Your longtime friend, the bachelor, is finally dating. That’s good news, but what should you do now? Do you need to encourage them, leave them alone for a while, or do a background check on the person they fell in love with?
In Genesis 4.9 NIV, we see part of our mandate as brothers and sisters in Christ. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” asked Cain about Abel. To ask the question is to answer it. Yes, we are the guardians of each other. In Matthew 18:15 NIV, we read: “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.” It’s our responsibility to watch over our brothers and sisters.
When a friend starts a new relationship give them some space, but don’t completely disappear. For a new couple, there is nothing more dangerous than to isolate themselves from the world by cutting themselves off from all their friends. You may need to remind your friend of that.
Our second responsibility is to help our friend stay rational about their lives. Three times we read in the Song of Songs: “Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires” (SS 2.7, 3.5, 8.4 NIV). It’s good to rejoice with your friend when they are in love, but you also need to remind them not to skip any steps. Dating is a period where we take the time to learn about each other and see if we should commit for the rest of our lives. If after a few days the new couple is already talking about their wedding, it’s important to remind them to live one step at a time. They shouldn’t burn through this important step of “observation”.
Finally, even if you take your role as “guardian” to heart, don’t do a criminal investigation on their date. Encourage your friend to study and learn about the qualities, good and bad, of their new partner. But don’t do it for them. They could take it badly and cut you completely out of their lives. Also, avoid threats to the new partner : “If you break their heart, I will break your legs!”. Not only is this not a Christian attitude, but it could convince your friend’s new love to stay away from you.