I was talking to a pretty amazing friend, who was coming to me for some dating advice (like squeezing water from a rock, but anyway). I told her to avoid calling Jesus her boyfriend, and she responded "Well, I'm married to Him, but I won't call Him that." I was quite amused, and I told her I could never ever, at any point in the future, date her, because to do so would be to home-wreck God. Then she threatened to punch me.
Now, this was all in good fun, but it brings up something I am not sure we all realize.
See, the church is often called "the Bride of Christ" based on Ephesians 5:32. This is beautiful, the idea that Christ loved the church enough to lay His life down for her, and expects those of us who become husbands to do the same.
However, the trouble comes when people start taking that which refers to "the church" to be relevant to their lives in an individual context. The verse says this:
This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.Notice that Paul is not saying that this refers to Christ and each person. In fact, he speaks often of the "church" as a separate entity, the "body of believers" rather than the individual. This is important when we realize that God's most important call to us is to be relational, to love Him with everything AND to love others (Matthew 22:37-40). He does not want us to be isolated with Him, to be exclusively relational with Him... He calls us to a relationship with Him and with the people around us. We are not, individually, His bride. Rather, we are His very hands and feet, His ambassadors on this earth, and merely a part of that which is called His "bride".
What I will end this with, is a call to all of you, but especially the females; please do not call Jesus your boyfriend, your husband, or anything else with an exclusive romantic connotation. First, it is a misinterpretation of scripture, and second...
It's just creepy.
(I suppose I should add a third, that being the awkwardness in being a male and expected to act individually as the "bride" of Christ. I'm sorry, but Christ was a guy, and I don't wanna marry a guy. I will, however, love his bride and protect her, which I think is the right/less creepy approach to Ephesians 5)