Please don’t forget the single people you know, single parents or single people without children. Here’s what you can do for them.
I can’t remember how many times I’ve heard someone say to a single person, “Why aren’t you married?” It’s as if they’re asking them, “Why aren’t you married? What’s wrong with you?” They might not mean that, but that’s what many single people hear when they’re asked about why they’re still single. It’s a loaded question, for sure. We assume just because someone’s not married that there’s something wrong, when in fact, they may be fine with it. If they are lonely and don’t necessarily want to be single, that question can be like a knife to the heart. It’s accusatory and it’s derogatory, in my opinion. What if someone turned the tables and asked, “Why are you still married” or “Why would you want to be married?” When we ask single people questions, let it not be about marriage or dating or why they’re alone. It may be a choice they didn’t’ want to make or one they wanted to choose, so they may not be able to help it, and the question doesn’t help. There may be few single Christians around them or in the church. And it really takes the wind out of their sails, so respect a person’s singleness. Treat them as you would any person, couples or not.
I know one of the most painful things for singles is when they read invitations that are for couples only or are for families with children. This makes them feel that they’re not a part of the church or group. It’s like they are being blamed for something they’re not responsible for, so my suggestion is to seek out a single person and invite them over for dinner or ask them to come along on your family picnic. When a church ignores singles and when believer’s in general don’t even think about them , then the single people will feel inferior because they don’t’ have a spouse or they’ve not been blessed with children. Some people choose to be single, and in fact, it’s their calling, but if they don’t necessarily want to be single but are single nonetheless, the last thing you want to do is overlook them. Singles feel invisible enough as it is.
I know several single people who don’t really want to be single, but they have no choice, and it’s as if they’re invisible in the church or among their Christian friends. Why not include them in the next outing or maybe the church can have a singles group activity. When we include single people in our plans, it’s like we acknowledge that, for one, they exist and they do matter, and for another, they are part of the Body of Christ just as much as anyone. God has given them a special place in the church and they have much to contribute. In fact, single people are able to do more for others than those who are married and have family obligations where they just can leave and serve. That’s no excuse to dump a bunch of things for singles to do just because they’re single (which does happen). I would rather include them and make them feel just as part of the family of God as my own family members. Why would we want to be separate from anyone whom God has chosen and saved?
The other day, when I saw a single person sitting in the church pews all by themselves, I thought, why wouldn’t someone at least offer to sit next to them or have someone ask them and/or their family? They seem invisible to many of us, and they in fact, they often feel that way. Singles I have counseled tell me from their experience that they’re often overlooked and it’s indicative of what the single experience in the church is for most. In 1976 only about 1/3rd of adults were single, but today, about 50% of all adults are single, many being single parents, and it can get very, very lonely for the single parent, even with children. The single parent has to be the nurse, the counselor, the breadwinner, the bill payer, the maintenance person, and so on. It’s all on their shoulders because they have no one else to help. Don’t let the singles you know sit alone, live alone, and go home alone. Include them the next time you have something planned, because God loves them just as must as He love you and me.
I was single for a long, long time before I got married, and I finally gave up looking for a mate, but that’s when it happened. God caused a beautiful woman to cross my path, and she was such a good and godly woman, that at first, I thought, “Who am I to deserve such a woman?” Of course, it was God’s divine providence that allowed me to meet my future wife, but I didn’t just sit there waiting for someone to find me; I had to be in prayer and make sure I was a man that would bless a woman. I wasn’t looking for the “right woman” exactly as much as I was making sure I was right in God’s eyes…and that I was ready to be a godly husband. I hope no one is going through this lonely place today, but if you are, my prayers are for you. I pray that God would comfort you and that God would give you hope in this day and age. Perhaps if we live with the end in mind, and that being the end of suffering, sorrow, pain, death, and yes, even loneliness (Rev 21:4), it might help us make it through the day, and for single people, including single parents, that’s what they’re doing; they’re just trying to get by one day at a time.