While God does want us to always love all people as he loves all people, when it comes to loving someone in a romantic, relational way, there are standards God wants us to have.
In that context, here are 5 biblical things you should do if you love someone you know you should not love.
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1. Make Sure There Is a Valid Reason for Why You Should Not Love This Person
While the Bible does give us some rules around romantic love and marriage, many Christians have also created extra rules that are not actually in the Bible. For example, the Bible does say to only love other Christians in romantic relationships before marriage (2 Corinthians 6:14, 1 Corinthians 7:39), it does say to flee from all sexual temptation (1 Corinthians 6:18), and it does say romance must be mutual (1 Corinthians 7:36-37) and thus you should not waste time waiting for someone who does not love you back. These are examples of valid reasons you should not love someone.
However, there are many non-biblical reasons people allow to get in the way of love. For example, it’s not necessary to marry someone from the same social class as you. It’s not necessary to marry someone who has a perfect past. It’s not necessary to marry someone who your parents approve of (especially if your parents are unbelievers). It’s not necessary to marry someone who looks the way you thought your future spouse would look.
All that to say, before you decide you should not love someone, it’s necessary to make sure your reasons are biblical and wise.
2. Repent of Infatuation and Remind Yourself of What Real Love Actually Looks Like
When there is a disconnect between your heart and your head, oftentimes the chasm is caused by infatuation. Biblical romantic love should be based on truth. Infatuation is based on what you hope to be true.
1 Peter 4:7-8 states, “The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” Here we can see that being “self-controlled and sober-minded” is directly linked to “keep loving one another earnestly.” This is referring to biblical, Christian love and not romantic love. If you are not sober-minded because you are infatuated with someone, you are not earnestly loving them with Christian love. Not only will this prevent you from finding true romantic love in a biblical way one day, this will also hinder your prayers with God.
One reason people get stuck loving someone they should not love is when they cannot accept that they are infatuated. Ideally your infatuation morphs into real love once this person proves to you they are who you hope they were. But when this person shows you they are not who you hoped they were, now your infatuation needs to morph into realism. You need to accept the person you love does not exist other than in your mind. This person is not who you thought they were.
3. Remind Yourself of Your “Why”
Let’s say you have accepted you should not love this person. You know your reasoning is valid and you know you have been infatuated with this person, loving an idea of someone that does not really exist. But you are still struggling to move on and let them go. What should you do?
Whenever you have something really hard to do that you are struggling to complete, it’s important to remember your “why.” When you have a big enough “why,” you can overcome any “how.” Your decision-making process is like a scale; whatever is weighing on you the most is what you will decide to do. If you want to let someone go, you have to have a strong enough “why.”
In the end, the only love that is big enough to always win against all other loves is God’s love. Remind yourself of your “why,” which is God himself, so you will have the power to figure out “how” to move on. As Jesus said in John 15:10-11, which states:
If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”
4. Stop Searching for Exceptions and Start Walking the Other Direction
“Maybe this person will come back to me if I just wait a little longer.” “Maybe this person will become a Christian if I just keep dating them and giving them what they want.” “Maybe this is just a test and if I put up with this abusive behavior God will make our relationship better.”
There are only two options when you have a problem in life: acceptance and change. If you can’t change something, your only option is acceptance. Eventually you have to accept this relationship is not meant to be. You have to stop looking for exceptions and you have to start walking the other direction in life.
Distance and boundaries will free you from the toxic spell this person has over you. Once you are thinking clearly because you have distanced yourself from this person, it will be much easier to move on. As Galatians 5:16 promises, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.”
5. Believe the Best of God in Faith
All bad choices find their root in a lack of faith in God’s goodness. To follow God and reject the paths leading you away from him, you have to have faith that this choice to follow God is better than the choice to not follow him.
It may take some time to see the fruit of your obedience, but if you never start obeying, you won’t ever reap the rewards. If God is truly telling you to stop loving someone, he’s saying this for your good and because he wants the best for you.
As 1 Peter 5:4 promises, “And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.”
And if you have been praying about trying online dating, I’m offering a huge scholarship to my course called The Effective Online Christian Dating Plan. Feel free to click here to learn more.