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  • July 2009
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Questions: Is Inter-racial Dating Sin?

Question: Is it a sin to date someone outside your own race?

This question occurs quite frequently. Most ask about marriage or “a relationship” (whatever that means). By your asking about “dating” and the nature of the nom de plume (“tinkerbell”) in your email address, I suspect you are a girl in your early to mid teens . That does not change whether or not it is a sin to date someone of another race – but it will affect a portion of my advice to you. If my guess about your age is very wrong, please ignore my advice.

No, it is not a sin to date someone from another race. In fact, the Bible nowhere speaks of “race” the way we do. It says Christ’s redeemed followers come from “every tribe and tongue and people and nation” to show that His kingdom is open to everyone (Revelation 5:9). The word nation here does come from ethnos, the Greek word that gives us the English word ethnic, so you could argue that this is a reference to race. The primary use of this word in the Bible, though, is nation.

Not only is it not a sin, the Bible is pretty clear and strong that national origin is not to be a factor among Christians. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:27). When we discriminate against people because of who they are, we are doing wrong.

In fact, the Bible even speaks of what could well have been an inter-racial marriage. In Numbers 12:1 the Bible says, “Miriam and Aaron began to talk against Moses because of his Cushite wife, for he had married a Cushite.” Now, the Biblical Cushites were Ethiopians. They lived in East Africa. Likely, they were black. Moses was a Hebrew. They were of different “races.”

Is this the reason Miriam and Aaron (Moses’ sister and brother) resented his wife? We do not know for sure, but we do know what happened to them because of their resentment and the way they spoke against Moses. Read the next several verses, and you will see that God was very displeased – and afflicted Miriam with leprosy (but soon healed her). Apparently, Miriam was the instigator of the whole thing.

So, is it wrong to date someone across racial lines? No, it is not a sin. However, many things that are not sin are still not wise.

Now for the advice: If your parents have told you not to date a certain boy, you should respect their wishes. I know that it is the nature of teenage girls to think their parents are just totally out of touch. Then, because you do not understand why they tell you something, you look for a reason – which is usually not their real reason. In most cases, they do have your best interests at heart – and they have seen more of life than you have. Give them the benefit of the doubt. I could tell you stories about young people who have gone against parental advice – who have lived to regret it. No, parents are not infallible. They do make mistakes. Most times, though, they are more likely to be right than you are – if I have guessed correctly about your age.

When you are older and wiser yourself, you will look back at your parents’ advice differently than you see it now.

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