By Hope Bolinger, Crosswalk.com
It seems that adult Christians of all ages have recently flocked to dating apps.
We have many apps to choose from, and many that differ in their offerings for Christian singles in our areas in terms of proximity, denomination, if they want kids, if they drink, and more.
Even on “non-Christian” dating apps, many have an option where the user can specifically only see matches who claim to be Christian.
But as many of us who have explored dating apps, Christian and non-Christian alike, we may agree that some people who claim to follow the word of God may not always practice what they preach.
Sometimes a guy or girl who is less mature in the faith, or not part of the faith at all, may claim to be further along in their walk with Christ because dating a Christian is seen as something more sophisticated in our culture.
A Christian boy, acting upon the gospel, should treat a girl well when he dates her, and that’s why a girl who isn’t a Christian or not far along enough in her maturity to date, may fudge the truth a little. And vice versa.
Even if someone is far along in their walk with Christ, they may not be mature enough for a relationship. Or they may want a relationship for the wrong reasons. So they lie in their profile to make themselves more appealing.
No matter what the case, even on Christian dating apps, it seems like we have to exercise extreme discernment to find someone whom we are equally yoked.
In this article, we’ll explain some of the reasons why even Christians lie on their dating profiles, some red flags to watch, and why Christians should take heed to both of these things.
Why Do Christians Lie on Their Dating Profiles?
An article alone cannot cover the vast number of reasons as to why our online profile almost never matches our truest of characters.
For those who are not believers or who go by the label of a nominal Christian (only Christian in name, not in heart), they may claim to believe in Jesus on a dating app to date a more cordial or chivalrous or safer person. After all, many people believe most Christians will be less likely to harm them in a relationship (not always a true case in reality).
But what about actual believers? Because certainly we pair with not great matches of genuine Christians on these apps. Why would genuine believers lie on their profile?
First of all, we can point to the obvious statement that we all fall sin and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). We lie because we succumb to the temptation to lie.
We put on filters and show the best side of ourselves on dating profiles out of fear.
Secondly, we may have a huge fear of rejection, and so we compromise by lying on our profile.
Let’s say that, as a woman, I don’t want to have children. But I know most Christian men I have met want at least a few biological offspring. So I may lie on my profile and say I’m “open to children” when I’m not.
By doing this, I can allow myself to make more matches, even if we do not authentically “match.”
Thirdly, we may feel interior or exterior pressure to date too early. Paul sets some clear guidelines for Christian singles when it comes to the world of dating and marriage, or in the case of the passage, re-marriage (1 Corinthians 7).
But because society harps on both men and women alike, especially the latter at a younger age, to get with someone, and ostracizes them when they remain single past a certain point, we may feel external pressure to present the best version of ourselves to win the most matches.
Or we may want to get with someone for physical, emotional, or even spiritual reasons, but we may know that God has not allowed us to enter into a dating or marriage season.
Wanting to spur God along, we may tweak the truth a little on a dating app so we can not feel lonely or left out.
No matter what the case, many Christians lie on dating apps. It’s often difficult to uncover one’s true character, even after a couple of dates.
So how do we discern the truth from the lies, and the red flags we may find on Christian dating apps?
What Are the Red Flags to Watch For?
We could list several, as this article from Graceful Abandon does, but let’s do some large red flags to watch for when discerning if you should go on a date with a Christian you match with on an app.
First, how do they react when you talk about God or bring up Jesus and Christianity into conversation?
Do they get really uncomfortable? Do they switch the subject quickly to something a little more secular?
This may seem like a minor thing, but we seek to date to marry. And we want to marry someone who spurs us on closer in our relationship with Jesus.
If we find someone gets timid when talking about something that should be very integral to their lives, we may have matched with an immature Christian and should put the relationship on hold.
Secondly, do they push boundaries you have established?
Christians and non-Christians alike are addicted to porn and Hallmark movies, both of which don’t present a realistic expectation of a relationship. They may come into the relationship with these expectations and may break down set up boundaries you have established beforehand.
We should respect the boundaries and wishes placed by someone whom we want to date. If someone pushes and awakens love before its time, this may indicate they are not ready for a godly relationship.
Finally, do you find they’ve lied about bigger issues?
Maybe on their profile they want a big family, but really, they want nothing to do with kids. Maybe they say they really want a marriage, but in reality, your conversation makes it clear that they just want a physical fling.
In all cases, we must exercise extreme discernment. Perhaps they have entered a dark season of their life and aren’t making the best choices. In all things, we must pray for the Lord’s direction and seek his guidance.
Why Should Christians Use Discernment on Dating Apps?
Even the pickiest of Christian apps with several filters for choosing a match can send a not-ready Christian our way. Or an unyoked believer.
We all have many reasons as to why we lie about ourselves in smalls ways online, and dating apps can often amplify those factors. We should exercise discernment because we want to have a relationship with someone who helps us grow closer to Christ.
If we rush or lower our standards, we run the risk of ending up in an unhealthy relationship that does not edify our spiritual walk.
When you've found someone who doesn't "match" with you, make sure to be honest with them that you don't foresee the pairing work out between the two of you.
Try not to use the age-old (and by now cliched) excuse, "God told us that we're not supposed to be together." But you can say, "I've been praying a lot about this, and I just don't see this relationship continuing right now."
If you want to do so, you may offer the option for a friendship, but anticipate that they may possibly turn down this prospect.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/diego_cervo
Hope Bolinger is an editor at Crosswalk.com, literary agent at C.Y.L.E., and a graduate of Taylor University's professional writing program. More than 1,000 of her works have been featured in various publications ranging from Writer's Digest to Keys for Kids. She has worked for various publishing companies, magazines, newspapers, and literary agencies and has edited the work of authors such as Jerry B. Jenkins and Michelle Medlock Adams. Her modern-day Daniel trilogy released its first two installments with IlluminateYA, and the final one, Vision, releases in August of 2021. She is also the co-author of the Dear Hero duology, which was published by INtense Publications. And her inspirational adult romance Picture Imperfect releases in October of 2021. Find out more about her at her website.