with his recent choices and apostasy from the faith.